Sullivan County, municipal officials on same page with sales tax sharing

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MONTICELLO – The mood was clearly upbeat during a 15-minute meeting
of Sullivan County’s Council of Governments Tuesday afternoon. The
brief session amounted to a testimonial in enthusiastic support of a memorandum
of understanding that towns and villages will share 40 percent of revenues
above a baseline of $40.5 million.
A “historic day for Sullivan County and the towns and villages
in it,” is how Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm saw it, saying Sullivan’s
business community in particular comes out a winner.

Council of Governments and Sullivan County agree on sales tax

“And this is a way for the town people to feel a direct benefit
to the businesses that are already here,” Sturm said. “In
other words, the sales tax now that the county gets, and you get a county
benefit, but I can go back to my town, Town of Bethel, and say ‘listen,
every business that comes here and pays sales tax, a portion of it is
going to come back to us’.”

Thompson, which will host the Catskills’ only casino, can expect
to see a significant increase in sales tax revenue, from ancillary business
likely to emerge. Supervisor Bill Reiber is willing to share to gain.

“Fully expect that the sales tax revenue and the other revenue sources
in the county are going to increase based on new developments that are
coming into the Thompson area,” Reiber noted. “And, it’s
going to spread through the county and this is a good way to apportion
it fairly.”
Perhaps most upbeat was County Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson

“The group was excellent,” Samuelson proclaimed. “The
issues that came forward were right on target, and then we compromised
on many, many levels. I’m very, very pleased with the way it turned
out. I thought it was a great cooperation.”

Samuelson noted in introducing the meeting that more revenue to the county
and more sharing of it adds up to paying attention to matters “…
that we have let go over the course of time,” a reference to a deteriorating
infrastructure that may finally get some attention in the form of dollars
and cents.