The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

October 10, 2013

Delaware board talks tourism, funding cuts

By Cheryl Petersen Contributing writer
The Daily Star

---- — DELHI — Tourism promotion, new scales at the solid-waste facility and foster-care needs were subjects taken up by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Wednesday.

The board approved a resolution to shift $300,000 from the medical assistance fund to the foster child care account.

“Over the last year, Social Services had an unforeseen increase in the number of children in foster care,” said Commissioner Bill Moon. “The influx of children into the foster system is directly related to drug problems and it involves young children.”

The monies will be spent to pay bills for basic foster care. 

“Between revenue from the federal and state leveling off or decreasing, and the surge of children coming into the foster care system, all the 2013 funds have been exhausted,” said Moon. 

A peak number of children — 111 — in July has fallen to 99 children in care today. 

“We’d hoped it would be around 90, but it is not uncommon to receive calls concerning missing toddlers or toxic drug levels in infants,” said Moon. “Because of these calls, Social Services become involved.”

Social Services is required to review and present each case to the Delaware County Family Court. 

“Family Court also reviews each case and then decides if the children will be placed in foster care,” said Moon. “Last year’s budget did not accommodate the increased number of children.” 

As for the yearly budgeted amount of money, 75 percent of the funding is designated solely to foster care. The other percentage pays for personnel, fringe benefits and programs.

The resolution to reallocate the $300,000 was approved by all supervisors except Sidney’s Bob McCarthy.

“I don’t see enough accountability from the Social Services Department and so will vote no on resolutions where I only see money being shuffled around,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy did approve, along with all the other supervisors, a resolution allowing funds of $34,790 for computer equipment for the Social Services Department.

The supervisors voted for a bid price for new truck scales to be installed at the county solid waste facility. “The truck scales needed to be updated,” said Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe. “The price of $80,555 includes longer scales, installation and certification.”

Presenting to the board activity encouraging tourism, Mary Beth Silano, director of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Tourism Promotion Agency has been developing advertising for magazines such as Catskill Country. Because of a new interest in motorcycling in the area, advertising is allocated to the magazine Backroads.” 

Promotion is also extended to online websites, television, and traveling shows. Future plans are to target New York City with promotions.

Co-presenter Jim Thomson, director of tourism at the chamber, said: “Collaborating with the official New York state tourism site, I Love NY, we’ve developed travel guides, rack cards and brochures We are also working to revive a Ski the Catskills program.” 

Statistics generated by I Love NY showed tourists spend $87.6 million per year in Delaware County. Figures also showed Delaware County spends $95,000 per year on tourism promotion. Sullivan, Ulster and Greene counties spend more than $800,000 each.

Delaware County does not have a bed tax. Funds come from the county and fees paid by the 600 members.

“Chamber members also support the tourism promotion by paying to advertise in the brochures and other materials,” said Thomson.