Schoharie County News
A journal of observation and critical comment                      Published by the Jefferson Free Press
August 19, 2015
County’s Action on Planning and Economic Development Jeopardizes Millions in State Grants. One of the functions of the Schoharie County Planning and Economic Development Department is to administer and report on community development block grants. Contrary to local press reports and statements from county political leaders the planning and economic development department has been very aggressive in pursuing funding for local businesses through the community development block grant funding. In a letter dated 11-19-14 from the New York State Office of Community Renewal 17 such programs are identified and due to Schoharie County’s reduction and elimination of positions in the department are now in jeopardy. The letter received prior to board action on the budget demands a response from Schoharie County within 15 days explaining how the county plans on administering the 17 grants. The letter also states that there was already concerns with the existing staffing levels of the department in meeting the states obligation for grant administration and any reduction in department capabilities would elevate their concerns. The board so far has ignored New York State’s concern and went ahead with the cuts anyway. It is unclear how the County will manage the grants with the staff reductions, what impact this will have on future grant opportunities, or how it will affect the existing businesses who have received community block grants. The list of affected businesses includes: MESA Technical Associates, Clifford C. Hay, Inc., Howe Caverns, Kintz Plastics, Blenheim Hill Farm, Kymar Distillery, Three Johns LLC/The Bulls Head Inn among others. Click below to read the entire letter.
DiNapoli rips Supervisors over “Stream Project” New York State Comptroller released a scathing audit of Schoharie County’s stream restoration project and contract process.  The audit stated among a host of other negative comments: “The Board did not provide adequate oversight of the planning and execution of the Project” “The Board did not ensure that County contracts were properly approved” “No procedures were taken to ensure the lowest possible cost was paid” The Board of Supervisors and the County Attorney dropped the ball according to the audit and have cost the taxpayer millions of dollars.  This story and the one to the right reported earlier raises serious questions. Click below to read the entire Audit.
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