Schoharie County News
A journal of observation and critical comment                      Published by the Jefferson Free Press
November 25, 2014
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.
CHERRY AND VANGLAD TEAM UP TO PASS THE 2015 BUDGET William “THE BOSS” Cherry continues to solidify his power in the county.  Teaming up with Tony VanGlad, the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, they pushed through the board the 2015 budget.  It is a very controversial budget giving very hefty raises to department heads after negotiating meagre raises for union members.  Mr. Cherry the County Treasurer and budget officer gave himself a huge raise making him the highest paid employee in the county.  Meanwhile, the budget cuts out all money for economic development.  The Cherry-VanGlad team had received a letter from the NYS office of Community Renewal advising them of the consequences of eliminating the position of Sarah Blood the marketing specialist in the economic development department.  By all accounts they never shared the letter with all of the supervisors before the vote on the budget. Jim Poole the editor of the local paper was likewise uninformed. He wrote an editorial saying Mrs. Blood was not doing her job and should be let go.  The facts are significantly different.  See adjoining article and click below to read the entire letter.