Tuesday, April 27, 2010


In the world of budget deficits, dramatic service reductions and "unacceptable tax increases" it is nice to highlight two positive stories about an economic uptick.

Ulster only local county to see growth in sales-tax revenue
(Reprinted from the Poughkeepsiejournal.com)

ALBANY — Sales-tax revenue in New York rose 4 percent in the first quarter of the year, with some of the state's largest retail areas showing signs of improvement after a year of declining sales, records show.
But while the state's sales-tax revenue grew by $223 million between January and March and the same period in 2009, the only local county to see an increase was Ulster, which was up 0.53 percent or $118,822.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Quarterly Home Sales Data Very Encouraging

(Reprinted from Ulster County NY Real Estate website)

According to results published by the New York State Association of Realtors, sales of single family homes in Ulster County rose 42.9% in the first quarter of 2010 when compared to the sales data from the first quarter of 2009. Could this be a prelude to a jump in Ulster County homes sales during the peak second quarter period as well?

Friday, April 23, 2010


A great email from Bruce Tuchman of Wells Fargo Advisors


Ulster County loses tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each year when Driver's Licenses and Registration Renewals are mailed to Albany or done on the internet.

Help us keep that revenue in Ulster County.

Mail your renewals directly to:
Ulster County Clerk
PO Box 1800
Kingston, New York 12402

Or stop in to the DMV Office:
Ulster County Office Building
244 Fair Street
Kingston, New York 12401

Or visit the Motor Vehicle Bus at:

Marlboro Town Hall - Monday 10:00 - 3:30 1:00-2:00 (lunch)
Saugerties Town Hall - Tuesday 10:00 - 3:30 1:00-2:00 (lunch)
Wawarsing Town Hall - Wednesday 10:00 - 3:30 1:00 - 2:00 (lunch)
New Paltz Town Hall - Thursday 10:00 -3:30 1:00 - 2:00 (lunch)
Shandaken Town Hall - Friday 10:00 - 3:30 1:00 - 2:00 (lunch)

any questions call:
Nina Postupack
Ulster County Clerk
Ulster County Clerk's Office
(845) 340-3040
(845) 340-3299 Fax

Ulster comptroller pays $245K medical bill for murderer - The Daily Freeman News: Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871(DailyFreeman.com)

Ulster comptroller pays $245K medical bill for murderer - The Daily Freeman News: Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871(DailyFreeman.com)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010



It was a great way to celebrate EARTH DAY 2010 with Ed Fondiller of TOTAL TENNIS in Saugerties as he cut the ribbon (actually the vine) on the solar panel field. This project helps meet 30% of the facility’s electrical needs and enables them to sell back any excess electricity back to the grid. It was installed by Woodstock, NY company SOLARgeneration.

I was amazed, not only at the project, but at the commitment of Ed and his wife Kate Doran to incorporate energy saving measures to Total Tennis. It also shows you how a public/private partnership and our stimulus money yields huge results.

This project, along with the installation of a solar field and geo-thermal heating system at the Town of Esopus Town Hall show the sustainable commitment in our county.

Here are the numbers (something we like in our office):

468 solar panels (210 watt Sanyo photo-voltaic panels)

Indoor tennis building-1 system-1 meter 31,200 sq feet

10 other buildings-2nd system-2nd meter-30,000 sq feeg

TOTAL COST-$786.240.00

NYSERDA REBATE-$344,840.00

ARRA (Stimulus) Rebate in lieu of tax credit-30%

Yearly Savings to Total Tennis $18,000.00

For more information contact Ed at director@totaltennis.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today’s Ulster County Public Auction has been completed with nearly fifty (50) properties being redeemed or removed before the auctioneer, George Cole began the sale.
All of the listings were at least three years in arrears, with two of them owing taxes since 1995.

While the numbers are being reviewed, it appears that there was strong interest in a variety of parcels, including vacant, residential and commercial property.

Two such parcels that were subject to stiff competitive bidding were a 2.7 acre piece in the Town of Esopus that had $17, 274.00 in outstanding taxes that went for $82,000.00 and a 7 acre piece in Wawarsing that sold for $110,000.00 and had unpaid taxes of $45,595.12

Over one hundred people registered to bid and the entire event ran smoothly under the Direction of Commissioner of Finance Paul Hewitt, Deputy Commissioner Burt Gulnick Jr. and Public Auction Coordinator Diane Stauble.

Sunday, April 18, 2010



Before the first bang of the gavel at this year’s Ulster County tax lien foreclosure sale, being held on April 21, 2010 at SUNY ULSTER, over 30% of the original 118 properties will have been redeemed, leaving eighty properties, ranging from a driveway to a 39 acre potentially hazardous waste site waiting to be auctioned off. The initial 2010 listing in the County of Ulster Public Auction booklet indicated that the total number of parcels, three or more years behind in their taxes, dropped by 10%, from last year to this year (134 to 118).

The Town of Wawarsing which led the initial list with twenty-six (26) now has twenty (20) properties remaining, followed by the Town of Saugerties with ten (10) and the Town of Ulster with eight (8). Three of the Towns, Woodstock, Hardenburgh and Olive, as well as the Village of Saugerties, will have no properties at this year’s auction.

While the numbers of properties have decreased, the total of unpaid taxes has risen 25% from last year ($1,580,288.92 to $1,980,917.20). The Town of Saugerties tops the list with eleven properties totaling $510,245.21, including one parcel on Quarry Road accounting for $412,594.32. Town of Kingston follows with $212,764.94 attributed to its one and only property on the list located on Woods Road. However, those two properties may have environmental issues that render them unsalable.

Since the publication of the list in early April, thirty-eight (38) parcels have been redeemed for a total of $667,937.37.

“It’s disheartening to see any property subject to a foreclosure sale. The Commissioner of Finance has made a huge effort to work with each and every property owner to help them through these tough times. Several of these properties, contributing to nearly a third of the unpaid taxes, maybe deemed hazardous, and therefore unsalable,” Comptroller Auerbach said.

The complete auction catalog can be found at www.ulstercountyny.gov/2010brochure.pdf

Friday, April 9, 2010

Comptroller Urges System Update

By Paula Sirc reporting for the SHAWANGUNK JOURNAL

(Copyright © 2010, Electric Valley Media LLC)

KINGSTON – Ulster County Comptroller Elliot Auerbach last week released his office's quarterly report on the financial condition of the county during the fourth quarter of 2009.

The report is prefaced with complaints regarding the inefficiency of H.T.E., the county's "long-outdated" software system for managing its budget and financial data.

The problem, according to the report, stems from financial management software that "is unable to record and report essential data and information in a consistently reliable, accurate and useful manner," and is not a comment on the "very capable people," who waste "lots of time compensating for a poor system."

Signs of stress in the fiscal condition of the county are determined by the comptroller's office using four indicators, which include over-expended or over-encumbered appropriations, revenue shortfalls, cash flow deficits, and fund balance erosion or depletion.

The comptroller's report indicates that, over the course of 2009, budgeted expenditures increased almost 11 percent, which, when compared to the nearly 8 percent increase in 2008 and the 6 percent increase in 2007, reflects a "steady growth in expenditure increases over [the] budgeted expenditures for the three year period."

For the total budget, the report notes that revenues collected were 128 percent to 137 percent greater than were projected in the adopted budget.

"Due to the highly volatile economy," the comptroller recommended that the county's cash flow reports for all sources, including sales tax, mortgage tax receipts and interest income, be closely monitored. Cash-flow reports forecast short-term cash balances available for both operations and investment.

The Government Finance Officers Association recommends that the general fund unreserved fund balance consist of no less than 5 to 15 percent of regular general fund operating revenues. As such, the report notes that the reserved general fund balances "better meet the criteria than the unreserved general fund balances," but contends that both are "within the parameters." It also notes that there exists "a fair amount of fluctuation in percentage change from year to year" in the general fund balance.

Ulster County's 2010 budget analysis, conducted by the consulting firm of O'Connor, Davies, Munns & Dobbins, notes that the budget dips deeply into the fund balance in an effort to stave off a property tax increase. To balance this year's budget, $12.4 million will be drawn from the general fund balance — $5.4 million more than was used in the 2009 budget.

Auerbach's report recommends the county follow the guidelines proposed by the Government Accounting Standards Board in reporting the fund balance. The guidelines state that the fund report should distinguish "spendable and non-spendable portions," and that the non-spendable portions of fund balance be further divided into four parts — restricted, limited, assigned and unassigned — that correspond with the level of constraint placed on the purposes for which it may be used.

Overall, the comptroller's report urges that the county budget "be prepared in a format that facilitates year-to-year comparison."

(Intended for non-commercial use)

Kingston audit of Safety Net costs will proceed alongside Ulster County’s <span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">(videos)</span> - The Daily Freeman News: Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871(DailyFreeman.com)

Kingston audit of Safety Net costs will proceed alongside Ulster County’s (videos) - The Daily Freeman News: Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871(DailyFreeman.com)

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Comptroller’s Staff Go Out Into the Field to Monitor Payroll Process

KINGSTON, NY (April 7, 2010)… On Friday, April 9, 2010 Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach and a team of examiners and auditors will initiate what he is calling the “present and accounted for” payroll verification process to ensure that County paychecks are ending up in the hands of the intended employees.

“With nearly two thousand employees and dozens of remote locations this procedure will both verify and validate that the weekly and bi-weekly paychecks are accounted for. As part of the Comptroller’s duty to certify payroll, we needed to ensure that everyone receiving a County paycheck is present and accounted for,” said Auerbach.

The payroll pay-out verification begins with the Highway and Bridges Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW). The procedure involves the Comptroller’s staff distributing paychecks or pay advices to the DPW sub-stations across the county. Employees will be required to show their County identification card and sign for their pay.

“We have enlisted the support of the CSEA leadership and the DPW management team, as well as pre-visiting a number of the sub-stations to meet and talk with members of the crew,” said Auerbach, “they all understand why we need to implement this process and appreciate our efforts to be as accommodating as possible.”

The Comptroller intends to conduct his “present and accounted for” payroll pay-out across all County departments and verify that every individual receiving a salary is indeed a current employee.

“We all have heard the stories of ghost employees,” said Auerbach, “while I don’t expect to find any, my cracker-jack team of “ghost busters” will out one if it exists.”

Most Ulster County employees are paid bi-weekly except in the DPW where staff are paid weekly. Employees receive either a paycheck or a ‘direct deposit’ pay advice statement.