Monday, August 30, 2010


Auerbach Trashes Lack of Legislative Oversight

KINGSTON, NY (August 30, 2010)… Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach released the first of several reports on the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) claiming that the “Ulster County Legislature has practiced a laissez faire approach and this hands-off governance style has cost the taxpayers nearly $32 million with no end in sight.” This report analyzes the fees paid to the agency by Ulster County. These fees are known as Net Service Fees (NSF) and they are paid as a result of a 1992 Agreement between the County and the UCRRA.

“In talking with some county legislators about the UCRRA, I noticed a lot of hand-wringing and shoulder-shrugging followed by admissions that ‘we have no choice’,” said Auerbach, “so I took a look and pulled back the curtain.”

What Auerbach found is that since 1992 the County has had significant opportunity to closely monitor the finances of the UCRRA and the fees paid to it.

• Since 1998 Ulster County has covered between 10% and 50% of UCRRA’s annual operating expenses, totaling nearly $32 million.

• The County has not employed its contractual powers to monitor and control factors contributing to the NSF.

• The County has not practiced due diligence to ensure the UCRRA complies with its contractual obligations, including repayment of NSFs.

• Under the status quo, the UCRRA will not be able to meet its obligations in the future without continued, annual NSF from the County.

“The contract between the UCRRA and the County empowers the County Legislature to request modifications to the UCRRA budget,” said Auerbach, “yet we found no such requests in the official records of the County or the UCRRA.”

The contract also requires the UCRRA to submit monthly written reports to the Legislature which must, at a minimum, include: estimated and projected Net Service Fees and the number of gross tons of Solid Waste or Regulated Recyclable Materials delivered to the system, processed and sold, and its amount and price, yet the Clerk of the Legislature has no record of ever receiving such reports, according to the Comptroller

“I call upon the Legislature to use its power and authority to protect taxpayers in every way related to the UCRRA,” said Auerbach, “simple due diligence is what is needed and this report provides some guidance on how to begin.”

The report, entitled “Net Service Fees: $32 Million and Counting” can be found at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What About Wawarsing

The NYC DEP went on a “buying spree” spending $7.8 million to purchase 1323 acres of land in four counties including 74 acres in our own Ulster County.

Nice to see them try and protect their watershed and insure quality drinking water to City residents.

What happened to the leak ravaged folks in Wawarsing and the millions of gallons of “quality drinking water” that is bubbling up in their basements and yards?

Here's the story courtesy of MID-HUDSON NEWS NETWORK

More land acquired by DEP for watershed protection

CATSKILLS – The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is purchasing another 1,323 acres of land in the Catskills for $7.8 million. It’s a continuing part of the DEP’s efforts to protect the watershed and maintain the quality of New York City drinking water.

Twelve parcels were acquired, ranging in size from a half acre to 266 acres; the properties are in Ulster, Greene, Delaware and Westchester counties.

Since the land acquisition program began, the Big Apple has purchased over 111,000 acres of watershed land in the Catskill/Delaware and Croton reservoir systems. Most of the properties will be open for public access, including hunting, hiking and fishing, as well as hay cropping by local businesses.

The newly acquired parcels include five in Delaware County totaling 815 acres; four in Greene County Totaling 430 acres; two in Ulster County totaling 74 acres; and one four-acre parcel in Westchester.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Power Grab

Auerbach claims lawmakers want to “undermine” county charter
August 17, 2010

(Copyright © 2010 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc)

KINGSTON – The Ulster County Legislature wants to shift funds from the county comptroller’s budget for accounting and auditing over to its own budget to cover the annual county audit.

County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach calls it a “power grab.” The proposed transfer of funds is contrary to the intent of the new county charter, which designated the comptroller as the chief auditing officer, he said, Monday.

“We are taking a hard line on this. We are really looking to the legislature to understand the reasoning behind it and hopeful they will remain on our side to allow the financial audit to be an independent one,” he said.

Under the old charter, before there was a comptroller or county executive, the legislature took the lead in the annual county audit.

“The legislature sets policy and appropriates funds, the executive manages and administers funds,” said Auerbach. “The comptroller’s role is independent oversight which is why no management, administrative or appropriating functions were delegated to the office.”