Sunday, December 8, 2013

Practitioners of good government could have restarted the process to avoid any appearance of impropriety.! Audit candidate spurs complaints Ulster lawmakers get a warning By James Nani Times Herald-Record Published: 2:00 AM - 12/07/13 KINGSTON — Ulster County legislators are set to hire a new independent auditing firm for the county, despite warnings from the Ulster County comptroller that its relationship with the Legislature may lead to appearances of impropriety. The choice this year has been narrowed down to two firms: O'Connor Davies LLC or Toski and Co. The decision will go to the full Legislature Tuesday. Toski and Co. is the county's current independent auditor and the firm is in the running to continue down that path. The contract as the county's main auditor is worth $63,500 a year. O'Connor Davies, the other choice and favored by the Republicans' slim majority, came out two weeks ago with an audit of Ulster County Executive Mike Hein's tentative 2014 budget. The Ulster County Legislature hired O'Connor Davies in September at $65,000 for this year's audit and approved it, 19-2. Aside from a few minor cash shuffles and warnings, the firm painted a fairly rosy picture of Hein's budget in its analysis. Therein lies the problem, says the county's comptroller, Elliot Auerbach, a Democrat. He's put out several warnings to the Legislature that the process to pick the auditor had been flawed. Auerbach says O'Connor Davies should have dropped out of the running for official auditor once it accepted the job to do the budget analysis to avoid a conflict of interest. He also says awarding a three-year contract is too long and would go past the term of the current Legislature. "The appearance of impropriety is there," Auerbach says. Auerbach says the Legislature should go back to the drawing board to pick from a bigger pool of bidders. Republican Ken Ronk, the Legislature's majority leader, disagrees with Auerbach's analysis. A supporter of O'Connor Davies, he says different teams from the same firm would conduct the two different audits and a three-year contract would be cheaper than a one-year agreement. Ronk says O'Connor Davies already audits Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties. He's also concerned that if the process were started over, it could delay the auditing process that usually begins in December. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has sided with Auerbach. Hein says although no one is saying there's been wrongdoing, the comptroller is right that the current policy needs improvement. "An inherent conflict arises when any CPA firm is exposed to the potential for political pressure to shape their final budget analysis in return for being awarded a much larger and more lucrative annual audit contract," Hein said last month.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ulster County Sales Tax Decrease December 1st

ST-13-5 (11/13) Ulster County Decreases Sales and Use Tax Rate Effective December 1, 2013 Beginning December 1, 2013, Ulster County’s local sales and use tax rate decreases from 4% to 3%. Therefore, the combined state and local tax rate imposed in Ulster County decreases from 8% to 7%. This new tax rate applies to all taxable sales, services, deliveries, and uses in Ulster County. Questions??????? Visit THE Web site at • get information and manage your taxes online • check for new online services and features

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Setting The Stage For Creative Solutions

Ulster County comptroller: Re-elected Auerbach to seek 'creative' solutions Working with legislators and the county executive on tax relief, electronic payments and scrutinizing health care and property-tax exemptions are all on the agenda of Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach as he looks forward to four more years in office. Auerbach, 61, defeated challenger Linda A. McDonough, according to unofficial results. The post is a four-year term and pays $102,000. Auerbach ran on the Democratic and Working Families lines. McDonough, 56, ran on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. “I think I have built a trust with the residents of Ulster County,” Auerbach said. “I think they appreciated the fact that we are out there on a daily basis looking out for their interests.” One area on which Auerbach plans to focus is allowing the county to pay vendors and employees electronically. The move would save time and money, he said. Also on Auerbach’s agenda is exploring new ways of raising revenue, which he said would reduce the need for property taxes. Home foreclosures in Ulster spurred this initiative, he added, which he plans to address with the county executive and Legislature. “We need a creative way to fund local government,” he said. As far as auditing, a pivotal role of the Comptroller’s Office, Auerbach said he will be targeting recipients of health care benefits and tax-exempt properties. “Our thrust going forward is to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of Ulster County government,” Auerbach said. John W. Barry:, 845-437-4822; Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo.

Monday, November 4, 2013


My office has built a reputation on what we have accomplished with our continual commitment to be the "watchdog" for the 184,000 residents of Ulster County.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Governor Cuomo Endorses Elliott Auerbach

I appreciate both the support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and his commitment to rebuilding New York State by creating thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, providing additional annual funds for our kids' schools and reducing property taxes for seniors and working families through his efforts behind Proposition #1. Please Vote YES for NYS Gaming Amendment Having the full support of Governor Andrew Cuomo for my re-election bid is a true testament to all the work my office has done in establishing the office of the Comptroller and keeping a watchful eye on our tax dollars. I thank the Governor for his leadership and his dedication to establishing a "New" New York.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DiNapoli stumps for Auerbach

DiNapoli stumps for Auerbach
KINGSTON – State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was the keynote speaker at a well-attended fundraiser held in Kingston Tuesday night for the reelection of his Ulster County counterpart Elliott Auerbach. "I suspect he will win by a landslide," DiNapoli predicted. Under the then-new county charter, Auerbach, an Ellenville Democrat, was elected county comptroller in 2008 and 2010, for two and three year terms respectively. The 2014 race is for a full four-year term. Auerbach's original Republican opponent, Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley, dropped out of the race shortly after announcing his candidacy last summer. Quigley was replaced by Linda McDonough, a Lake Katrine resident. McDonough lost the Republican primary for county comptroller in 2010 to deputy county clerk Fawn Tantillo. Auerbach soundly defeated Tantillo in the general election that year. Tuesday's fundraiser was a Who's Who of local politics, attended by nearly every prominent Democrat in the county. "To me, the most important qualifications are to be an individual of integrity and independence," DiNapoli said of Auerbach. “In the years that I have known Elliott and have had the chance to work with him, I have always been struck by the fact that he is exactly the kind of person you want in public service – no nonsense, dedicated to the mission of serving people, someone you can absolutely trust – his character is strong and clear and outstanding – and he calls the shots as he sees them.” Auerbach praised DiNapoli as a role model for his own policies. "His respect for the duty he has to the taxpayers of New York, and the integrity of his office, are models of good government compliance, and has been touchstones to me to shape my own office," Auerbach said.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fare To Fair Street

Ulster lawmakers reimbursed $13,000 to commute to county building (Copyright © 2013 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc) KINGSTON – A report by the Ulster County comptroller’s office found that members of the county legislature were reimbursed over $13,000 for commuting miles to the county office building in Kingston last year. While county employees are not reimbursed to drive to and from home to work, state law allows county legislators to put in for that mileage. Legislators were reimbursed $17,497 for total miles traveled, which included $3,858 for business mileage. County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach said for the protection of the county and individual legislators, the reimbursements must be reported as taxable income and he recommended that a unique county policy be formally adopted by the legislature. The report, a follow up to a 2010 report on county mileage, found that over a five-year period, total county reimbursed mileage decreased by $400,000 with 2012 showing a $152,000 reduction from the 2008 baseline. “Utilization of vehicles from the county owned fleet, the cooperation of the executive’s office and every department head, and a conscientious effort of every employee to embrace other cost saving measures contributed greatly to the savings,” Auerbach said.

Friday, June 21, 2013

$22m THREAT TO ULSTER COUNTY RESIDENTS (Copyright © 2013 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.)
Ulster County officials blast Assemblyman Cahill for sales tax "extortion" KINGSTON – Ulster County officials Thursday afternoon blasted state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) for, in their words, blocking the sales tax extension. Every two years, Albany lawmakers routinely approve county requests to maintain the current level of the local sales tax rate, in order to offset budget shortfalls. Local sales tax is paid for by local residents and visitors and is used to off-set the property tax. Auerbach, at the podium, states the county's position to continue the sales tax at its current level County Executive Michael Hein was joined by Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, town supervisors and county legislators from both sides of the aisle to urge Cahill's reconsideration. Cahill's staff members who were present as observers at the news conference, had no comment. County Legislature Majority leader Kenneth Ronk called the roadblock "extortion," echoed by Hein's characterization of the matter as a "holding the county hostage." A total of $22 million in cuts to essential services will result if Cahill has his way, they said. As a senior member of the state Assembly, Cahill reserves the right to keep specific bills from reaching the floor. Ulster is the only county in New York State being denied a sales tax extension this year, Hein noted. Local officials also urged constituents to pressure Cahill to change his mind, before the deadline passes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ulster County hotel tax revenue up 6.2% in 2012 -

A THREE YEAR INCREASE IN HOTEL-MOTEL "BED TAX" INDICATES A STRENGTHENING IN THE TOURISM ECONOMY By Freeman staff KINGSTON, N.Y. — Ulster County’s revenue from its hotel/motel room tax was 6.2 percent higher in 2012 than in 2011, the County Executive’s Office announced on Tuesday. Michael Hein’s office said the revenue from the “occupancy tax” in 2012 was $1.1 million, a gain of about $64,400 over the previous year’s total. The revenue is from the 2 percent tax the county charges for lodging on top of the combined state and county sales tax, which is 8 percent. Hein’s office said the county’s hotel/motel tax revenue now has risen in three consecutive years and is up a cumulative 14.4 percent since 2009. “We are very pleased to see this exceptional level of growth, despite the fact that the economy is still stagnant across the United States,” Hein said in a prepared statement. “It is becoming clear that more and more people are deciding to visit Ulster County when it comes time to plan their yearly vacations or getaways, and we’re thrilled to elevate our standing as a tourism hot spot.” Hein’s office said more than 7,400 people are employed in the leisure/hospitality industry in the Kingston Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ulster County, and that it’s the fastest-growing business sector in the region. “In the years to come, tourism will continue to be a major factor in Ulster County’s economic vibrancy,” Hein said in his statement. Ulster County hotel tax revenue up 6.2% in 2012 -

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

CHARGING FORWARD...Credit Card Use Gets Good Grades

Copyright © 2013 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc. Auerbach gives Ulster County use of credit cards good grades KINGSTON – Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach has given the county’s use of credit cards for purchases two-thumbs up. He analyzed 357 transactions totaling $89,392 and found them to be “relatively problem free and could be the basis for cost savings for future county acquisitions.” Currently 14 units of county government carry 32 JP Morgan Chase Procurement cares, or P-Cards, that have been used to buy everything from legal reference manuals and select office supplies to electronic equipment and business travel. Auerbach said because of their success, he would recommend further use of the cards. “Using the procurement cards as opposed to the arduous purchase order method seems to speed up both the purchase side of it and the payment side of it. So, we see some definite pluses from it,” he said. “Add on top of that the opportunity to gain rebates back from respective credit card companies so that at the end of the day if you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars of purchases at 1 ½ percent rebate, per se, the county could stand to make money on this.” Auerbach said the review of procedures for 2012 found that in the majority of cases, the internal controls were reasonable and adequate and procedures were followed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


You Can Bank on It Press Release.. by

Report on Bank Accounts.2012 by

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


INTERNSHIP PROGRAM AT ULSTER COUNTY COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE My Office is finalizing its Spring 2013 and Summer 2013 Internship Program and we have a few openings that remain. Over the course of the past four years we have worked with both undergrad and graduate students from SUNY NEW PALTZ, SIENA COLLEGE, MARIST, MOUNT SAINT MARY and SUNY ULSTER. Students come from a variety of disciplines including Business, Accounting, Finance and Economics. Some have elected to use our program for credit while others simply wanted the intern experience that our office has to offer. The program is tailored around the student's academic schedule and is supervised by our professional staff of accountants, auditors and attorneys. For more information please have interested parties contact Kristin Jackson at

Friday, January 4, 2013

RON MARQUETTE...The Show Must Go On!

The sadness sinks in as we share the loss of a friend to many. Ron you have left your mark on Ulster County. From the Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville to UPAC to the Ulster Regional Chamber to Ulster Development Corporation to SUNY ULSTER. You have touched us all and left Ulster County a better place. "Break a leg" my friend. Ex-artistic director Ron Marquette dies Published: Jan. 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM KINGSTON, N.Y., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Ron Marquette, a New York college official and former arts executive who rescued a historic theater from financial peril, died Friday, a college official said. Marquette, 68, of Kingston, N.Y., was at Albany Medical Center for surgery after suffering a heart attack when he took "a turn for the worse," Donald Katt, president of the State University of New York at Ulster, told the Daily Freeman of Kingston. Marquette was responsible for the college's community relations and special events. He was also a leader in a million-dollar campaign to renovate the Stone Ridge, N.Y., college's 500-seat Quimby Theater. "A college theater's role in community is really vital -- it brings so many people together," Marquette told the Freeman in 2007 after the 40-year-old theater regained the luster of its heyday. For 11 years, Marquette was the executive artistic director of Kingston's historic Broadway Theater, a 1927 neo-Classical-style show palace known for its flawless acoustics that had fallen on hard times. When he took over in 1994, the 1,500-seat theater -- once a forum for vaudeville acts, musical productions, drama, concerts and movies -- was running a high six-figure deficit and needed nearly a million dollars in repairs. Marquette restructured the operations of the non-profit Ulster Performing Arts Center running the theater, cutting its budget while expanding its theatrical offerings. Over several years, through partnerships, he restored the theater's financial footings and secured more than $2.25 million for restoration while establishing the theater as a performing arts center renowned for its forward-looking programming. Marquette and the city later created a theater district around the center, including vintage street lights. "Probably the biggest development is that ... the Broadway Theater is now a source of community pride. That's got to be earned," Marquette told the Freeman in 2005. Marquette was earlier the artistic director of Shadowland Theater in the Catskills village of Ellenville, N.Y. Before moving to the Hudson Valley in the early 1980s, Marquette worked extensively as a director, producer and writer off-Broadway in New York City, where he was the founding director of the Persona Theater. He also worked at regional theaters in Rhode Island, Connecticut and on Long Island. He wrote two plays, "Nonna" and "Larry Parks' Day in Court." The second drama, about a U.S. movie star blacklisted in 1951, was selected to be performed at Florida's Key West Theater Festival in 1994. In 2009, before the opening of his production of "The Wizard of Oz" at SUNY Ulster's Quimby Theater, he explained the vagaries of directing a dog. "Sometimes Toto shows up and wants to work, and sometimes Toto doesn't want to work," he told the Freeman with a laugh. Read more: