Tourism funding pitched to Supervisors

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By Cheryl Petersen
Funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were received by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. Foster care was discussed and, with the proposed bed tax in mind, the board observed a presentation on tourism promotion at its meeting in Delhi on October 9.
The board accepted grant money from FEMA for flood buyouts. “The funds will be used to purchase buildings in Roxbury and Sidney under the flood buyout program,” said Nicole Franzese, director of Delaware County Planning Board. “Buildings eligible for the buyout were damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.”
Mary Beth Silano, director of Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Thomson, director of tourism, gave a summary of how funds have been spent over the last nine months to encourage tourism. “
Through the Tourism Promotion Agency, advertisements are placed in magazines, at traveling shows, and on TV,” said Silano. “The advertisements are designed to attract tourists to the area, telling them about the many outdoor activities. Future plans are to target New York City with promotion.”
The Tourism Promotion Agency also actively recruits writers to write about the many opportunities available to tourists.

Spreading the word
Jim Thomson said, “Collaborating with the official New York State tourism site, I Love NY, we’ve developed travel guides, rack cards, and brochures We are also working to revive a Ski the Catskills program,” said Thomson.
The board of supervisors was asked to approve a resolution to shift $300,000 from the Medical Assistance fund to the Foster Child Care account. “Over the last year, Social Services had an unforeseen increase in the number of children in foster care,” said Bill Moon, commissioner. “The influx of children into the foster system is directly related to drug problems and it involves young children.”
The money will be spent to pay bills for basic foster care. “Between revenue from the federal and state leveling off or decreasing, and the surge of children coming into the foster care system, all the 2013 funds have been exhausted,” said Moon.
A peak number of children last July of 111, has fallen only to 99 children in care today. “We’d hoped it would be around 90 but it is not uncommon to receive calls concerning missing toddlers or toxic drug levels in infants,” added Moon. “Because of these calls, Social Services become involved.”
Social Services are required to review and present each case to the Delaware County Family Court. “Family Court also reviews each case and then decides if the children will be placed in foster care,” said Moon. “Last year’s budget did not accommodate the increased number of children.”
As for the yearly budgeted amount of money, 75 percent of the funding is designated solely to foster care. The other percentage pays for personnel, fringe benefits, and programs.
The resolution to reallocate the $300,000 was approved by all supervisors excepting Sidney Supervisor Bob McCarthy. “I don’t see enough accountability from the Social Services Department and so will vote no on resolutions where I only see money being shuffled around,” said McCarthy.
Supervisor McCarthy did however approve, along with all other supervisors, of a resolution allowing funds of $34,790 for computer equipment for the Social Services Department.
The supervisors approved a bid price for new truck scales to be installed at the county solid waste facility. “The truck scales needed to be updated,” said Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe. “The price of $80,555 includes longer scales, installation and certification.”