MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Legislature voted unanimously to authorize issuing bonds, next year, to pay for a major upgrade of the county’s emergency communications system.
During public comment at Thursday’s monthly meeting, Al Dumas, a member of the Monticello Fire Department, put it in terms of history and pop culture.
“From smoke signals from maybe 400 years ago that was used and might have guided the Mayflower ship into port in 1621 to the light from Batman in 1966, the whole idea is that we need to know what’s going on,” Dumas said.
Several dozen uniformed firemen from many departments attended the meeting.
There was no disagreement that the upgrade is needed to a half-century-old system, but there was some concern over cost and potential impact on taxpayers. The intent is to rely on using new debt to replace old debt, and, hopefully, to find more grant money to help pay for the upgrade.
Cindy Kurpil Gieger cautioned that taxpayers are not off the hook, in the long run.
“We, as legislators, need to raise tax to pay for our next vitally necessary bond project, the repair of our roads and bridges.”
Cora Edwards took a different long view, noting that ultimately, local taxpayer money, and state funding comes from the same place.
“Because whether we get state funding or federal funding, State and federal funding is money that we pay as federal and state taxpayers”, Edwards said. “So why not get more of it back from the state and the fed?”
Edwards said the quest will continue for alternate funding.
The resolution adopted Thursday is for authorization only, and does not commit the county to actually issuing any bonds.