Ulster legislators were not ready to vote on a resolution directing the clerk of the legislature to post information that would assist municipalities in enacting local ordinances prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.
Most lawmakers are on record opposing fracking in the county, but they could not come to agreement on whether the resolution on the agenda was quite ready for prime time.
Democrat Richard Parete said it wasn’t.
“This didn’t go through committee. It’s really embarrassing to be sitting here discussing a resolution, adding lines and talking about it; things that should be done in committee. If it didn’t go through committee, then let’s just abolish the committee system,” he said.
Republican Robert Aiello, who brought the resolution to the floor, was also frustrated.
“My intent was simply to be able to assist the towns, whether it be through the executive’s office, environmental department, or whether it be through the clerk, and separately, as a body, to take a position on whether you’re for, or you support, or don’t support the practice of fracking. And I don’t see where that’s all that difficult,” Aiello said.
A motion to amend the resolution to more clearly define fracking was defeated.
After almost a half hour of discussion, the legislature voted to send the resolution back to committee.
In other business Wednesday night, the legislature:
- Voted unanimously to approve a four-year contract with the CSEA, retroactive to January 1, 2011. Workers get no raises for the first two years, 1.75 percent in year three and two percent in year four. Workers will also pay 20 percent of their health care premium.
- Approved extending a sales tax exemption for certain commercial solar installations.
- Approved a five-year revocable permit for the State Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision to use a portion of the former Ulster County jail for a five-year term, at a monthly rate of $1,100