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Monday, October 22, 2018

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Call it a comeback

Partnership reflects on growth at annual meeting and dinner

By Joseph Abraham - sports & life editor

By: JOSEPH ABRAHAM | DEMOCRAT
Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development President/CEO Marc Baez, left, and Walter Rhulen Award recipient New York State Senator John Bonacic.
ROCK HILL - Sullivan County has come a long way in the 24 years since the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development first formed. Partnership President/CEO Marc Baez reflected on this growth as he addressed the 200 Annual Meeting attendees who filled the Sullivan Events Center in Rock Hill on Thursday.
“We are the comeback story...the Sullivan Catskills,” Baez said, citing several positive statistics such as the unemployment rate (3.
7%) and the over 2,000 new non-farm jobs since last August, adding that the Partnership is ready for even more development.
Jim Bates, Incoming Partnership Board Chair, said he started working at company in Cold Spring some 20 years ago, and even then, despite what others told him, he saw potential in Sullivan County.
Bates talked about his initial visits to the county and how there was a dream, and today, “...that dream has become a reality.”
He added that as Baez would say, it's not time to take the foot off the gas but to go full throttle.
As is tradition, the Partnership honors two individuals every year. The Distinguished Service Award recipient was Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek. He mentioned a lunch he had with Baez in 2012, shortly after becoming county manager, where he asked him what the county could to to foster a better business climate.
Baez told him two things. The first was for the county to put their best foot forward, be more responsive to the business community, and get out to the towns, villages, civic groups and business organizations to explain the the role of the county and what services they offer.
And more importantly to hear from them on what the county could do better.
The second was the critical need for shovel ready sites in the county. Shovel ready sites can be described as locations with all the needed infrastructure and permits in place or nearly in place to start construction as soon as possible. Six years later, Potosek delivered on what was promised and announced that in 2018, sales tax in Sullivan County is expected to grow by 16 percent.
Potosek added that the county is in position to assist businesses, not be a barrier to their success.
Lastly, the Walter Rhulen Award was presented to retiring New York State Senator John Bonacic. He was introduced by last year's Rhulen Award recipient Les Kristt, who praised Bonacic for all he has done for Sullivan County, including his part in getting a casino to, “...our backyard.”
Kristt said Bonacic had a roadmap etched in his brain to make that miracle happen.
Following a video honoring him, the senator took the stage, clearly overcome with emotion.
“I never kept score. The needs of the people are insatiable,” Bonacic said, adding that he never stopped and looked back following accomplishments, but always forward and what else he could do to help.
He concluded by summing up the county's growth: “...When I look at Sullivan County, I see people who have hope, opportunity and a chance at a better life,” noting that a senator can't ask for anything more when leaving office.





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