BOS hears about Veteran Stand Down and takes stand against Health Insurance Tax

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Delaware County will host its first Stand Down for veterans at the Catskill Veterans Outreach Center in Stamford on Wednesday, Nov. 6, when numerous services will be offered free of charge.

Director of Delaware County Veterans’ Services Agencies Charlie Piper talked in detail about the event when the Delaware County Board of Supervisors (BOS) met on Wednesday, Oct 23.

Piper explained a stand down, saying, “It goes back to the time of war. In the military, in a time of war, when you’re in harms way, there will be periods of time when you’re told to ‘stand down’ and you’d be sent to another location. At that location, that’s where you would get medical assistance, clothing, food—any of your necessities would be taken care of.”

Stand downs for veterans began in 1988, with Piper saying, “You’re trying to present everything available to assist that veteran who’s in need.”

Some of the services available will include VA Benefit Counselors, Delaware County Representatives, flu shots and blood pressure checks, haircuts, food pantry donations, and military surplus items—all of which will be provided to veterans for free.

“They get what they need. “That’s what it’s about— instant help,” Piper said, adding, “We’re trying to make this something that might be coming back each year, or every other year depending on the need. Everything is based on need. Veterans do not need to preregister for the event, but simply need to show proof of being a veteran upon arriving. The event will also feature a free lunch provided by The Hitching Post of Grand Gorge. For more information, contact Delaware County Veterans’ Services at 607.832.5345.

BOS opposes HIT

During its regular business, the BOS passed a resolution that supports federal legislation that would repeal the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). The resolution reads that the “’Jobs and Premium Protection Act of 2019’ repeals the annual fee on health insurance providers enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).”

HIT, the resolution goes on to read “is one of the largest tax increases included in the PPACA, which was signed into law in 2010.”

Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield spoke before the vote, saying, “If not repealed [HIT] will cause serious implications for State Medicaid programs and Medicaid beneficiaries.”

He went on to say, “If it is not repealed it will decrease New York State’s gross domestic product by $632 million over 10 years,” adding, “it’s estimated that it will affect 142 million people nation wide that will pay higher rates for health care.”

Marshfield noted that repealing HIT will cost the federal government $159 billion over 10 years, but said, “God only knows there’s lots of room for improvement in their wasteful spending.”

Good deal on expansion

Delhi Supervisor and Capital Projects Committee Chairman Mark Tuthill offered a committee update relating to a recently approved $8 million Behavioral Health Building in Walton. The BOS had previously asked how much it would cost to build out the second floor of the facility and Tuthill relayed that engineering firm C&S Companies have estimated the 4,100 squarefoot expansion (including an additional exit stairway) to cost $475,000.

Franklin Supervisor Jeff Taggart thought it was a good deal that the county should take advantage of, saying, “If you can put up a building space for $125 a square foot, you’re a fool not to, I think. It’s money wellspent.”

Chair of the BOS and Bovina Supervisor Tina Mole’ thought it would be worth the money to expand the second floor if only for the sake of storage which she identified as a problem in the county.

“We now rent storage outside of the county,” Mole’ said.

With the board’s approval, Tuthill said the Capital Projects Committee would revise the plans to include the second floor expansion, saying it wouldn’t difficult.

Walton Supervisor Joe Cetta pointed out that the county would be increasing the size of the facility by 20 percent at a third of the cost of cost, saying, “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

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