County Beat
Hugh Reynolds: Follow the money

Hugh Reynolds: Follow the money

Ulster County is finally on the political map. But not in a good way. Last week it was revealed that upwards of $350,000 was transferred a few weeks prior to the 2014 elections from New York City-based big donors via “Team de Blasio” to the Ulster County Democratic Committee, providing funding for the failed state...
Hugh Reynolds: Primary points

Hugh Reynolds: Primary points

The presidential circus moved on to the next state on Tuesday, but it was nice for New York, for a change, to be part of the proceedings. A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer in our pants. The hotly-contested races produced a degree of interest and participation rarely seen in local elections. Turnout...
Hugh Reynolds: Time to vote

Hugh Reynolds: Time to vote

New York having been a presidential backwater for so many years, “it’s exciting to have candidates visit our state,” in the words of state Sen. George Amedore. As a historical note, should frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prevail, the next president will come from New York for the first time since 1944. This is...
Hugh Reynolds: Tiiim-ber!

Hugh Reynolds: Tiiim-ber!

Nobody was hurt when a tree fell on Kingston Mayor Steve Noble’s house early last Sunday morning. But I wonder whether the mayor’s second thought, after assuring his family’s safety, might not have been, “Is this Mike Hein’s sales tax counteroffer?” Nobody heard a chainsaw. Almost a month ago, the county executive and mayor jointly...
Hugh Reynolds: Campaign cash

Hugh Reynolds: Campaign cash

I’ve often wondered about the going purchase rate for politicians. There’s an unprovable two-to-one rule of thumb, for instance, on the reporting of campaign donations as it relates to actual campaign donations. The late Kingston mayor T.R. Gallo once shared a story with me over drinks after golf on this particular style of dancing in...
Hugh Reynolds: Workin’ on the railroad

Hugh Reynolds: Workin’ on the railroad

Like a well-ordered train schedule, the Ulster County-advertised request for proposals (RFPs) came right on time for the future operation of portions of the old D&H railroad. The legislature in 1991 signed a 25-year lease with Catskill Mountain Railroad to upgrade and operate the 38 miles of track from Kingston Point to Highmount. The lease...
Hugh Reynolds: The armored ambulance

Hugh Reynolds: The armored ambulance

Attendees were startled last year when HealthAlliance CEO Dave Scarpino revealed his $88.8 million “ask” for completing the $47 million consolidation of former Kingston and Benedictine hospitals at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast. To the surprise of many, approval was announced last week. They got the money. As a dowry, it will certainly make HealthAlliance,...
Hugh Reynolds: A teaching moment

Hugh Reynolds: A teaching moment

A win is a win is a win, but Zephyr Teachout supporters had to be concerned over her surprisingly narrow victory over a virtually unknown Columbia County fruit farmer at March 3’s Ulster Democratic Committee’s congressional nominating convention in Kingston. Zephyr (for gentle wind) stormed into the convention with what appeared to be a full...
Hugh Reynolds: County’s cash flow getting low?

Hugh Reynolds: County’s cash flow getting low?

One of the questions that keeps coming up in this county-versus-city sales tax controversy is why would County Executive Mike Hein alienate almost every local elected official in the county? One guess is that the county may be facing serious cash-flow issues in the not-too-distant future, like next year. There ain’t no more infirmaries to...
Hugh Reynolds: Fig leaves?

Hugh Reynolds: Fig leaves?

After prompting by some media, Ulster County Exec Mike Hein finally took ownership of the scheme to claw back some $3 million a year in sales tax revenues from the city and the towns. Hein laid his rationale in detail at what will probably be the largest public gathering of the year, the 300-odd attendees...
Hugh Reynolds: 'It's about fairness'

Hugh Reynolds: ‘It’s about fairness’

This is a test. Nobody told incoming Kingston Mayor Steve Noble he would face a test of leadership barely a month into a four-year term. Hello, sales tax crisis. How Noble handles this controversy, and how it turns out, will be a significant marker of his new mayoralty. Almost everyone in the county has a...
Hugh Reynolds: Ulster supervisors, city officials unite against sales tax raid

Hugh Reynolds: Ulster supervisors, city officials unite against sales tax raid

County Executive Mike Hein’s pre-emptive sales tax strike on Ulster County’s city and towns has awakened in some local officials the possibility that maybe, just maybe, those people on the sixth floor of the County Office Building aren’t their best friends. A few weeks ago, the Hein administration, which, disclaimers notwithstanding, always means Mike Hein,...