Above: Leigh Melander, owner of a lodge in Fleischmanns, argued against a proposed bed tax during a public hearing on Oct. 28. Photo by Robert Cairns.
After a run-up of weeks and a public hearing held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors withdrew a local law that would have created a two percent tax on hotel and motel occupancy.
As the resolution to adopt the tax came up on the agenda at the Wednesday, Oct. 28 meeting of the board, Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo, who chairs the board's economic development committee, withdrew it.
“There are some substantive changes we'd like to make to it,” he said.
Triolo said that comments received at the pubic hearing, as well as at three previous informational meetings, led his committee to change the language in the law so that it will apply not only to traditional hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast businesses, but also to vacation rentals booked through online services such as AirBnB and casual rentals advertised through services such as Craigslist. Read more
Halloween is this Saturday, Oct. 31, and the Catskills are celebrating with costume bashes, trick-or-treat events, zombies, witches and more. Here’s our five county guide to the best spooky events of the weekend.
In Andes, the annual Harvest Moon Ball is a Halloween tradition featuring a potluck, costume-contest and kid-friendly dance party that takes over the back room of the Andes Hotel every year. Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.
O’Neill’s Shire Pub in Delhi is hosting its Spook-Tacular Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. They’ll have DJ Pat hosting a costume contest with prizes for scariest, sexiest, best Couple, and funniest costumes. Read more
Above: Mounted officers rode through obstacles during a demonstration of skills on Friday. Photo by Robert Cairns.
Delaware County has its first mounted police patrol since the 1980s.
Six members of a multi-jurisdictional force of cops on horseback graduated on Friday, Oct. 23 from a week-long certification course held at Golden Gait Farm in Masonville.
Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond was one of the graduates. He said that mounted patrols have been part of Delaware County’s history since the sheriff's office was founded in 1797, and existed as recently as 30 years ago.
“Delaware County was well-distinguished in regard to former Sheriff [Levon] Telian having a mounted division,” DuMond said.
Above: Officers and horses were tested as they rode around a police car with lights flashing and the siren blaring. Video by Robert Cairns.
DuMond said that horses are still useful, especially for searches and crowd control. Read more
Riding on a motorcycle in a leather jacket through the peak of the Catskills fall colors, Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a procession of bikers around the Ashokan Reservoir to a private luncheon at the Catskill Interpretive Center in the Ulster County hamlet of Mount Tremper on Friday, Oct. 23.
Earlier today, Cuomo announced that he was launching a $5 million I LOVE NY marketing plan for the Catskills region, a 2016 "Catskills Challenge" and a "Ride the Catskills" tourism website.
The new website, which contains motorcycling and biking itineraries for Catskills visitors, is a sub-section of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's website. Read more
Above: Delaware County Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis answered questions about a proposed “bed tax” at Wednesday's meeting of the county's board of supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns.
A local law to create a hotel and motel occupancy tax came a step closer to reality on Wednesday, Oct. 14, when the Delaware County Board of Supervisors scheduled a public hearing on the law to add two percent to the bills for overnight stays.
Wednesday's introduction of the law does not put it into effect. A vote on establishing the tax will likely follow the public hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 12:35 p.m., prior to the board's meeting. The hearing and the meeting will take place in the board room at the county office building at 111 Main Street in Delhi.
It seemed, briefly, that the introduction of the law would be delayed.
Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente questioned a provision of the law that would allow the county treasurer to require businesses to post a bond for the amount of the tax.
Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis explained that the provision would give the county recourse to collect the tax from businesses that “consistently” fail to remit it.
“It's just a tool to make sure they’re paying on a more timely basis,” Nealis said.
Valente asked if bonding is a practice used to collect other taxes. Read more
Above: A crane lifts a Delaware & Ulster engine into the air on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Photos by Rebecca Andre.
The 2015 season of train rides aboard the Delaware & Ulster Railroad, a scenic railway that runs from the Delaware County hamlet of Arkville to the town of Roxbury, was forced to end unceremoniously early this year due to "mechanical difficulties," according to DURR president Dave Riordan.
Major repairs are necessary on three of the railroad's engines, said Riordan, who was at DURR's Arkville headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 14 overseeing repairs. Around noon, a giant crane lifted one of the engines into the air.
Above: A crane lifts an engine. Photos by Rebecca Andre.
The last DURR train ran on Sept. 23, according to Heather Wright, the head conductor. Read more
This is it: The peak of fall. Columbus Day Weekend is the biggest weekend of the year in the Catskills, the time when the leaves peak in glorious colors and the fullness of harvest sets in. Come out and paint a pumpkin, crunch a crisp apple and savor the last live outdoor music of 2015. Here’s our guide to what’s up where from Friday, Oct. 9 to Monday, Oct. 12.
It’ll be a farm-fresh feast at Sunday’s Octoberfest Pig Roastat Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow. If you’ve never tasted an Ossabaw Island heritage breed pig, you have no idea what roast pork can taste like; they’ll be roasting a whole one and serving it up with authentic German-style sides like spaetzli and sweet and sour red cabbage. Plus, you can meet a newborn alpaca. Sunday, October 11, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Above: Town of Stamford Supervisor Mike Triolo, chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, makes a point about the proposed bed tax to business owners who gathered on Monday. Photos by Robert Cairns.
Delaware County's board of supervisors is set to introduce legislation to impose a two-percent hotel occupancy tax.
At a public information meeting held on Monday, Oct. 5 in Delhi, Delaware County Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis said that the proposed local law will be introduced at the Oct. 14 meeting of the supervisors and that a public hearing would likely be scheduled for Oct. 28, prior to another board meeting.
At the meeting on Monday, Nealis and town of Stamford Supervisor Michael Triolo, who chairs the board's economic development committee, fielded questions and comments from about a dozen people who attended.
Nealis explained that county leaders are contemplating the “bed tax” as a means to fund tourism promotion. He explained that Delaware County currently spends $95,000 per year on such promotion, while “some of our neighbors are spending $800,000 to $950,000.”
He cited sales tax figures from 2012--the most recent year for which figures are available--which showed that $9.7 million was spent on lodging in Delaware County that year. Based on those sales, the county could expect to receive $192,000 in bed tax revenue. Read more
Above: A child's-eye view of the Catskills, taken on Aug. 17, 2013 at Hunter Mountain by Andrea Byrne.
The annual Lark in the Park kicks off this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 3 and runs for a week through Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 12. This annual celebration originated in 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Catskill Park, and is an opportunity to immerse yourself in all things Catskills.
Above: Flooding on Wittenberg Road in Woodstock around noon on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Photo by Benjamin Fenton.
Over six inches of rain have fallen in the past day in the high peaks region of the Catskills, causing minor flooding in streams in Greene and Ulster counties on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Schools in the Greene County town of Catskill closed early today, and flooding closed roads in Saugerties and in other locations in Ulster County, including Wittenberg Road in the town of Woodstock near Shultis Farm Road (see above). The Esopus Creek in Mount Marion crested at 21 feet around 1 p.m., a foot below the level where it begins flooding homes, according to measurements from its stream gauge.
Minor flooding occurred in many locations throughout the Greene County town of Hunter, which got the most rainfall--about six inches--today, according to John Farrell, the town of Hunter's highway superintendent.
Above: A map of inches of rain that fell in the Catskills in the past 24 hours, from the National Weather Service. The most rain--more than six inches--fell in Greene County.
"We had a couple very localized flooding incidents due to debris in the streambeds all over the mountaintop," Farrell said. "A lot of the tributaries. We got a lot of rain up there."
Hunter's highway team managed to clear debris fast enough to avoid closing any roads in the town, Farrell said. The flooding peaked in the town around 11 a.m.
Rainfall in other locations around the region was less severe, and other locations in the Catskills that are normally prone to flooding have escaped problems so far. Read more