On Monday evening Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan stopped by the Marlborough Town Board on a sort of ‘listening tour’ that will take him to all of the towns in the county in the coming months.
Ryan said as a public servant, it is critically important to be accountable to the people he serves.
“It means showing up and listening and engaging and trying to understand what’s really happening on the ground,” he said. “The goal is not for me to talk but to hopefully hear from you all [about] what’s on your mind, concerns that are important to you, whether specific to Marlborough, or in the county and more broadly if there is a way that I can help.”
Members of the Town Board jumped at the invitation, peppering Ryan with a list if items in town that need attention. Supervisor Al Lanzetta asked about the narrow sidewalk from Stewarts down to Main Street and resurfacing and paving of Dock Road, both in Milton. He also touched upon the Route 9W/Western Avenue corridor and the county pushing snow off Western Avenue, “a little too fast.” Councilman Ed Molinelli pointed out that flooding on Route 9W by Milton Turnpike is a jurisdictional problem, in part, because a county road crosses a state road. He said this is hazardous to motorists and needs to be fixed. Councilman Scott Corcoran suggested erecting a Welcome To Ulster County sign, along with a listing of offerings in the area, right at Marlborough’s southern border.
“We don’t have nothing there and we’re the first town. We’re always left to have to do what we have to do,” he said.
Ryan agreed, pointing out that Marlborough has many positive attributes that show off Ulster County.
“I think you represent all of the awesome things about our county. You’ve got the river, the agricultural and farming, the vineyards, and the awesome Meet Me in Marlborough campaign,” he said. Ryan said he has initiated an audit to see how and where the county spends its tourism dollars, pointing that Ulster County collects more than a million dollars in occupancy taxes annually that is plowed back into promoting the county.
Ryan said he also wants to establish a county-wide fund to help municipalities fix some of their infrastructure issues, “at least a matching fund to cover some percentage of these projects and then align it with some broader economic goals; that is something I am definitely looking at.” He is considering a way to establish a transparent process on how projects can be put forth, evaluated and prioritized across the county.
“At a minimum that’s the fair and right way to operate and that I can definitely deliver on,” he said.
Lanzetta said there is a perception in the southern part of the county, “that everything goes to Kingston. We don’t ask for too much, but any help we can get is appreciated.”