Sullivan County Chamber Charges CUSTOMERS a Fee to Shop Local

Yes, you read correctly if you are interested in shopping local merchant in sullivan county the chamber of commerce wants you to pay $40 a year.

You are probably asking yourself “Shouldn’t the merchants be offering YOU the buyer  incentives to shop their store?” well yes but …  

The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce shop local program DEMANDS that the SHOPPER pay $10 every 3 months to get the savings?

That seems very backwards.
If we WANT to keep business local we must make it as seamless and as smooth as possible.
How DARE THE CHAMBER ask shoppers to pay a fee to keep money local and shop local, it is the store keeper who should WANT to keep their customers AND NOT demand an entrance fee.

This is exactly the lack of thinking that keeps sullivan county in feces.

We should thank the shopper for shopping local. To many it might seem like pure stupidity to ask shoppers to pay for a discount card.

One man one vote



In response Terri Ward president of Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce responds:

Hello Bruce,

I just got back in my office today after a full day conference yesterday at the college and several meetings this morning to find this article and the e-mails that you sent regarding your issue forwarded to me from my Vice President. She also told me about the conversation that she had with you.

I cannot let something like this go without you understanding fully what the $10 we are charging goes towards. First and foremost you know that we are a private, non-profit, membership organization that does not receive any money from the government. Period. No. Taxpayer. Money. We operate our organization as a business because we have a fiscal responsibility to our members to make sure their membership dues are being used in the best possible way to serve them and their needs. In order to keep our membership rates low (one of the lowest county chamber dues in NYS) we have to charge for unbudgeted programs and services that cost us money on occasion. We did not pull the amount of $10 out of thin air, we carefully review how much it will cost us to print the plastics cards that will be given out as well as the staff time it will take to update the information on the ever changing discounts on our website, in social media, and in our advertising. We also take into consideration the amount of money we will spend on advertising the program. We do not profit from the program, but simply cover costs to run the program. You are obviously entitled to your opinion, however, I wanted you to have the full information before you jump to conclusions. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions. 791-4200. Thank you for your time.

Terri Ward


Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce

PO Box 405

Mongaup Valley, NY 12762

Phone: 845.791.4200 Fax: 845.791.4220


Who can you TRUST? NOT the Sullivan Economic Partnership or Chamber of Commerce

Trust is earned when information is presented honestly.

Yet Allan Scott when he wrote  “On behalf of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development and the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce” FAILED to present the COMPLETE Truth.

The FACTS as reported to New York State are VERY DIFFERENT than what you were told. NO the library usage has NOT gone up dramatically requiring a NEW 5.3 MILLION dollar building.

In actuality the ONLY thing from the E B Crawford library that went up was Alan Barish’s salary and by 35% in 5 years. WHY?


2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Total Programs Attendees 2,410 2,807 3,021 2,019 2,304
Adult Book Usage 34,090 35,246 35,229 35,774 36,034
Children Book Usage 27,349 26,986 28,172 27,584 25,075
A Barish Librarian Salary $100,936 $94,214 $88,162 $79,894 $74,667
Salary INCREASE from 2007 35.18%


Allan Scott did it as a favor For Whom?   Not the Voters NOT the Taxpayers…


One Man One Vote

Bruce Diller Verstandig


Published: Times Herald Record  – 08/06/12  By Allan Scott

On behalf of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development and the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, we want to stress the importance of the proposed expansion of the Crawford Public Library that will be decided by public referendum on Aug. 9. A new library in the downtown area of Monticello will serve not only its own village, but also surrounding residents of Bethel, Forestburgh and Thompson.

Countless studies in recent have proven that libraries lend themselves to increased literacy and economic development within the communities they serve. However, the current Crawford Library facility is simply unfit to accommodate both the inventory and traffic that it currently holds, and quality of resources and programs will continue to deteriorate if new accommodations are not provided. The new library, which would be located at 479 Broadway in Monticello, will offer the following amenities and improvements:

–A doubling of library space for books, programs/meetings and study spaces

–A parking lot that will nearly triple the amount of space and accommodate handicapped vehicles and guests

–Handicapped accessibility throughout the new building, including all entrances, interior facilities, even in the children’s section

–Space outdoors for performances, meetings and leisure

–More computers and Internet access for all areas of the library.

It is no secret that downtown Monticello has been striving to revitalize itself for some time now, but the necessary steps just have not been put into action.

From an economic development perspective, this project will create a new and exciting anchor for Broadway, and create an environment that can be leveraged to attract new business while strengthening existing ones.

In addition, this multi-million dollar investment will fuel numerous construction jobs in the upcoming year; not to mention perhaps the most important aspect of the project—expanded opportunities for our community’s children.

This new library has presented itself as the perfect opportunity to take a step in the right direction for our area for our current, and most importantly, future residents.

The referendum for this new public library will be held in Monticello on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.

— Allan Scott is the President/CEO of Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development.

$1,333 a MONTH in paper clips and pens

What is wrong with this picture?

The Monticello Library RAISED salaries 20% TWENTY PERCENT INCREASE

Reduced book spending by 8%

And SPENDS $16,000 a year in office supplies.


Waste or Fraud ?



PS Read response received to my email requests:

Dear Mr. Verstandig – I am in receipt of your most recent email indicating that is is your desire to secure form the library certain documents today, Friday, August 10, 2012. This email to advise you that we need additional time to comply with your request for theses documents. The Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library has to research what documents are legally available to the public.
Alan Barrish, Director
Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library
- – -

Monticello Library Board NOT Best Interest NOR Fiduciary Duties


Imagine you like me would agree that it would not be prudent nor in the best interest of the fiduciary duties of the library board to proceed with any contracts prior to answering my insightful questions including the full analysis of renting versus buying. You do agree don’t you?

Thank  you and looking forward  to being enlightened with the library numbers, statistics, cost analysis rent v build, etal.

One Man One Vote

Bruce Diller Verstandig

Monticello Library Audited Financial

August 9. 2012

Where can I access the audited financial statement for the library?

I have spoken with Town of Thompson Supervisor Cellini, Town of Thompson Comptroller, Town of Thompson Clerk and to everyone’s amazement NO ONE has EVER seen any audited financials from the library only the proposed budget.

As a tax payer in the Town of Thompson I believe the library director and all board members have an obligation to answer questions when asked of them, as they relate to the spending of tax dollars and yet the library director and its board have failed to provide any answers to my emails. Why is that?


Monticello Library WASTE or FRAUD

August 8,2012

Tomorrow the library board will be asking the voters to build them a new $5.3 million building and yet in reading the 2012 budget i am horrified to see an almost 20% increase in salaries and personnel cost while the budget is cut almost 8% for spending on books.

The library spending less on books has my brain thinking,  the library must have less of a need to stay currant as they are most possibly serving less patrons.  Isn’t that correct?

Before building a – 5.3 million dollar building I’m thinking out loud ‘ are you building a library to serve the future?’

The library is computerized so pulling together the library vital statistics yearly for the last 20 years, should be simple, plus one imagines the library board monitors these vital statistics regularly.

> How many active library cards (used in past 12 months)

> Books taken out

> Lectures and programs

> Attendance daily average inside the physical library

> Attendance to lectures etc

> Computer usage time, number of machines

> Demographics of patrons

> AND all relevant library statistics year/year

I’m asking these questions because as board members  you have an obligation to show us the needs before raising taxes and spending/wasting our money.

Looking forward to your timely reply

One man one vote

Bruce Diller Verstandig

PS how much was focus media paid as of today in 2012? I am asking this question because your budget every year spends $16,000 in office supplies, $1,333.00 a MONTH in paper clips and pens? Fraud or waste?

CC : Tony Cellini

Times Herald Record

Sullivan Legislature

Monticello Library Seems Awfully Foolish

To: Board of Trustees Crawford Monticello Public library

July 2012

 Reference:  public referendum for august  9, seeking approval for 5.3 million bond

I was very taken by surprise when I read  ” said the libraries spokesperson, Bill Madden, of Focus Media.” (*)

“Focus Media is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country. Here’s why: We use our political campaign approach to create … ”

Does the library really need to spend money to hire a public relations agency to have a news story released to the press? I can understand hiring a professional grant writer but a public relations agency?

Having only positive interactions with the library and its staff I am very much inclined to believe that someone on the staff of a library can surely write a news essay answering the basic 5 questions: who, what, when, where and how of a news story.

Why are we being so generous spending our tax dollars? Or was this pro bono volunteered goods and services (Josh Sommers, CEO focus media &the current Chairman of the Board of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development)?

As a businessman prior to spending 5.3 million dollars, I’m curious to know the economic dollar  comparison of renting the vacant and newly built ‘Rite Aid” as it is one large open space , ground floor, with ample parking prebuilt,  As compared to the yearly debt service cost for the 5.3 million dollar construction , including projected yearly maintenance cost for the building (regular and replacement reserve) , the life expectancy of building. … Simply the cost of renting versus a 5.3 plus million dollar building. Sometimes there is greater value in renting.

As a taxpayer I’m curious as to the positive economic impact of leaving 3 properties (if not acquired) on the tax role as well the property tax the library’s landlord will be paying us back, in a sense.  Further If we are going to remove commercial property tax revenue dollars, I would much rather see a sullivan county economic business incubator built there, as that will at least build and generate future tax revenues for sullivan county.

It seems awfully foolish, in my opinion; to remove three commercial property tax payers from Broadway, a street we as taxpayers just spent millions of  tax dollars to revitalize commercial downtown Monticello.

I would hope the library board of trustees would look to the least cost to the district taxpayers And the overall property tax dilemma facing Sullivan County when planning a new library.

One might also look to the Literacy Center which offers more programming and literacy value to our community on a very limited budget, than our own public library with a ever increasing budget (taxes!) Not to mention future retirement, salary increases, cost increases to RCLS, furnishings.

Additionally where can I read the strategy of needs survey one assumes the library did prior to building and designing a new $ 5.3 million building?

Looking forward to your timely response.

Bruce Diller Verstandig

PS It just feels extremely slippery that the vote for a 5.3 million dollar library is scheduled in August when people are on summer schedule and vacation, doesn’t it ?

CC: Tony Cellini Town of Thompson
Sullivan County Legislature
Times Herald Record