Category Archives: Featured Stories

Assemblyman Will Barclay: Cell phone fees high in NY

Recently, the Tax Foundation released a map showing the combined local, state, and federal cell phone rates.

The map showed, not surprisingly, that New York residents pay the third highest cell phone tax rate in the country.  Our state and local cell phone tax is 17.85 percent.  When those taxes are combined with the federal tax rate, New Yorker’s cell tax rate is 23.67 percent.

Most cell phone customers get a breakdown of costs.  Service providers often line-item out these taxes on your bill.  In New York, cell phone users are charged $1.20 every month.  This surcharge is known as the “New York Public Safety Commission Surcharge.”

In addition to this state surcharge, many of state’s 62 counties charge an additional 30 cents a month.  (Fourteen counties, Bronx, Delaware, Hamilton, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, Queens, Richmond, Schoharie and St. Lawrence counties, do not charge the additional $.30.) Some of this $1.20 surcharge is earmarked for sensible emergency spending through the Public Service Commission while other dollars are placed, unfortunately, in the state’s general fund.

Here is a cost breakdown with some history.  In 1991, the state began charging the New York Public Safety Commission Surcharge, which was set at 70 cents a month.  This 70 cents was used to establish the federally-mandated Emergency 911 Centers with the state Public Service Commission.  These centers save lives.  This was a sensible way to raise revenue to enable our state to implement new technology and connect emergency services so that New York residents would be able to call 911. These call centers dispatch local units and police, ambulance or fire personnel to respond to emergencies.

However, as New York has faced several budgetary challenges since 1991, that surcharge has been increased and not all of it goes to the E911 or emergency responders.  As mentioned, the state surcharge is now $1.20.  Out of that $1.20 collected, 50 cents gets placed in the state’s general fund.  That means that New York collected $84 million from cell phone users to put into the general fund.  This does not include the 4 percent sales tax. Sales tax paid on an $80 monthly “smart phone” bill is $1.80 or $21.60 a year. New York also imposes gross receipt taxes on wireless companies. That is passed down to the consumer as well.

As can been seen, when government (especially in NYS) gets a tax stream, it is never temporary and inevitably over the years it increases.  For illustration, one simply has to look at the tolls on the New York thruway.  The number of cell phone users has grown significantly.  In 1997, there were 48.7 million cell phones in the United States.  In 2012, there were 321.7 million nationwide, according to the Tax Foundation.

Because of additional users, revenues from these taxes continues to increase.  For government, this revenue is addicting.  While establishing a dedicated funding source for projects very often makes sense, too often these taxes are diverted to the general fund and the taxes never seem to go away even after the original project for which the tax was initially established is completed. Our state should use taxes for their dedicated purpose. If that purpose no longer exists, it should give the public back its money.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, contact my office.  My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at or by calling 598-5185.


Talk about patron of Oswego Public Library set for Nov. 6

Norman Dann, an author of many books about Oswego Public Library benefactor Gerrit Smith, will talk at the library at 6 p.m. Nov. 6.

Dann lives in Peterboro in Madison County on the Gerrit Smith Estate and is the author of “Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith & the Crusade for Social Reform” and “When We Get to Heaven: Runaway Slaves on the Road to Peterboro.”

His latest book is “Cousins of Reform: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Gerrit Smith.”

Gerrit Smith was known worldwide as a compassionate, generous and empathetic man who tirelessly pursued a better world for all.

In 1853, Smith began the Oswego City Library with a letter to prominent Oswego citizens promising $25,000 for the building and collection. These men became the first board of trustees and opened our “castle on the hill” in the spring of 1857 where we still serve Oswego today.

According to the National Abolitionist Hall of Fame and Museum, “Much of Smith’s philanthropy concentrated on liberating slaves. He complemented individuals’ efforts to buy freedom. He purchased individuals and families directly from slaveholders. He sent agents into the south to negotiate financial terms for freedom.”

“Smith was criticized by some of his colleagues for giving funds directly to individual persons as opposed to donating larger sums to organizations and societies with missions.

“Smith gave money to the abolitionists for traveling expenses and publications. By the mid 1840s, Smith had contributed over fifty thousand dollars (equivalent to five million dollars in 2002) to the antislavery movement.”

First cousins Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Gerrit Smith radically changed the social landscape of America in the 1800s.  Elizabeth spent her summers at Gerrit’s estate in Peterboro learning of social reforms and meeting the reformers.

Here she met her future husband, abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton, and here he proposed marriage. Discussions with her elder cousin Gerrit “about the nature of reform and the social and political implications of gender, sex, race, and religion helped each to refine their causes,” says

Dann is professor emeritus Morrisville State College, a founder and member of the Cabinet of Freedom for the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, a Steward of the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro, a member of the Madison County Historical Society and treasurer of the Peterboro Area Museum.

Oswego County students receive SUNY Potsdam scholarships

SUNY Postdam has awarded scholarships, grants and awards to 1,047 students for the 2013-14 academic year.

These SUNY Potsdam undergraduate and graduate students were recognized for their achievements with support for their educational experience.

The scholarship recipients from Oswego County are:

Lauren Carlisle of Central Square,  music education major, awarded the Crane School of Music Scholarship.

Cassandra Chase of Central Square,  liberal arts major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Morgan Frederick of Parish, English and creative writing major, awarded the Max W. Templeton Memorial Scholarship.

Christopher Halsey of Mexico, math major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Marissa Johnson of Pulaski, special education major (Master of Science in Education), awarded the SUNY Potsdam Graduate Scholarship.

Joseph Locci of Parish, environmental studies major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Victoria Metcalf of Lacona, psychology major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Haley Noel of Fulton, art studio major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Karly Rieth of Phoenix, music education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Jordan Smith of Richland, biology major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Transfer Scholarship.

Stephanie Warner of Sandy Creek, childhood/early childhood education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Hayley Webb of Central Square, liberal arts major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Gina Weston of Central Square, curriculum and instruction major (Master of Science in Education), awarded the SUNY Potsdam Graduate Scholarship.

Chloe Grab of Fair Haven, childhood/early childhood education major, awarded the SUNY Potsdam Freshman Scholarship.

Playground at Franklin Park refurbished

The playground at Franklin Park in Oswego has been refurbished.

The Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) coordinated a community based project to powerwash, repair and re-stain the Playground Area in Franklin Park. The work took place Oct. 5.

“The playground is used by hundreds of children each week from all over our city,” said Paul Stewart, the Oswego Renaissance Association dircetor.

“Responding to citizens’ concerns the ORA contact Mayor Gillen who instructed the Oswego DPW to assess what repairs were needed and could be done,” he said.  “The DPW agreed to make all the needed repairs and to supply the necessary stain. The ORA agreed to form a team of volunteers to do the rest of the work.”

More than 30 people have volunteered to help. Many of the volunteers are local neighbors and parents of children who use the playground but a surprisingly large number of the volunteers are SUNY students.

“The outpouring has been wonderful!”  said Steven Phillips; project coordinator. “I knew we would have local neighbors and parents but I was surprised at the large number of SUNY students who stepped forward. Even one of the local fraternities pledged 10 of their brothers to work the entire day.”

The ORA is a community based organization that works to build on Oswego’s strengths through the “Healthy Neighborhood Approach”; a middle market approach to community revitalization that has been successfully tested in scores of similar cities across the country.

To get involved or for more information contact The Oswego Renaissance Association via their website;  or by calling 439-2040.

Safety is key at Leighton Elementary

Submitted by the Oswego school district

Communication between Frederick Leighton Elementary School students, bus drivers, crossing guards, teachers and staff is critical to a smooth running school.

So for the 11th straight year, school opened with a special event focused on safety.

“For the past 11 years we have held a meeting between bus drivers, crossing guards, school staff and children according to the buses they rode,” veteran teacher Mary Lisk said. “We have seen a substantial decline in bus referrals and it has really helped to build relationships and improve safety.”

Continuing she noted, “After a brief breakfast, which this year included not only bus drivers and cross guards, but members of our board of education, we moved to the gym for a school wide meeting. We are working on the character traits of ‘responsibility’ and ‘respect’ and focus on safety not only on the bus, but also for walkers.”

This program has proven to be a tremendous success. Not only are students focused on safety while in the bus, but other areas are also included in the meeting.

“We talk about self control, being kind, remaining in seats, keeping aisles clear, respecting the driver, use of proper language, courtesy,  sound level of voice and encouraging students to think of the bus as an extension of the classroom where all school rules apply,” Lisk said.

Meanwhile, for walkers, Lisk said, “We promote safety as we ask students to walk (not run)  at all times, show respect for the crossing guards, wait for the crossing guard to assist at the crosswalks, to leave school grounds immediately after school and to go home or to where your parents expect you to be and report issues.”

There is also a concentration on bullying.

“Bullying on the bus or walking will not be tolerated under any circumstance,” Lisk said. “We discussed this topic with the students. Children must report bullying that occurs to them or if they witness this being done to others.” She noted that currently school bus drivers are working together to combat bullying as part of a statewide program.

Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs honored

Recognizing Oswego County (ROC) is pleased to announce that the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, has been selected as September’s Community Champion.

Each month Recognizing Oswego County uses this recognition effort as a platform for emphasizing the wonderful work that is happening in Oswego County to promote the health and wellness of children, families and adults.

The theme for September was outdoor awareness and appreciation.

The Oswego County Federation of Sportmen’s Clubs is an organization that is comprised of representatives from membership sportsmen’s clubs throughout Oswego County.

It represents 22 sportmen’s clubs with more than 4,500 members. It has been promoting, enhancing, protecting, enjoying and educating about the outdoors since 1947.

According to Recognizing Oswego County officials, many people are not aware of the federation and what it does.

But, almost every person who fishes, hunts, traps, boats, canoes, cross-country skis, snowmobiles and bird watches has benefited from the work and dedication of the federation and its members.

The federation works with the state  Department of Environmental Conservation to help write, modify and adapt environmental laws and regulations which help protect the environment and its wildlife.

The federation believes in educating youth about the environment. It financially supports annually the following youth educational events: Conservation Field Days Envirothon, Oswego County 4-H Shooting Sports, Youth Fly-fishing Program, JAKES day and NYS DEC Environmental Education Summer Camps.

In addition, it raises money to help build handicap assessable fishing docks, hunting platforms and wildlife trails. The federation and its member clubs host fishing derbies, 3-D archery shoots and hunter education classes.

In her nominating letter, Linda Brosch, 4-H Team Coordinator for Cornell Cooperation of Oswego County, stated, “The Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs is dedicated to improving the hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, snowmobiling and all other outdoor recreation activities in Oswego County and New York state.

“Its members and member clubs are full of men, women and youth who are kind, generous and thoughtful. They do not hesitate to volunteer to help pass on the tradition of outdoor recreation and appreciation.”

Recognizing Oswego County is comprised of a cross section of Oswego County agencies and organizations who are working together to create healthier more positive communities.

To get involved with the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club, go to For more information on Recognizing Oswego County, contact Abby Jenkins, coordinator of the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego at 343-2344, ext. 21.

Check here to see who is running in the Nov. 5 election

Editor’s Note: The party abbreviations are as follows: D is Democrat; R is Republican, I is Independence; C is Conservative; G is Green; W is Working Families


Justice of the Supreme Court

James N. Romeo, D

Nancy Jean Larson, D

John v. Centra, R-C-I

Anthony J. Paris, R-C-I


County Treasurer

Fred C. Beardsley, R-C-I


County Legislature

District 1: Margaret A. Kastler, R-C-I

District 2: Milferd H. Potter, R-C-I

District 3: Shawn Patrick Doyle, R-C

District 4: David Holst, R-I

District 5: Roy Reehil, R; Ronald E. Sakonyi, C

District 6: John J. Martino, R-I

District 7: John E. Proud, R

District 8: Daniel LeClair, R-C-I

District 9: James Weatherup, R-I

District 10: Robert J. Hayes, R-I

District 11: Linda L. Lockwood, R-C

District 12: John W. Brandt, R-I; Richard P. Kline, C

District 13: Kevin L. Gardner, R

District 14: Stephen Walpole, R; Bradley T. Coe, C

District 15: Jacob a. Mulcahey, D-Other

District 16: Amy M. Tresidder, D

District 17: Shane Broadwell, R-C-I

District 18: Michael K. Kunzwiler, D, C

District 19: Marie C. Schadt, D-R-C

District 20: Douglas E. Malone, D-C-Other; Joseph Susino, R-I

District 21: Terry M. Wilbur, R-C-I; Michael P. Bukolt, Other

District 22: James Karasek, R-C

District 23: Morris Sorbello Jr., R-C-Other

District 24: Daniel T. Farfaglia, D-C

District 25: Frank Castiglia Jr., D-C-Other; Louella LeClair, R-I




Referendum 1: Adding another town justice to the town.

Referendum 2: Increasing the term of the supervisor from two to four years beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Referendum 3: Increasing the term of the superintendent of highways from two to four years beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Referendum 4: Increasing the term for the town clerk from two years to four years beginning Jan. 1, 2016.


Supervisor: David Aaron Walter, R; Carl E. Anson Jr., C-I

Town clerk: Valorie A. Rose, D; Amy J. Ford, R

Town justice: Howard L. Allen Jr., R

Councilman: (pick 2) Lonny L. Mattison, R; Randy L. Mattison, R; Nancy A. Sheeley, Other

Superintendent of highways: Charles Sperling, D-Other; Steven M. Cronk, R-C-I




Supervisor: Barry D. Leemann, R.I

Town clerk: Mary Ann Clark, D

Town justice: Elizabeth A. Dunham, D-R

Councilman: (pick 2) Susan D. Halbrittter, R; Bruce E. Stone, R-I; Lawrence c. Rayder, I

Assessor: Anne Miller, R; James L. Goldsberry, R

Tax collector: Regina Sampson, R

Superintendent of highways: John Perkins III, R-I




Supervisor: Ann M. Stacy, R; Charles Rose, C-I-Other

Town clerk:  Paulette Skinner, R-Other; Doreen Macklen, C-I-Other

Town justice: David W. Lathrop, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Jimmy J, Walker, R; Dale McNitt, R; James Macklen, Other

Tax collector: Shirley McNitt, R

Superintendent of highways: Michael J. Stacy, R




Supervisor: Charles R. Gilkey, R; Dale Mussen, C-Other

Town clerk: Clare D. Hayes, D-R-C

Councilman: (pick 2) Thomas J. Moran, R-C; Chad Whitney, R

Superintendent of highways: Wayne Woolridge, R-C




Supervisor: Edward A. Williamson, R-C-Other

Town clerk: Janet L. Ingersoll, D-C

Town justice (pick 2): Edwin B. Winkworth, D-R-C-W-I-G; Bruce R. Wells, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Michael G. French, D; Lynn M. Lyons, D; Eric A. Clothier, R-C-Other; Brenda L. Frazier-Hartle, R-C-Other



Supervisor: Ronald C. Greenleaf, C

Town justice: (pick 2) Adam L. Labonoski, D; Jack S. Beckwith Jr, R-C-Other; Eugene Hafner, R-C

Councilman: (pick 2) Christopher J. Soper, D-C; Virginia M. Wilbur, R-C-I; Randy J. Hendricks, R-I

Superintendent of highways: Daniel J. Mahaney, D-Other; George H. Ritchie, R-C-Other



Superivsor: Tony Bush, R-C-I

Town clerk: Shelley Bombardo, R-I

Town justice: Ronald Myers, R-I

Councilman: (pick 2) John Coleman, R-I; Leonard Rice, R-I

Superintendent of highways: Robert Clark, R-C-I; Linwood Woody Hall, Other




Town justice: (pick 1) Douglas B. Horton, R; Jon Moretti, C; Brian Todd Windey, Other

Councilman: Eric Behling, R




Supervisor: William C. Dodds III, D-Other

Town clerk: Jennifer A. Allen, D-R

Councilman: (pick 2) Shawn McCrae, D; John L. Familo, R-Other; Dominick A. Yacco, R-Other

Superintendent of highways: James r. Sharkey, D-Other; Keith J. Moody, R-Other




Supervisor: Russell E. Sturtz III, R

Town justice: Terry F. Searles, D

Councilman: (pick 2) Patricia A. Prosser, R; William Rombough, R




Supervisor: William G. Potter, R

Town clerk: Traci S. LaVeck, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Robert D. Crossett, R; Jeffrey Graham, R

Superintendent of highways: Douglas C. Henry, R-I-Other




Supervisor: Victoria M. Mullen, R-C-I

Town justice: (pick 2) Donald H. Dodd, R-C-I; Michael Sterio, R-C-I

Councilman: (pick 2) Tim DeSacia, R; Greg Herrmann, R




Superisor: Patricia A. Redhead, R

Town clerk: Jean M. Gulliver, R

Town justice: Edward N. Boisseau, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Thomas R. Hilton, R; Doris French, R-Other

Superintendent of highways: James Pettit, R




Referendum 1: Increasing the town clerk term from two years to four years.

Referendum 2: Increasing the supervisor term from two years to four years.

Referendum 3: Increasing the highway superintendent term from two years to four years.


Supervisor: Stephen J. Stelmashuck, D-C

Town clerk: Kelly I. Reader, D; Mary Ann Phillips, R-C-I

Town justice: Carl L. Dayger, D-R-C

Councilman: (pick 2) John E. Dunham, D-C; Carra P. Watson, D; Douglas E. Jordan, R-C

Tax collector: Mary L. Houghton, R

Superintendent of highways: David J. Reader, D-C; George R. Korthas, R-I




Supervisor: Tanya M. Yerdon, D-R

Town clerk: Susan C. Hough, D-R

Town justice: (pick 1) Ralph L. Fox, D; Dory A. Dumas, R

Councilman: (pick 2) James A. Cheney, D; Dora M. Hallock, D;  Erwin A. Webb, R

Tax collector: Sue A. Harlander, D-R

Superintendent of highways: Paul E. Pratt, D-R-Other




Supervisor: Daniel C. Krupke, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Donna M. Gilson, R; Sue E. Haynes, R




Referendum 1: Increasing the highway superintendent’s term from two years to four years.

Referendum 2: Increasing the town clerk’s term from two years to four years.

Referendum 3: Increasing the supervisor’s term from two year to four years.


Supervisor: Nancy L. Ridgeway, R

Town clerk: Tammy L. Miller, R

Town justice: Terry E. Crast, R

Councilman: (pick 2) John W. Wood Jr., R; Ruth E. Scheppard, R

Superintendent of highways: Michael C. Kastler Jr., R-C; Timothy S. Crast, Other




Mayor: Grant J. Rohrmoser, R-Other; Steven J. Washburn, Other

Trustee: Sharon L. Turo, R




Supervisor: Lynett M. Greco, D-R-C; Patrick J. Nugent, I

Town justice: Armen Nazarian, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Michael Lattimore, D; Stephen Hutchins, D-C-Other; Timothy J Dunnigan, R; Suzanne M. Duquette, R

Receiver of taxes: George W. Simons, R




Supervisor: Kenneth E. Burdick, R

Town clerk: Rebecca A. Lavery, R

Town justice: Kenneth H. Adkins, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Bradford Kennedy, R; Eileen L. Santoro, R; Kelly M. Lagoe, C

Assessor: Kerry L. Barnes, R

Superintendent of highways: Michael J. Barry, D; Roger S. Myers, R




Supervisor: Dennis Lockwood, R-C

Councilman: (pick 2) Gregory W. Hartranft, R-C; Kelvin K. Kio, R-C; Tax collector: Sandra L. Austin, R-C

Superintendent of highways: Roger A. Dunsmoor, R-C




Referendum 1: Increasing the town clerk’s term from two years to four years beginning Jan. 1, 2016.


Supervisor: John Messere, D-I-Other; Verno Sundet, R

Town clerk: Cortney A. Rhinehardt, R; Patrice M. Jock, Other

Town justice: Colleen A. Sullivan, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Gary L. Harrington, R; Michael Hickey, R; Debra A. Phillips, Other

Superintendent of highways:  Randall R. Shaw, R




Supervisor: John Chip Hamblin, R

Town clerk: Faith Ann Baker, R

Town justice: (pick 1) Ronald J. White, D; Michele M. Bull, R

Councilman: (pick 2) Jeffrey A. Hopkinson, D; Sharon J. Kellogg, D; Kimberly Ann Huntley, R; Susan Punch, R

Tax collector: Rosalie B. Platt, R

Superintendent of highways: Henry H. Allen, R




First ward councilor: Fran Enwright, D-Other; Brenda J. Rice, R-W-I-Other

Second ward councilor: Michael R. Myers, R

Third ward councilor: Robert E. Janey, D; Michael E. Todd, R-I

Fourth ward councilor: Shawn P. Walker, R-C

Fifth ward councilor: Frank Clavelli, D-Other; William Billy Barlow Jr., R-I

Sixth ward councilor: Eric Van Buren, D

Seventh ward councilor: Ronald T. Kaplewicz, R




City judge: David H. Hawthorne, R-I


First ward councilor: Ernesto Garcia, D; Thomas Kenyon, R-C

Second ward councilor: Daniel Knopp, D-Other; Douglas Chapman, R

Third ward councilor: Ryan M. Raponi, D-Other; Timothy Crandell, R

Fourth ward councilor: Ralph E. Stacy Jr., D-I; James R. Myers, R; Mark Sherman, C

Fifth ward councilor: Norman Jay Foster, R

Sixth ward councilor: Lawrence E. Macner, D

Insurance programs offered in Fulton

All uninsured residents of Oswego County can learn more about the New York Official Health Plan Marketplace at information sessions held this month by  Fidelis Care at the gazebo in Fulton Municipal Park.

Fidelis Care representatives will be at the gazebo in Fulton Municipal Park on South First Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in October to help eligible residents apply for enrollment.

Current Fidelis Care members may also receive assistance completing their annual recertification at this event.

Those unable to attend should contact Fidelis Care at (888) FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547) to make an appointment to meet with a Fidelis Care representative.

The New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace was founded so all New Yorkers could have access to affordable, quality health insurance.