State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) today met with residents of the Town of Wawarsing and discussed a number of initiatives he has been involved with for their community. "With our partners in healthcare, housing and local government we are working to try and address as many needs of the people of Wawarsing as possible," Senator Bonacic said.
ELLENVILLE REGIONAL HOSPITAL
Senator Bonacic has been a strong supporter of Ellenville Regional Hospital during his entire time in the New York State Senate. Senator Bonacic negotiated the original agreement which saved Ellenville Hospital in 2000 and has secured over $2 million in added State aid over the years to help the hospital grow successfully.
"People need access to quality health care services without having to travel twenty or more miles to the nearest facility. Keeping Ellenville Regional open and growing has been and always will be a priority of mine," stated Senator Bonacic.
President/CEO Steven L. Kelley said, "Since opening our new Emergency Department in July 2007, we have not rested in our drive to deliver the highest quality of health care available. In less than one year, we have recruited 11 new doctors of varying specialties, including Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Anesthesia, Internal Medicine, and Family Practice.
In this year’s State Budget, Senator Bonacic secured an additional $200,000 in State aid for Ellenville Regional Hospital.
Another important initiative Senator Bonacic is involved with is the development and expansion of housing for senior citizens in Ellenville. Last year more than $8 million in funding was awarded by the State to construct a 55 unit Senior Housing Development adjacent to Ellenville Regional Hospital. The development is well underway and is expected to be completed in the next four months. There is already a waiting list for the housing.
"As our society ages, we need to invest more in affordable housing for seniors. The development in Ellenville is phase one and I look forward to working for phase II as part of next year’s budget," stated Senator Bonacic.
This year’s State budget included an increase in State aid for our schools. "Each State dollar for education, means a dollar less paid by property taxpayers. Both Ellenville and Rondout Valley did very well in this year’s State budget and I will continue to fight for the schools in our Senate District," Senator Bonacic said.
School District 2007-08 State Aid 2008-09 State Aid
Ellenville $14,676,722 $18,093,370
Rondout Valley $18,962,201 $22,415,884
In addition to working to substantially increase school aid, the Republican led Senate rejected efforts by former Governor Spitzer and the State Assembly to remove the Ellenville School District’s School Resource Officer. School Resource Officer’s are Police Officers who are in the school and help ensure the safety of our children.
Ellenville School Superintendent Lisa Wiles met with Senator Bonacic during budget negotiations and asked for his help to reject the efforts of the Governor and Assembly to take Ellenville’s School Resource Officer away.
"Schools must be safe havens of learning. How anyone in their right mind would want to pull the police out of our schools is beyond me. Superintendent Lisa Wiles made her case and we fought to reject the effort to remove these officers from our local schools," Senator Bonacic said.
Wawarsing area community organizations provide valuable services to residents, Senator Bonacic has made it a priority to provide as much State support as possible for these local organizations. State aid secured for organizations in Wawarsing include: $30,000 to be shared by the local Veteran Services Organizations ( American Legion Post 111 Cook-Taylor and the Edgar S. Taylor VFW Post No. 1455); $5,000 for each Fire Department or District in Wawarsing and Ellenville; $20,000 for the Village of Ellenville for police services, $7,500 for the Shadowland Theater; $20,000 for the Town of Wawarsing; and $10,000 for the Nature Conservancy to make improvements at Sam’s Point.
"I have made it a priority to support local organizations, particularly in communities where we have seen job losses and other concerns. These organizations are the backbone of our community. I can only hope that at some point Wawarsing’s other representatives start to show some support for Ellenville and the greater Wawarsing area because these organizations need all the help we can give them," Senator Bonacic said.
Residents of Wawarsing and much of the Hudson Valley and Catskills have been effected by flooding in a dramatic way over the past decade. The Republican controlled Senate has twice passed bills authored by Senator Bonacic to implement flood control measures. Each time the efforts have failed to gain support in the Democratic controlled Assembly, despite the region’s being represented by a Democrat in the Assembly.
The Senate has passed Bonacic’s legislation to take away the City of New York’s authority to keep their reservoirs at overflow capacity and has also passed legislation directing the State Emergency Management Office and DEC to prioritize flood control and spend State funds to implement known flood control measures. The State has a $120 billion budget. "We cannot wait for the Federal Government to step up because if we do that we will drown in both bureaucracy and water. We need the DEC, in cooperation with local soil and water conservation districts to spend the money necessary to clean out streams, widen culverts, and obtain the results people need," Bonacic said.
The City DEP has admitted that its aqueducts, which carry millions of gallons of water each day through Wawarsing, are leaking and that they have failed to spend necessary funds to assist Wawarsing with the leakage.
Napanoch resident Julianne Lennon who organized along with her neighbors a recent meeting on the subject of the leaking aqueducts stated, "We needed to put a face on this problem to highlight the struggles of real people, living in a real neighborhoods, who are forced to deal with flooding on a daily basis. My objective was to highlight the importance of DEP owning this as we have owned this problem. We are grateful to Senator Bonacic for helping us put this issue in the light necessary to result in real solutions."