Delaware County approves gas tax holiday

Mar. 8—The Delaware County Board of Supervisors appointed a new department head and voted to reduce the gas tax in the county during a quick meeting Wednesday, March 8.

Walton Town Supervisor Joseph Cetta, chair of the county's Mental Health Committee, announced after a several months' search, Douglas Elston will take over for the retiring Cynthia Heaney as director of community mental health services. His term of appointment will last through Dec. 31, 2025.

Cetta said Elston has 25 years experience working in the department.

Elston thanked the board for his appointment and said he looked forward to serving families in the county.

Starting June 1, the tax on gas will go down in Delaware County.

The board unanimously approved a resolution to suspend the gas tax above $2 per gallon starting June 1. Masonville Town Supervisor Betty Scott was absent.

The legislation will continue the county's suspension on the sales tax on gas, County Budget Director and Colchester Town Supervisor Arthur Merrill said. "We were under the impression the state had to do it first, but we learned we could do it whether the state does it or not."

Merrill explained that the tax reduction has to start at the beginning of a tax quarter, which is June 1. The tax will come off both unleaded fuel and diesel fuel.

Franklin Town Supervisor Jeffrey Taggart said "gas should drop 6 cents."

The board passed a similar resolution last April that ended Dec. 31.

Meredith Town Supervisor James Ellis asked how much the county lost in sales tax revenue by giving the gas tax break last year.

Merrill answered that it was hard to tell because, "the state does not separate out gas tax." He said gas sales are put in the same category as automotive sales and service. "We estimated last year we would lose $600,000, but we don't know if that's true," he said.

In addition to reducing the gas tax, the board approved several bids for the Department of Public Works for the spring and summer road construction season.

Near the beginning of the meeting Board Chair and Bovina Town Supervisor Tina Molé introduced Harris Weiss, who is the Southern Tier Regional representative for Gov. Kathy Hochul. Weiss said he works out of the Binghamton office and covers the counties from Steuben to Delaware and said he was open to talking with supervisors following the meeting.

Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield asked Weiss if he saw the county opposed Hochul's proposal to keep some of the Medicaid funding at the state level. Weiss said he hadn't. Molé said they talked before the meeting about it and he said other counties have complained also.

Following the meeting, Stamford Town Supervisor John Kosier introduced himself and said he'd be in touch.

Cetta invited Hochul to the bridge dedication ceremony for Lt. Stephen H. Doane in July during a planned Innovative Readiness Training mission in Walton.

Andes Town Supervisor Wayland "Bud" Gladstone told Weiss cellphone coverage needed to be improved in the county.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.