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Thompson, Monticello Ponder Consolidation

By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO — January 18, 2002 – Government comes in many forms and layers.
The levels go from village to town to city to county to state to federal. In Sullivan County, the only local government entities are village, town, and county. However, one day, there may be a city in the county.
Over the last week, a great deal of talk has been happening over the possibility of the Village of Monticello and the Town of Thompson consolidating into one government and forming a city.
While it is only talk at this point, this is not a simple process. Many things have to happen before it would become a reality.
To being with, the village would have to be willing to give up its status. Talks would then take place between the town and the village about a merger, and if both sides agree to it, the state must also approve it.
A public referendum may also be called for and if approved, it would take a year to consolidate the two entities into one.
To do all this would be a very arduous process, but there may be another option for the two governments: working together.
The village and the town may make efforts to try to get along and work together in the best interest of their constituents. After many years of bitter feelings and icy relations, members of both boards seem willing to work together, but they are being very cautious.
“We will discuss it [the possibility of consolidating] at the end of February,” Village Mayor Gary Sommers commented. “The answer is more cooperation. We could buy and combine products together. It would be advantageous and save money.”
Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini is not so sure. “The mayor hasn’t been cooperative. The best thing is to work together. We work well with the Village Manager (Richard Sush).”
Sommers stated he would investigate the process and see exactly what is involved, and he plans to give the Village Board a report on it by the end of February.
Meanwhile, Sommers has offered to sit down with Cellini and meet every week and discuss issues that affect both municipalities.
“I’ll meet with him as long as both boards are present,” Cellini responded to the offer. “It would be a good idea to assign a committee to study the situation. It would be made up of seven members, three from the town and three from the village, with an independent person, like a Jonathan Drapkin, to chair the committee.”
At this stage no formal discussions have taken place.
The town has a discussion on the matter scheduled for their next board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

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