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Police Blame Mayor
For Roof Collapse

By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO — December 5, 2003 – The Monticello Village Board consists of good people who have failed, according to Salvatore Accomando, president of the Monticello Police Benevolent Association.
He laid most of the blame, however, on Mayor Gary Sommers
"The mayor is only one vote but is in charge," he stated at Monday’s village board meeting.
Accomando was referring to the Monticello Police Station’s roof, which finally collapsed after years of neglect. For 17 years, in fact, the police have been complaining to the village board about the deterioration of their headquarters.
The New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Safety called the broken-down building one of the worst cases they have seen, according to Accomando. The officer also wanted "the people of Monticello to know that we will always be there."
When asked why the board did not fix the building, Village Trustee David Rosenberg said, "We have no money."
Mayor Sommers apologized for the matter.
"We’re very sorry for what happened," he said.
In response, he put together a timeline for repairing the police building. He hopes to have it repaired by sometime in January. Bids will start on a new roof today and will last five days. Bids will be opened on Thursday, December 11 at 8 a.m. at the Neighborhood Facility (which is where the village board is currently meeting, due to lack of space at the village hall).
The board passed the mayor’s timeline and allocated $5,000 out of the village’s procurement policy to fix the interior and the walls of the structure. The money comes from the village’s contingency fund, which still has about $100,000, according to the mayor.
The board is considering a new police building next to the future village firehouse. The board is currently in the process of purchasing property on Richardson Avenue near Burger King for the Monticello Fire Department. The 2.7 acres will cost Monticello $325,000, according to Village Manager Richard Sush.
Sush said the village has hired an architect to design a new building for the fire department and is looking into whether there is enough room for a police station.
Sush presented a large diagram of what the firehouse will look like. It will include a museum of old fire trucks and "should be an impressive building we will live with for many years."
The money for the construction will come from federal highway money due to the widening of Pleasant Street in front of the police station and fire department. The federal government is giving Monticello $1.8 million to replace the firehouse. Sush put the cost of construction at $1.1 million.
The village manager also addressed the Carlton Hotel, which will be given another month to fix its building, since the owner has been repairing the roof recently.
In other business, the mayor addressed "unfortunate rumors about the [village] manager and I not working together." He called the rumors baseless and the people spreading them to be hurting the village’s image and its "ability to bring people in to do business."
Mayor Sommers also talked about consolidating services as much as possible between the village, town and county. He said he wanted to merge the purchasing of supplies in the county. The town and village can also combine police services, he said.
Sommers later added, "When you look at what needs to be done, . . . how much do you want to raise taxes? You have people here that are barely holding on."

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