By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO A law unanimously introduced by the Monticello Village Board Tuesday literally drew applause from the audience.
Village Attorney Dominic Cordisco explained that the proposed law mandates contractors and developers deriving a “benefit” from the village (i.e., grants, contracts, etc.) must seriously attempt to subcontract at least 20 percent of their work to local businesses and/or village residents.
“Twenty percent of all work hours in each trade shall be performed by residents of the village,” reads the proposed law, “or if that goal cannot be met, then of Sullivan County, or if that goal cannot be met, then the construction contractor shall make a good faith effort to comply to the maximum extent practicable.”
Such “good faith” efforts, it adds, must include notifying the village of employment opportunities at least three days prior to commencing hiring, and making “reasonable modifications to crew structures to facilitate employment of residents.”
Notification of bidding opportunities for small businesses must be provided to the village and through this newspaper, plus business owners will have access to pre-bid meetings, technical assistance and one-on-one review of bids with the contractor(s).
The village even plans to require larger subcontracts to be broken down into smaller versions accessible to local businesses.
Village officials will directly monitor compliance and, for sustained noncompliance, can take a variety of actions, from arbitration to withholding funds to outright termination of the contract including the ability to declare a contractor or developer “ineligible for participation in future development projects or village projects for a period of three years or until liquidated damages and other restitution have been paid in full, whichever is longer.”
Deputy Village Manager John LiGreci said the law is legal to adopt, “as long as all the bids go out the same way.”
Resident Deb Mack was the first to commend the board for such a law, which she feels could change the quality of life in the village. She was followed by several other speakers, who gave a standing ovation to the board.
Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins particularly singled out Mayor Gordon Jenkins for praise, to which the audience agreed, causing the mayor to tear up in appreciation.
“We’re trying to get some things done in this village,” he affirmed in an emotional voice.
A public hearing on the law, likely to be followed immediately by its adoption, is tentatively scheduled for the May 3 meeting (7 p.m. at the village hall).
expand Road work
LiGreci was also happy to inform the board that, due to a large surplus discovered in the Sanitation Department’s budget, 21 village roads will be repaired/repaved this season.
“We average every year roughly seven roads,” he explained. “… And you all know out there, we’re in dire need [of repairs].”