By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO At Tuesday’s meeting, the Monticello Village Board voted unanimously (minus an absent Rev. James Matthews) to set a public hearing on whether or not to dissolve the now-vacant deputy village manager position.
Board members themselves, however, are divided on the matter.
“Is there a need to dissolve this position?” asked Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins. “Can you just keep it open and vacant? Because who knows what’s going to happen?”
Attorney Dominic Cordisco affirmed that the position created just five years ago could simply be left vacant, but Trustee Carmen Rue advocated for dissolution.
“Another board could bring it back with a local law,” she pointed out.
Hutchins, however, argued that since it cost the village legal fees to create the position in the first place, it should be retained for use by a future board, avoiding further expense to draft a new law.
“As far as I’m concerned, we should start downsizing these positions,” replied Mayor Gordon Jenkins, advocating for the position’s total elimination. “... It’s too much government we’re paying for.”
“The village has existed for 200 years without a deputy village manager,” agreed Trustee Victor Marinello. “We don’t need it. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of money.”
The public will be able to weigh in at the October 4 board meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the village hall.
The lights of Broadway
With Broadway’s reconstruction virtually complete, the village agreed on Tuesday to hire McDowall Electric to oversee the village’s installation of 64 decorative streetlamps along the thoroughfare.
Their low bid came in at $9,500, an enormous drop from the $70,000-$80,000 bids the village had received in the first round of bidding.
“The original bid included materials,” said Sullivan Renaissance’s Helen Budrock, who is coordinating the effort with the village.
She explained that the village will supply the materials this time, along with the labor which will now include not just village employees but Job Corps students.
Village Manager John LiGreci estimated the village will pay around $33,000 for the necessary materials.
Upon confirmation of satisfactory insurance, McDowall will simply oversee the installation process, ensuring the lamps are wired correctly.
Have a seat
Benches may also come to Broadway.
Though controversial due to their potential to encourage loitering, benches are “definitely a possibility,” said Budrock.
New plans for youth center
The plan to renovate the village hall and surrounding buildings and properties has changed again, but it may now be headed out of the conceptual phase and into full-scale design.
Engineer John Fuller, following village leaders’ directions, presented a plan to the board Tuesday that no longer includes the purchase of a neighboring acre.
Instead, a proposed youth center would be sited on the to-be-demolished footprint of the vacant former village courthouse across the parking lot from the village hall and police station.
At 7,500 square feet, the youth center would be large enough for a gym, Recreation Dept. offices and bath facilities.
The highway garage (the former firehouse) would see two bays added on behind it, while the parking lot, village hall and police station would be renovated and offices expanded.
“We’re still within a $2.5 million-plus range,” Fuller told the board. “Whatever you invest now will buy the village 40 years of time.”
LiGreci estimated the bonding of the project at a six percent rate would raise taxes less than one percent.
The board gave Fuller the go-ahead, and he’ll return to one of the October meetings with more detailed plans and figures.
Dealing with Irene
LiGreci and the village workforce received high marks from board members for their handling of the impacts of Hurricane Irene.
Marinello in particular praised LiGreci for saving the village from further damage, thanks to a cleaning out of the storm drains prior to Sunday’s rain and wind.
LiGreci estimated about 10 inches of rain fell that day, closing down four village streets, backing up the sewer plant and sending water leaking through the village hall’s roof.
“It took us all day on Sunday to clean it out,” LiGreci said of his and coworkers’ offices.