By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO On Tuesday, the Monticello Village Board voted 4-1 to give department heads and elected officials a three percent raise.
(A story in Tuesday’s Democrat incorrectly stated that such a vote occurred the prior week, due to inaccurate information provided to the paper.)
Trustee Carmen Rue was the lone dissenter.
“I didn’t ask for the increase,” she explained at the board meeting. “I think we should wait for the [new] budget.”
But Mayor Gordon Jenkins, Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins and trustees James Matthews and Larissa Bennett disagreed, and the measure passed.
Thirteen non-union employees, including the village’s leaders and board members, will get raises retroactive to August. Totalling just under $10,000 altogether, the raises match those given to union employees.
A new fairgrounds?
Cousins Brian Stickle and Andy Yeomans spoke during public comment, unveiling their plan to start a Monticello “booster club.”
“Our main goal is to build a Sullivan County fairgrounds,” Stickle said.
Both ideas have roots in Monticello’s past. According to Village Historian Tom Rue, a booster club existed earlier in the 20th century and raised funds for a Broadway fountain and decorative lampposts, though they no longer exist.
And at the end of Park Avenue is a field where fairs used to be held. It was also once an airport and is now a well site for the village.
Stickle, who’s also heavily involved in the Monticello Area Football and Cheerleading Organization (MAFCO), is seeking volunteers and welcomes inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The plan, he said, is eventually to create a 501c3 nonprofit with a board of directors, which can raise money for community-based projects.
“Brian and I,” remarked Yeomans, “excel in that one area: raising money.”
Village officials encouraged Stickle and Yeomans to bring these ideas to Monticello’s Holiday Committee (of which both are already members) and work with Sullivan Renaissance.
Vehicle purchase tabled
The board tabled a resolution to purchase a 2012 Chevrolet Impala for the Police Department.
The $30,159.08 cost concerned Hutchins, who noted the employee comp/holiday time allocation in the current budget is almost exhausted (about $20,000 is left in the $155,000 line, said Hutchins).
Hutchins stated this was not about the specific purchase or the police department, but simply that he wanted to hold off on large purchases for now.
Rue said she was ready to vote, but the three other board members agreed with Hutchins to table the matter.
Jenkins, Rue and Bennett were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting, with this being Bennett’s first term and Jenkins’ and Rue’s second.
Bennett’s family and friends turned out for the ceremony, conducted by Village Attorney Dennis Lynch.
Rue was sworn in by Family Court Judge Mark Meddaugh.
“Thank you very much to all of the people who supported me,” Rue stated later (also thanking her husband, Tom, who endured her pre-election treks to virtually every front door in Monticello).
“This is my home,” she affirmed. “I love Monticello. ... The village is my family.”
Jenkins, too, expressed gratitude.
“I am humbled to be here serving this village,” he said, “and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
In other business
• Residents can now put their trash in 45-gallon containers for pickup, an increase from the prior 33-gallon maximum.
• The board reorganized on Tuesday, which included naming the Democrat as one of its official newspapers. Village Board meetings will continue to be held the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m. at the village hall.