MONROE - It appears to be back to square one in the battle between the Town of Monroe and the Village of Kiryas Joel over a plan to expand.
Last week, the town board narrowly voted down a controversial deal endorsed by Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles for the Hasidic village to become its own town. Under the plan, Kiryas Joel apparently agreed to become its own town but only after the approval of a stalled proposal to take more than 500 acres of land from Monroe.
Monroe Town Council members refused to pass the plan until a public meeting was held between town and Kiryas Joel officials to discuss the deal.
Councilman Rick Colon says Doles now refuses to set up any meeting. "Those same people you set this proclamation up with - bring them to the meeting," he says.
Meanwhile, the anti-annexation group United Monroe claims Kiryas Joel Administrator Gedalye Szegedin reached out to it after the failed vote by email. United Monroe leader Emily Convers says Szegedin emailed a proposal saying Kiryas Joel would consider starting the process of becoming its own town, right away, if United Monroe supported its expansion efforts. "Kiryas Joel would take all of the land on the other side of Route 17, which is way more than 507 acres," says United Monroe leader Emily Convers.
Convers says she asked Kiryas Joel officials to instead drop the annexation petition but that Szegedin emailed back saying, "Please don't make the withdrawal of the annexation application the precondition to any settlement discussions. It's not something that I, as the Village Administrator, can do."
Szegedin tells News 12 that the village is disappointed by United Monroe's response. Doles said Wednesday that there are no longer any proposals on the table between the two communities and was unavailable for further comment.