Saturday, March 18, 2017

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Orange County to move forward with KJ annexation lawsuit appeal

GOSHEN – Orange County officials have decided to move ahead with an appeal to a court decision allowing the Village of Kiryas Joel to move forward with its plans to annex 164 acres of Town of Monroe land into the village.

The decision by County Executive Steven Neuhaus and the county legislature “was made weeks ago,” said county spokesman Justin Rodriguez. He said they expect the lawyers representing the county and the other municipalities to file their appeal paperwork with the court this week.

Rodriguez’s comments come following the submission of petitions by Assemblyman James Skoufis calling on the county to “continue fighting the annexation.” He said 3,000 people signed in a little more than a week.

Skoufis, who said he has “strongly opposed Kiryas Joel’s annexation bid since day one, calling it “unprecedented and entirely wrong for our community.” He said he delivered the petitions to the county on Friday. He urged the county officials to “put politics aside, do what’s right, and continue with the appeal.”

Rodriguez fired back saying that rather than starting a petition, “What would really be helpful are better state laws to stop these annexation efforts.” He noted the annexation matters and environmental reviews are regulated by state law.

“It’s the assemblyman’s job to help create the necessary state laws and he has simply not done so,” Rodriguez said.

"I guess the county executive fails to remember I've authored and passed not one but two annexation-related bills that were vetoed by Governor Cuomo," Skoufis responded. "My efforts unfortunately received no assistance from this county executive. Perhaps if the county executive actually came to Albany to lobby his friend Governor Cuomo - who is featured in Steve Neuhaus' Christmas card - the outcome would've been different."

 


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