Albany, NY - Orange County Oversight Bill To Derail KJ Annexation Heads Again To Governor
Albany, NY - One year after an attempt to prevent Kiryas Joel from annexing nearby properties into the village was vetoed by Governor Cuomo, a new oversight bill that could potentially stall or defeat the proposed expansion plan has been approved by both the Assembly and the Senate and is on its way back to Governor Cuomo’s desk.w
As previously reported on VIN News(http://goo.gl/wjzKvH), companion bills that passed the State Assembly and Senate last year gave Orange County the ability to review proposed annexations requiring local water or sewer services. Any recommendations made by the county planning board based on those reviews could only be overruled by a supermajority vote of the boards of the affected municipalities. Governor Cuomo vetoed the measure last July, saying it was unconstitutional, but supporters of the legislation were outraged to discover that Cuomo had accepted $250,000 in donations from a developer with ties to Kiryas Joel within days of the veto.
Assemblyman James Skoufis and Senator Bill Larkin, who introduced the bills last year, drafted legislation once again in an attempt to thwart Kiryas Joel’s plan to annex either 507 or 164 acres from the Town of Monroe. The Skoufis bill was passed by the Assembly on Wednesday night, with the Larkin bill passing the Senate on Friday.
According to the Times Herald Record, Kiryas Joel attorneys sent out a memo last week opposing the two bills, saying that because the bill gave the county legislature jurisdiction over annexations that did not affect county borders, it violated the state constitution. Skoufis disputed those claims, saying that because the new legislation involved only county planning departments and only gives them the ability to issue recommendations it is in compliance with the state consitution.
In a Facebook post written after his bill passed the Assembly, Skoufis vowed to continue fighting the proposed annexation for as long as he remains in office.
“This issue has not gone away and, as long as I’m a state representative, my bill will not go away, no matter how much special interests may want it to,” wrote Skoufis.
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