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Monroe-Woodbury School District files for lead agency in KJ annexation review

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Albany/HV: Monroe-Woodbury School District files for lead agency in KJ annexation review
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The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District files paperwork with the state, asking the DEC to name them lead agency to review the annexation of the Village of Kiryas Joel. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Meredith Zaritheny has more.

MONROE, N.Y. -- "I think there is an enormous amount of concern and worry in our community of this annexation of this property into the Kiryas Joel Village," said Edward J. Mehrhof, Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Superintendent.

The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District submitted a letter to the DEC requesting they be made the lead agency, to review environmental implications of the proposed annexation.

"We believe we have a vested interest in being the lead agency because of the enormous financial, social and possibly political implications could exert on the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District," said Mehrhof.

The Village of Kiryas Joel wants to annex about 500 acres from the Town of Monroe into the village. The Town and the village are pushing for sharing lead agency for the environmental review in the annexation process. But ultimately, the State Environmental Conservation Commissioner will decide which group or groups are named lead agency.

"So that we have a fair and accurate record of how this will or will not reshape a particular area and the lives of the people involved," said Harley Doles, Town of Monroe supervisor.

Monroe-Woodbury's superintendent says the move will have a negative impact on the taxpayers and community. School leaders say if the annexation is approved, the district would lose more than a million dollars in tax revenue, and that loss of money would be shifted back to the taxpayers.

"What you would see is an increase taxes to make up for the lost $1.1 million in school taxes," said Mehrhof.

But, the Town of Monroe's supervisor says the cost is actually much less, there are only five students and their families that live in the area proposed to be annexed.

"That's approximately $400,000 plus the cost of busing, plus whatever additional costs there might be," said Mehrhof.

But the school district maintains they're the best suited to handle environmental review of this proposal.

"If they decide to do join agency will the Monroe-Woodbury School District we wish them well however that works out," said Doles.

"We are going to be objective and look out for the best interest of this community," said Mehrhof.

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