It's high time for a United Monroe update.

First, we are thrilled to announce that United Monroe enthusiastically endorses Tony Cardone for Monroe Town Supervisor, and Mary Bingham for Town Council.

Tony Cardone have proven his leadership ability during the last eighteen months as a Town Councilman having reduced costs and hired a competent planner to update the Comprehensive plan and zoning in Monroe, among many other achievements.

Mary Bingham is a longtime resident of Monroe, and has served our community for years as a member of both the Conservation Commission and as the chair of the Town Planning Board. Mary is extremely knowledgeable, and will be an asset to our town government.

You have surely heard an earful about the possibility of Kiryas Joel separating into their own town. Kiryas Joel is seeking a separation because their 507-acre annexation attempt has been held up in court for the past four years. Due to the activism of United Monroe and the litigation of Preserve Hudson Valley, we now have the leverage to negotiate a separation.

Last fall, Kiryas Joel filed a petition to separate taking 382 acres of Monroe land with them. While we agree with the notion of separation, 382 acres is too high a price to pay for our political freedom.

United Monroe stepped in and is now negotiating for less acreage in exchange for KJ's separation.

You may have heard fear mongering falsehoods spread by your controversial town supervisor, Harley Doles. Please know the volunteer activist leaders of United Monroe are working diligently on a separation agreement which the people of Monroe will benefit from. Having the Kiryas Joel government removed from our Town Board elections is a goal worth working toward.

You will hear nonsense and propaganda from Harley Doles and his few employees in the coming weeks and months. Think about it: What will happen if Kiryas Joel separates into their own Town and no longer votes in Monroe? Who would be left in the Town of Monroe to vote for Harley Doles? No one.

That's why he and his friends are writing weekly letters to The Photo News to convince you that a KJ separation is bad. Your current Town Supervisor, Harley Doles, received more than 98 percent of his votes from Kiryas Joel in his last election. He is the reason we are fighting annexation in the first place. Had he and his fellow board members voted "no" on annexation, we would not be in litigation right now.

Our goals in this negotiation are simple. We want political freedom and the knowledge that we can control our own destiny with regards to zoning and planning in Monroe. We want to secure the Monroe-Woodbury School District for years to come.

United Monroe volunteer leaders Mike Egan, John Allegro and myself have been working non-stop to negotiate a settlement. None of us want to fight forever. We want to control our own destiny and we want a level playing field for whatever is thrown at us in the future.

We have no guarantee that an agreement will be reached, but we have hope. And we appreciate your continued support.

All details will be divulged once the terms are agreed upon. The next step after terms are agreed is for the County Legislature to allow or disallow the KJ separation petition to move to a vote in Monroe. If the Legislature votes "yes" to allow the separation to be voted on, you, the Monroe voter will have the opportunity to make an educated vote this November on whether or not to allow Kiryas Joel to become their own town.

Again, we cannot guarantee an agreement will be reached, but we certainly understand the benefits of making a real effort here.

Thank you for your continued support and activism.

With gratitude,

Emily Convers

Chairwoman, United Monroe