Four candidates are running for two seats on the Monroe Village Board
MONROE — Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Monroe Village Board in the election scheduled for Tuesday, March 20:
• Carey Alley;
• Wayne Chan, the incumbent trustee who is aligned with Mayor Jim Purcell;
• Elizabeth Doherty, former village deputy clerk and deputy treasurer; and
• Dorey Houle.
Alley and Houle are members of the newly formed Smart Growth Party, and are aligned with mayoral candidate Neil Dwyer, who is currently a village trustee.
Similar to the mayoral candidates, The Photo News asked them to respond to three questions of interest to village voters as the March 20 election nears. The questions, and their responses - provided in alphabetical order - are below:
1. What is your plan for revitalizing the village’s downtown area and how can you ensure your plan will work?
Alley: A team of liaisons will be established to bridge the government and small business sector. An expanded offering of community events will be integrated into the plan with village businesses given first priority to showcase their offerings. In order to encourage business owners to invest their time here, it is imperative that these simple measures be put into place as a base to build upon. Business owners need to hear that we are listening to their needs and will assist them in any way to ensure their success. A solid support system would develop relationships between the businesses and government and encourage the growth needed. From there, our sense of community strengthens and gains momentum for future goals.
Chan: Revitalizing is cooperative effort between the Chamber of Commerce, the community, and village boards. The original plan was to do the entire downtown at once, a survey of the community showed a concern for the financial impact. The downtown is being done in phases to lessen the finical impact as we get grants. The intersection at Millpond Parkway was first. Having a revised comprehensive plan in place was key to getting grants for the second intersection. The downtown has been enhanced with lighting of trees and a gazebo. I, along with Mayor Purcell, and the past board, increased foot traffic in the area with events (concerts, carnival, etc.) This allows people to familiarize themselves with the area.
Doherty: For a downtown to be successful it must attract visitors and the residents should hang out there. Ask yourself the question: Are we hanging out there? In order for the downtown to grow, we need enough going on that we, ourselves, will spend time there. I will start by turning the downtown into a center for many activities. Street fairs, markets, and community activities will be a good start. The mayor and the trustees need to be front and center in order for this to be successful. We need to come together as a community to bring the downtown back to life.
Houle: The downtown revitalization will be a cooperative effort including residents and business owners throughout the village who will develop an action plan that will focus on architecture, infrastructure and the marketing of our business community. The success will be ensured by consistently revising and applying best practice models geared toward a thriving business environment
2. Excluding the downtown’s revitalization, what are the top three issues affecting the Village of Monroe, why should voters care and how will you successfully address them?
Alley: The top three issues are the aging infrastructure, the village zoning and the review of our Comprehensive Plan. The age and deterioration of our village water lines were made apparent to all this winter. The village requires immediate assistance from a team of consultants and engineers to help determine the extent of required repairs and upgrades along with realistic proposals. Given these recommendations, we will be able to establish a timeline and budget for the most pressing issues while planning for future repairs and upgrades.
Our village zoning is of utmost importance as careful attention must be paid to any current and future projects. The review of the Comprehensive Plan must be done continuously. Prior to adoption in 2014, the village had not updated the Comprehensive Plan since 1960. With extensive and rapid changes, we must form a team who will help to preserve and protect the land.
Chan: Fiscal responsibility with maintaining the quality of services and infrastructure work: Continue applying for grants and shared municipal services to keep cost down. Good inter-municipal relations between local, county and state government.
Revised zoning laws and updated building codes: These are living documents which must be regularly reviewed and updated. Having a strong building department and judiciously enforcing our zoning and building codes is key.
Third, being a Monroe Ambulance EMT, the safety of our community and our children is paramount. Supporting the volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance and a highly trained police department that serve us is a priority.
Doherty: House prices, taxes and quality of living are the top three issues that affect our community. House prices are not moving upwards as they should in the current economy. Making the village a better place to live will provide the much needed push to improve the community which, in turn, will generate more revenue locally and increase home values.I have been involved with community activities for several years and I can take the push further. If we look at other communities in the Hudson Valley it’s inspiring how much they’ve grown over the last 20 years. We can do it too!
Houle: The three issues are the Comprehensive Plan, zoning and recreation for families, teens and young people. In 2014, the Village Board adopted the Comprehensive Plan which should now be preparing for a thorough assessment. A Comprehensive Plan Review Board must be established to evaluate the actions taken in response to recommendations made in the plan. Zoning will be an integral component in directing the future of the village. We need to provide for responsible development with a clear zoning code that will be strictly enforced, including harsher penalties for violations. All aspects of development must be addressed, including protection of environmentally sensitive areas. Finally, we need to do a better job of providing recreation for our residents. Based on the 2010 census data, children up to age 17 are among the largest cohorts; whereas, young people ages 18 to 24 are among the least popular. Our young people are leaving the village in search of better opportunities. We have the foundation on which to build opportunities for recreation we just need the vision to achieve
3. To those who don’t know you, why are you the best candidate for village board?
Alley: I am a lifelong resident and business owner here. I understand the needs of the community and have the leadership ability to bridge the two together. I, along with a strong team of like minded candidates, will accomplish the tasks before us.
Chan: Mayor Purcell and I are self-financed and seek no endorsements. Doing this eliminates one group swaying our decisions. I shall continue to make decisions based on facts, surveys and what is best for the community. I am beholden to no one. I want to continue to do this to give back to the community, which is why I did not take the pay raise. I consider myself an elected official, not a politician. A politician is someone who will say and do anything to get elected.
Doherty: I worked at Village Hall for almost seven years, first as deputy clerk and then as deputy treasurer, and I have been the secretary of the Zoning Board of Appeals since 2011. I founded the Activities Committee and organized many community events, including the Music by the Millponds summer concert series. I laid the groundwork for the summer carnival which started after I left the Activities Committee. My work experience makes me ideally suited to manage Village Hall and my volunteer experience is proof that I can come up with great ideas and successfully implement them.
Houle: As a full-time faculty member and director of an academic program, I served a community of 13,000 students. I developed peer-reviewed assessments and collaborated with department heads to gain re-accreditation from Middle States Association. I can see the potential of the Village of Monroe. Most importantly, I have the energy and vision to realize that potential. My experience, partnered with the talents of the Smart Growth Party candidates, make me the best candidate for Village Board.
- Nancy Kriz
The mayoral Q&A with Neil Dwyer, John Karl III and Jim Purcell will appear in the March 16th edition of The Photo News.