Town of Monroe Supervisor Anthony Cardone generously distributes credit for what he regards as the positive state of the Town. In his report at the early January 2022 reorganization meeting, Mr. Cardone announced a town surplus for fiscal year 2021 at $200-250,000. He credits the 50 town workers and department heads for conserving resources. The Town has attained an AA bond rating and maintains a healthy rainy-day fund in case of future downturns or need.
When asked his priorities for 2022, Cardone was succinct: “Obviously, providing quality service for Town residents with fiscal responsibility.”
He elaborated that upgrading an aging infrastructure is critical for Town residents. He noted that the Town has spent much time and effort trying to ensure the restoration of its infrastructure, particularly its water districts. The Town received a $900,000 competitive grant to upgrade Water District 12 [School Road] and has installed new mains, a new pump station and meters. He complimented the sole Democrat on the Town Board, Mary Bingham, for her hard work on the water districts. It is expected that this effort will continue in 2022.
The Town of Monroe does not have its own police department; rather, it relies for Town-wide policing on the New York State Police which operates a barracks from property it rents from the Town at 369 Nininger Road. When asked how the Town pulled off such a racket, Cardone acknowledged state police don’t pay a very high rent. Still, he noted that Town residents seemed pleased with the level of policing.
Cardone noted increased harmony with the Town of Palm Tree, explaining that the conflicts that spawned United Monroe had waned and been replaced by a more cooperative relationship between the two municipalities. Cardone explained that some town residents on Old Country Road suffered severe water shortages as a result of Kiryas Joel water expansion, but that this had been resolved when the Village agreed to supply sufficient water to these homeowners.
Cardone praised newly elected Town Clerk Valerie Bitzer for already moving to expand the duration of handicapped parking passes to five years and for bringing great energy to her job. He also welcomed newly elected councilwoman Dorey Houle and lauded her record of active community involvement. Ms. Houle has been active in teaching sign language at the Monroe Free Library and in a myriad of other publicly centered activities.
Both Cardone and Morris spoke about town government in an age of increasing political polarization. Cardone ran on a multi-party slate the first two times he sought elective office and stressed the bi-partisan nature of the Town government. Morris explained that she provides services to residents regardless of political affiliation and emphasized how much good local government can do for Town residents. She praised all of the councilmembers, regardless of party affiliation, for working in the best interests of the town.
“I can go to any one of them, and they are there to help solve problems,” she said.
She praised Cardone for being highly approachable – he answers his own phone – and noted how Cardone’s secretary, Jennifer Schnaars, is excellent at following up and ensuring that constituent needs are raised and resolved.
Recreation for all ages is Monroe priority
Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone lauded Ann Marie Morris, who has run the Town’s parks and senior center for more than two decades. Calling her one of the state’s top managers in her field, he praised her commitment to the Town’s seniors during COVID, noting that she went well beyond her job description and made outreach to seniors a major priority.
For her part, Ms. Morris explained that she had lists of the seniors who participated in activities at the Town’s senior center, which she manages. She recalled calling “from A-Z in one week” and checking in with seniors to determine what assistance each needed and then providing that assistance. She also recalled answering the county’s call for seniors in need of vaccinations early in 2021 and directing so many seniors to the new county vaccine site on Matthews Street in Goshen that she was told to desist from sending more.
Cardone noted that the Town has two senior citizen clubs, Jolly Seniors and Young at Heart, and that both make use of the senior center at no charge to the clubs or their members. Residents of the Town are welcome to join these clubs, and Cardone did not believe either has a waiting list.
Morris explained that the larger club, Jolly Seniors, which numbers about 100 members, has not resumed meeting again because doing so might imperil public health. The smaller club, Young at Heart, has started its activities, and the senior center offers Bingo on alternate Wednesdays.
Cardone agreed on the importance of providing recreational opportunities. The Town is currently planning to expand recreational opportunities by creating two pickle board courts at Mombasha Park and by erecting a new playground nearer the soccer field at the same park.
Morris explained that the current playground is smaller and outside of the site line of parents watching their children play soccer. A new, larger playground can be built nearer the soccer fields to allow parents to feel more secure in allowing their younger children to play.
Both Cardone and Morris spoke enthusiastically about new plans to increase public access to Faber Farm, another town park on Berry Road. Proximate to Mombasha Park and Lake, this lovely site has been used by local Boy Scout troops and members of the public. However, a small grant has been obtained to study upgrading access and uses for the park. Both passive and more active recreation will likely be encouraged.
. The Town also has plans for some exciting events in 2022. On February 29, a Monday, starting at 5 pm, the Town will host a community evening to orient new residents to the geography of the Town and to instill a better understanding of the various governmental units which comprise the Town. Cardone emphasized that people attending would leave better educated about the Town than when they came and also promised voter registration cards for all attendees.
Morris spoke enthusiastically about the bi-annual Town’s Food Truck Festival planned for O & R Park on June 18 and October 15. Featuring about 20 vendors both from the local area and beyond, as well as a beer garden, Food Truck Festival has accommodated as many as 5000 patrons. Proceeds are directed to a worthy organization, like local first responders or, for this June’s event, the local Boy Scout Troop 440.
Morris praised the troop and its members for making many contributions to the Town, including a nearly completed dog walk at the Monroe Animal Shelter.