Meet the Village of Monroe mayoral candidates

| 15 Mar 2018 | 03:49

MONROE — Village of Monroe elections are March 20 and for the first time in a long time, three candidates are running for mayor.
Village Trustee Neil Dwyer, John Karl, who served as mayor from 2006 to 2010, and incumbent Mayor James Purcell are the candidates.
Dwyer is running on the Smart Party ticket with Carey Alley and Dorey Houle, who are running for trustee positions.
Purcell is aligned with trustee Wayne Chan, who is also running for re-election
The Photo News asked them to respond to four questions of interest to village voters as election day nears. The questions, and their responses - provided in alphabetical order - are follow.
- Nancy Kriz

1. What is your plan for revitalizing the village's downtown and how can you ensure your plan will work?
Dwyer: We need to address the consumer’s needs and desires, soliciting and supporting businesses for our downtown. A team of residents with new ideas will be organized with specific goals to seek investment in our downtown and formulate an action plan to achieve this. Assessing existing architecture, working with property owners and businesses tasked with creating a cohesive aesthetic balance is necessary to reflect a complementing style for our downtown. Our parking lots and accessibility must be inviting. A flow of foot traffic must have a path into the downtown, well-lit with streetscape elements, cool textures on vertical spaces and pavement that is clean and walkable.
Karl: The village can do so much on infrastructure improvements, but the building owners need to work to make their buildings and apartments above the store fronts more attractable to prospective tenants who may want to open a business along downtown. We are a large village and it’s more than the downtown area. I would work to dredge the Millponds to make them attractive year-round and work to reduce odors from vent pipes along Millpond Parkway and Airplane Park. I support working with our Chamber of Commerce to bring businesses into the village.
Purcell: My plan for revitalization of the downtown has already begun. We adopted a Comprehensive Plan which has not been adjusted since 1960. This plan was designed by the people, for the people.
Phase I has been completed at the intersection of Millpond Parkway and Lake Street. Also, holiday decoration and holiday lighting have been installed throughout the village.
Phase II is the reconstruction of Lake Street and Stage Road. This intersection will begin late 2018. This project will be paid for by a grant I obtained in 2017. Architectural renderings of all building designs, streetscapes and lighting design can be viewed at the village website under the "downtown revitalization" graphic link.
The creation of concerts, carnivals, farmer's markets and other events are also bringing a new vibe and awareness to the downtown. When I became mayor there were 12 empty storefronts, we are now down to four. This is proof the revitalization plan is working. To ensure this plan works we need to follow through on our commitment of the approved downtown plan.
2. Excluding the downtown's revitalization, what are the top three issues affecting the Village of Monroe and why should voters care?
Dwyer: A complete review of our water infrastructure allowing for necessary planning, to be implemented on a scheduled basis. Our current roads, sidewalks and storm-water management all have a shelf life. We must assess and develop scheduled maintenance plans. Our Comprehensive Plan review and zoning review will allow for implementation through laws and strict enforcement. We are committed to re-establishing the Architectural Appearance Review Board, vital to the integrity, aesthetics and compliance of projects within the village, and the preservation of historical properties. Our trustees, citizens and consultants will work to adopt a code of standards.
Karl: No additional affordable senior housing has been proposed in many years and we need to find a common ground to work with developers and secure property to make this happen. Many lifetime and longtime seniors are forced to leave because of this. Second: Main water transmission lines from the village reservoir to its filter plant has one line shut off because of a leak and others may be leaking. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately before we have a catastrophic emergency.
Third: Better management of budget and staying within the 2 percent tax cap.
Purcell: Water, road and sidewalk infrastructure; Completed Phase I of water system re-build. Phase II plan is completed and will start 2018-2019. This work is important due to an aging system.
Zoning, Building Codes and Enforcement; With the changing atmosphere in the village, we must be diligent in updating our zoning and building codes with strong enforcement.
Orange County Sewer District #1. We need to create a governing body of all municipalities in OCSD #1 to ensure a voice on how the sewer district is managed. This is essential because OCSD #1 will control growth in southeast Orange County. I will remain fiscally responsible so we can continue to enjoy of quality of life.
3. How will recent voter approval about the creation of the new Town of Palm Tree affect village residents?
Dwyer: Village residents voted overwhelmingly to allow Kiryas Joel’s petition to separate from the Town of Monroe. This will allow both communities to develop zoning that will reflect concerns for each respectively. Village residents currently pay a town tax and it will be adjusted to reflect this separation.
Karl: The new Town of Palm Tree is a great concern of mine. Many unanswered questions set up a red flag to me and it should have for everyone. Many homes in desirable neighborhoods are becoming rentals. Over populated and unkept properties are ruining quality of life for village residents. The tax impact will a major concern going forward for all of what is left of Monroe.
Purcell: The approval of the Town of Palm Tree will have a financial impact to the village. With the loss of revenue to the Town of Monroe, the Village of Monroe taxpayers will have to make up some of the difference. Estimated costs will be roughly $400 a year tax increase to be paid to the Town of Monroe. The Village of Monroe will lose $30,000 in mortgage tax.
4. To those who don't know you, why should they vote for you?
Dwyer: I was elected in 2014 to serve the residents as their trustee, working diligently, always doing the “people’s” business in front of the people. I have worked putting energy into many efforts, including the school zones and beacons on North Main Street and planning the Pine Tree Road project, advocating for the planning and design modifications to our sidewalk and curb replacement program. I am the liaison to the Monroe Police Department, working closely with them on a daily basis. I have worked to procure an energy audit for the police department, which resulted in significant monthly savings for the village. Meeting residents and listening to their concerns is paramount for me. I love my village, am always looking for ways to find solutions for the betterment of our community.
I will, with my team and your support, continue to strive for excellence with every effort on behalf of the residents here in our Village. Please look us up on Facebook: Village of Monroe Smart Growth Party.
Karl: I have over 37 years of village government experience and as mayor from 2006-2010 all my goals were met, including bringing back a village court system and removal of health insurance for elected officials. Also, I was involved in the formation of the fire district to better and fairly tax for fire protection. I have been involved in the Monroe Fire Department for 40 years and continue to contribute. If elected mayor, I will hit the ground running on day one, you can rest assured. I have been actively attending board meetings for many years and know the issues and feel confident with your vote I will serve you proudly. I am retired and will be available day or night, which gives me an advantage over my opponents.
Purcell: In voting for me, James C. Purcell, you will get leadership from a person who is self-financed and not beholden to any one group or individual. I will continue to listen, make decisions which benefit all, and treat people equal under the rule of law. This is true democracy.