Village of Monroe Trustee Q&A

Monroe. Four candidates – Debra Behringer, Irene Conklin, John Karl III and Lorraine Loening - want your vote for two seats on the Monroe Village Board. What follows are the cases they make for your support.

| 12 Mar 2020 | 12:09

In the Village of Monroe, four candidates seek two seats on the Village Board in the election next Wednesday, March 18.

The Photo News posed three questions to the candidates to allow them to outline what’s important to them as public officials, to discuss their role within the community and to point out what they believe are important issues for the Village of Monroe and its residents.

Here are their answers (candidates are listed in alphabetical order):

Debbie Sommerlad Behringer

My name is Debbie Sommerlad Behringer and I am seeking re-election for a second term to the Village of Monroe Board of Trustees. I have been a Reading Specialist in the Pine Bush School District for 13 years after receiving my Masters Degree in Literacy from Long Island University.

Growing up in Monroe gave me many fond memories which is why my husband, John, and I are so proud to raise our four children here. All of my children attend MW schools. Kerry is a Senior, Jack is a Freshman, Ryan is a 7th grader and Colleen is a 3rd grader. I am very involved with my children's activities which include,Pop Warner football, MW United Soccer, CYO basketball, lacrosse, dance and scouts. I am also a member of Sacred Heart Church. The sense of community in the village is second to none and I would be proud to serve the residents of our Village for another term.

I have been a trustee for the past four years and believe I can continue to make a positive change. I have never considered myself a politician, rather a concerned resident. I have always loved living here and want my children to feel Monroe is a place to raise their own families. Some of my accomplishments include annexing property to maintain green space and parkland in the village. While on the board, I helped pass the Peddling and Soliciting law that requires peddlers and solicitors to receive a permit from the Village of Monroe to solicit residents at their homes. Residents are able to opt out of allowing peddlers and solicitors from soliciting their home. We also introduced The Property Maintenance Law and Introduced Floor Area Ratio ( FAR) Law to maintain the character of Village by capping the square footage of a home based on property lot size. Along with my board we have adopted two consecutive fiscally responsible budgets that fell at or below the New York State mandated tax cap.

The Village of Monroe is in a transitional stage. Having dedicated and trustworthy public servants at the helm making educated decisions that will affect the future of Monroe is of utmost importance. One of the biggest concerns from residents is keeping the integrity of the Village in place while allowing for continued growth. Our planning board currently has several proposed projects in front of them and with a responsible board gearing laws toward the safety of residents this is all possible without losing the aesthetic we know and love. I will continue the 2 year quest of working toward property maintenance laws and their enforcement as well as working toward a floor area ratio suitable to homes in the Village. I will continue to listen to neighbors as was the case when it was brought to our attention that VRBOs were being operated in our neighborhoods. I plan to make sure the village enforces more strict property maintenance laws and to ensure the quality of life for our residents.

Irene Conklin

My name is Irene Conklin I am a lifelong resident in the village of Monroe. I have been married to my husband Dave for 31 years and we have raised our three children in this amazing community. I have been a bus driver for Monroe-Woodbury for 20 years and the president of M-W CSEA for 12.

I am seeking re- election so I our board and I can continue to work on the ever changing traffic issues and find a long term solution. To continue to preserve our municipal resources such as water and sewer. To find a balance between green space and smart growth that would add value to our village. To continue to renew old infrastructure without interruption to everyday life.

Lastly, I believe maintaining a healthy quality of life is crucial for our families. We have a true gem in Monroe and it is the Village. We have an amazing park and ponds. The board has been negotiating the dredging of the millponds to allow for better flow and oxygenation.We need to add purpose to crane park for our children things like bike rentals, artificial ice and a splash pad, out door plays and picnics. We will introduce a way to deal with the over populated geese. I want our families to enjoy our great outdoors.

It would be an honor to continue my service with this board for all of you.

John Karl III

I'm a lifelong resident, married with six grandchildren and active in the Monroe Fire Department 42 years, Past Fire Chief, Former Mayor and Trustee, member of Middletown Elks and active within the community. Retired DPW Superintendent, State certified/licensed Water Treatment Operator doing consultant work, Past Chairman Hudson Valley Waterworks Conference and active in New York Rural Water Association.

I will bring about Full Transparency to the board; I attend all meetings and see items that have been brought up at meetings end and voted on without being placed on the posted agenda for public review prior to meeting. We need Real Fiscal Accountability. Elected officials need to be held to a higher standard which includes paying your property taxes on time and attending board meetings you were elected to do.

OCSD #1 expansion will cripple the taxpayer. We need a voice to protect and have fair and equitable solutions for communities that overload the sewer plant, I will be that voice. Dredge Millponds using in-house and inter-municipal assistance. Water transmission line replacement which hasn’t been resolved. Senior housing is desperately needed. Update Property Maintenance Laws and stop talking about it. Enforce unwanted garbage/debris littering through-out the village including village owned properties. Sterile carp in reservoir to naturally removed weeds and water chestnuts. I fully support the YMCA and its expansion. Enforce local laws we have to make for a better Village. Work with our employees as they are a vital asset in making our government work for its residents.

Lorraine Loening

I came to Monroe about 28 years ago, from Queens, with my husband, we have two sons, 18 and 24. I am employed by the M-W School District and work in the Middle School. One of my passions is gardening, specifically native species.

I am running for village trustee because I am staying in this community. I have no plans to leave in the foreseeable future and want to have a voice in the direction the village travels. I frequently attend board meetings, town, village, school, planning, etc. I am informed about what the various governments are doing and believe that a trustee needs to have that knowledge in order to properly lead.

There are several issues that need to be on the front burner for the board. Sewer and water are two of them. The sewer district is racing towards capacity and I want to make sure that developers who are lining their pockets contribute to the eventual expansion or rebuilding of the sewer plant. This is not solely a village issue, but rather a regional issue and we will need to have a consistent message to the county and neighboring governments that these costs should not be borne by the existing residents alone. Water use will need to be studied so that we do not over commit our resources to new development.

Where and when to vote
The Village of Monroe will be holding it's General Election on Wednesday, March 18, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the Village Hall Boardroom located at 7 Stage Road, Monroe.
The questions
Tell people about yourself.
Why are you running for office?
What is the most important issue your community will face in the next year and what do you believe you can do about it?