Statement By Monticello Village Trustee Carmen Rue On Site Selection Process For Sullivan County Homeless Shelter

I have reviewed the contract the Village of Monticello entered into with late County Treasurer Ira J. Cohen relative to the disposition of foreclosed properties and tax auctions.

It is my belief that by taking a property off the public auction list without consulting the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees, if in fact the contract was not violated by the County (which it may have been), that the County violated the spirit of our Agreement and broke trust by failing to consult with local elected officials, acting contrary to the best interest of the Village of Monticello.

As a member of the Board of Trustees, I urge the County of Sullivan to reconsider this poorly chosen site. The county is obligated to work together with other local governments in unity as a team. If they refuse to do so, I believe the Board of Trustees should consider amending or cancelling our contract with the County Treasurer's office to manage future tax sales.

The Village of Monticello Board of Trustees can and should work together with the County to identify a more appropriate site, including one or more viable sites within the Village of Monticello, to meet this important public need.

Why Does Jefferson Street Need Fixing? Project's Objectives, Per NYS DOT.

Since 2013, the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees has worked with the NYS Department of Transportation to repair and improve the Jefferson Street corridor, the entry to the Village near the racino. The following paragraphs from documents recently forwarded to the Village by DOT officials described the project.

Board of Trustees Finalizing 2015-2016 Budget, Public Hearings Slated, Projected Increase Beneath 2% State Tax Cap

I would like my constituents to be aware that for the last two months, together with other members of the Board of Trustees, Treasurer Lilu Li, and help from the Village Manager, I have been working on the Village of Monticello tentative budget.

As of now, the projected tax increase stands at 1.66% for fiscal year 2015-2016. Slight increases are also expected in the water and sewer fees as a result of planned infrastructure upgrades.

Required public hearings will be held on June 2nd and June 16th at 7:00 PM, 2 Pleasant Street, Monticello, New York, preceding the regular meetings of the Board of Trustees. By law, the Final Budget must be adopted by July 1, 2015.

More information will be posted here once the Clerk has certified the Tentative Budget after it has been approved by the Board of Trustees.

UPDATE (5/20/2015): Download 2015-2016 Village of Monticello Tentative Budget, prepared by Village Treasurer Lilu Li

Time To Make The Donuts! New Businesses Coming To Monticello's Jeffersonville Street Gateway

The project described in the following April 9 account in the Times Herald-Record illustrates the progress taking place on Jefferson Street accompanying planned renovations to the infrastructure there. This project has been in the planning stage with the Village Board of Trustees and Planning Board for several years which I am pleased to see coming to fruition.

Monticello getting new Dunkin' Donuts, boating store

MONTICELLO - A new Dunkin' Donuts franchise will soon replace the former Bean Bag eatery on Jefferson Street after the Town of Thompson land on which it sits was annexed into the village.

The Monticello Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted for the annexation following a joint meeting with the Town of Thompson. It was the last step before the Dunkin' Donuts project - headed by Monticello attorney Robert Gaiman - could move forward with construction.

"I think Dunkin' Donuts is good to go," said Monticello Village Manager David Sager.

Gaiman said during the meeting that the coffee shop will be similar to the one located along Route 42 in the town.
The board also approved the annexation of a parcel of land on Kaufman Road, near Monticello Casino and Raceway, that will be home to a new boating store owned by Rock Hill business owner Ron Resnick. According to village officials, the annexation was necessary for the store to get site plan approval at an April 24 village Planning Board meeting.

The annexation was meant to clean up the boundary lines of the properties since the majority of both were located in the village, according to Town of Thompson Supervisor Bill Rieber. Both parcels already use Monticello sewer and water.

“(The annexation) was meant simply to bring the rest of the parcel into the village as opposed to a case where we bring an entire separate parcel into the village,” Rieber said.

While the parcels were both less than a full acre, Sager says they will expand the village’s tax base. The town will continue to receive property tax revenue from the parcels since the village is part of the Town of Thompson.
Sager says the property assessment for both of the parcels - which he says “were in decay” - will rise after the projects are completed.

He added that the new Dunkin' Donuts and boat shop will make both properties "something the village can be proud of.”

Pettifogger Lawyer from Goshen Attacks the Credibility of The Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department


definition of pettifoggerMonticello has been through a long nightmare of misconduct scandals involving former Village elected officials and Village Mangers. As a representative of the people of Monticello, I hope the nightmare is nearing an end, and we may finally see peace and progress for our community. We can only hope and pray.

But in a press conference on April 3rd, Goshen lawyer Michael Sussman impugned my sworn testimony, which warrants a response.

In a proceeding initiated in the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, four local residents -- Elaine Williams, Adriana and Michael Greco, and Julian Dawson -- filed a petition for the removal of Gordon Jenkins from the Mayor's seat. I won't go into the merits of that petition here, except to point out that I was not a part of or a party to the removal Petition. I was called as a witness; one of several, but Sussman singled me out by name several times in a defamatory manner in his recent press conference. The reality is, I told the truth in court as best I could. When I could not recall a detail, I said so. In the end, the Court found my testimony credible. The Court did not find Sussman's position credible, which is why he lost.

The Appellate Division of the Third Judicial Department assigned the petition to a Referee for hearing. In my capacity as a Village Trustee, I was among several witnesses subpoenaed at that trial. My attendance was compelled by law, under penalty of arrest if I failed to appear and testify as ordered. Also subpoenaed and questioned were an Assistant District Attorney, two Village police officers, and a Village employee, as well as affidavits and other evidences. Following the hearing, the Referee issued a report recommending removal of Mayor Jenkins. The hearing lasted several days.

Among the objections on which Sussman now seeks to mount a dubious attack on the unanimous judgment of the Appellate Division is that Mr. Jenkins was then under felony criminal indictment for some of the matters addressed therein, and even as of now has not been convicted of that particular charge. However, rather than objecting at the hearing, Mr. Sussman consumed days of billable hours cross-examining me and other witnesses about this matter. Perhaps he now regrets taking part in that line of questioning.

Why wait until this late date to raise the issue that Mr. Jenkins is "only" facing felony charges, rather than objecting to the inclusion of that material at the time of the hearing before Judge Peckham on the grounds that he was not yet convicted? Perhaps Sussman's supreme confidence in his ability to have the petition dismissed explains why he did not think ahead. Sussman's unsupported and disrespectful suggestion that Mr. Jenkins can not now receive a fair trial in the Courtroom of the Hon. Frank LaBuda, Sullivan County Court, because of a line of questioning in which he he (Sussman) participated is an odd assertion.

In his media event held today, after losing at the Appellate Division, Sussman also attempted to question the legal standing of the four residents to file their Petition. Once again, why wait until months after the fact to object to the petitioners' standing, when the decision has been handed down and his case has been lost? Sussman, it seems, is more than a day late to make this claim, though doubtless thousands of dollars wealthier for his efforts.

This is sad. It is sad for Monticello, said for Mr. Jenkins and his partner whose finances are being drained by a fellow who apparently determined to be known as the epitome of pettifogger lawyer, who indeed seems to have long lost his moral compass along with any credibility he may once enjoyed as a media personality or lawyer prior to his decision to pursue his own regional political aspirations. (I resist the temptation to describe Sussman as a shyster, suspecting he is just enough of an opportunist to roll over and play victim about the questionable origins of this word. So I won't go there, merely out of respect for others who might take offense. Dishonest? Perhaps. Opportunist? Yes. Unethical? Absolutely. Shyster? I abstain.)

His argument that my testimony "lacked credibility" falls flat in the face of the Appellate Division's unanimous judgment against his weak presentation in court.

In contrast to Sussman, who is Mr. Jenkins' well-paid mouthpiece, my testimony was found to be credible by Hon. Eugene Peckham, who was appointed by the Appellate Court to hold the hearing, as well as by the unanimous decision of the Appellate panel.

Mr. Jenkins himself told me this week that he and his partner are on the verge of selling their Broadway clothing store to a Chinese investor. Could it be that their financial resources are being drained by Sussman's half-hearted and protracted defense efforts?

My hope is that a motion will be made for sanctions against both Sussman (See CPLR 130-1.1.) In fact, my hope is that Mr. Orseck, Esq. will immediately draft a letter, if he has not already done so, so that when Sussman files his promised Notice of Appeal, he can immediately (i.e., within moments of receiving the notice of appeal) served with a letter warning him of sanctions for frivolous motion practice, and imposing a deadline for withdrawing his notice of appeal by no later than the start time of this Tuesday's annual reorganizational meeting of the Board of Trustees.

In conclusion, if Sussman follows through with his stated plan of dragging this matter out further, which is likely to serve no one's interests but his own, I hope the Court of Appeals will move quickly to respond. With a unanimous panel at the Appellate Division having already spoken, Sussman's chances of getting heard by the NYS Court of Appeals seem slim. In the end, I trust, truth will prevail.

In my humble opinion, Sussman deserves to be held accountable for taking advantage of his client's well-known tenacity and emotionalism, and for continuing to abuse the community of Monticello with his self-serving agenda.

Improvements Coming To Jefferson Street "Gateway" To Monticello Starting 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Updates to this project have recently been announced. Any proposed changes or modifications considered by the Board of Trustees, with public input invited. (The following was originally posted here on 1/26/2014.)

New sidewalks, improved crossings, and wheelchair-accessible curb cuts will provide health and safety benefits for people who like to walk, those who don't have a car, and seniors and other nearby residents. The project will also fix a storm-water run-off problem that has existed for years at the corner of Jefferson Street and Sturgis Road.

Creating jobs and inviting economic development and tourism, there will be improvements to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the Jefferson Street gateway to Monticello by addition of green landscaped buffers, attractive pocket parks, and orderly pedestrian right-of-way delineation. The "new look" for Jefferson Street will complement recent enhancements on Broadway, Pleasant Street, and Forestburgh Road, seamlessly connecting to Exit 104 and 106 to State Route 17.

The NYS Department of Transportation will provide $477,995.00 to fund the project for bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path transportation enhancement to encourage tourism and economic development opportunities. Construction bids will be awarded between October and December 2014, with construction and final project inspection between April and December 2015.

DOT studies concluded that many drivers entering Monticello prefer the route to the Government Center and business district via the Pleasant Street corridor, rather than Jefferson Street, in part due to the condition of the roads and the lack of sidewalks and other amenities. Also, during storm events, minor flooding occurs and the inadequate drainage has compromised the integrity of the road surface in several areas and caused water pollution, most notably the intersection of Jefferson Street and Sturgis Road, which provides direct access to the Sullivan County Government Center and Shortline Bus Terminal.

The award of this grant is personally gratifying to me, as I attended a training session for the TEP program held by the DOT in Poughkeepsie on June 12, 2013. DOT required at least one "official" representative such as a Trustee, to demonstrate municipal commitment to the grant application. Deputy Clerk Stacy Walker joined me for the day-long training event. I also want to send a huge thanks to community planner Helen Valenti Budrock of Sullivan Renaissance whose worked with us to save the Village of Monticello roughly $20,000.00 in the completion of the formal grant application at no cost to the taxpayers.

TEP provides 80% of the cost of the project, with 20% matching funds from the locality. A reimbursement program, the Village will be required to have funds available for the entire project and submit paperwork by specified deadlines in order to secure reimbursements.

Jefferson Street Gateway Project map

See this press release on Governor Cuomo's website. Click the above image to download a PDF of the project description with letters of support from the following public officials and community organizations:

Link to Monticello Housing Authority Website

The Section 8 and Public Housing Authority offers programs and affordable housing to Village of Monticello residents, both at Evergreen Apartments and elsewhere. To find out of the waiting list is open or when it may open, please contact the Monticello Housing Authority directly.

Monticello Board of Trustees to Observe Black History Month by Recognizing Local Public Servants, Activists, and Volunteers

The Village of Monticello
Village events committee members
Trustee Carmen Rue
Trustee Larissa Bennett


For Immediate Release
Written: February 11, 2015

Five Sullivan residents to be recognized at Monticello board meeting

In recognition of Black History Month, five local residents will be presented certificates of recognition on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo and proclamations from Senator John Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Congressman Chris Gibson and the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees at the Tuesday, February 17th meeting village board, beginning at 7:00 PM at Monticello Village Hall, 2 Pleasant Street, Monticello.

Presentations will be made by Village events committee members Trustee Carmen Rue and Trustee Larissa Bennett and members of the Monticello Village Board to the following Sullivan County residents:

Sgt. Jason Corley and Det. Michael Davis of the Village of Monticello Police Department, community activists Elaine Williams, Janette Williams, and Debbie Allen, each of whom has made numerous vital contributions to the Monticello community, and are each worthy of this recognition.

The public is invited to attend. For further information, please call:

Trustee Carmen Rue at 845-323-9611 or
Trustee Larissa Bennett at 845-665-2287

Village of Monticello Re-Opens Warming Station At Stroebele Center In Response To Frigid Cold

photo of Ted Stroebele Community Center taken in summerAs in past years, the Village of Monticello has once again opened the doors of the Ted Stroebele Community Center to serve anyone in need as a warming station to provide overnight respite from frigid temperatures.

The Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless is currently working with Manager David Sager at the direction of the Board of Trustees. The Monticello Fire Department is providing cots. Local businesses have also made donations, resulting in no cost to the taxpayers.

During extreme temperatures, like in other natural or accidental disasters, the Village Manager is responsible to coordinate for the health and safety of residents.

Last summer, we opened the center to serve as a cooling station after the air-conditioner of a local complex failed, and after a large fire in Kiamesha Lake a year or two ago. In 2012 it served as a local alternative warming station at a time when Sullivan County was busing homeless to Loch Sheldrake for warmth and food provided by the American Red Cross, and again in 2013 (open for four nights, as I recall). This type of service is something local government here in Monticello has historically done for the needy.

It has rarely been big news, nor have there been a lot of people housed except during major shelter operations like the 1992 ice-storm or the Shaker Heights fire (when volunteers from the American Red Cross hosted large numbers at the Neighborhood Facility and high school).

Monticello is the county seat. We work together with other local jurisdictions and organizations in taking the lead for the public's good.

Anyone in need of assistance may call Mr. Sager at 845-701-3493. Spanish/English translation assistance is available.

Related Information

Computer Issue At Village Hall Slows Financial Business, Taxpayers Assured Proper Credit, Emergency Board Meeting Slated

The failure of a mother-board on the the main computer server at Village Hall has disrupted routine financial business since the end of January.

Taxpayers may be assured that as long as payments made prior to February 28th will incur no extra penalties or late fees. Make sure you get a receipt hand-stamped by the person who collects your payment at the window to ensure you are credited properly.

An emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees has been called by Trustee Carmen Rue to be held on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 8:00 AM, at 2 Pleasant Street, for the purpose of authorizing purchases in excess of $1,000.00, to comply with the Procurement Policy, and directing the Village Manger to immediately take necessary steps to repair the computer network. The meeting is expected to be brief, but is open to the public.

Press releases were forwarded to local media outlets on the afternoon of February 5.


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