Promise Made, Promise Kept - Thank You To Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther For Recent Aid Concluding Jefferson Street Renovations

A big "Thank You" to our Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for coming through with her promise to assist the Village of Monticello in covering the final outstanding balance on the Jefferson Street Gateway project. The NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) previously provided our Village $477,995.00 to fund the project for bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path transportation enhancement to encourage tourism and economic development opportunities. The work also repaired longstanding drainage problems in the area.

However, this large State grant we received from the DOT left the Village a quarter-million dollars in the hole for the project.

Recently, the long-promised portion has come in the form of $250,000.00 State grant of public funds originating fomr the office of Ms. Gunther, awarded to our Village through a Golden Feather Award given at Bethel Woods, fulfilling a promise reported by the Village Manager to the the Board of Trustees, included in the minutes of June 21, 2016:

Manager’s Report
Per Mr. Sager, * * *

The Jefferson Street Project is ready to be awarded. I spoke with Assembly Woman, Eileen [sic]
Gunther, regarding the other $250,000.00 that was needed to fund the project and although
it’s unofficial, she has promised to fund the balance of the project. So, I would ask that the
Board award the project to the lowest bidder, Sun Up Enterprises Inc.

Relying on this necessary assurance, the Board of Trustees voted to award the final bid on the project. It is extremely pleasing that this alotment of State funds came through when it did, since contractors have done the work and have been asking for payment.

As we saw during a recent heavy downpour of rain, some flood-control measures on Jefferson Street have yet to be completed.

This piece of state funding is particularly gratifying to me, as I attended the initial training session for the Transportation Enhance Program (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. Then deputy clerk Stacy Walker joined me for the day-long training event. At that time, community planner Helen Valenti Budrock of Sullivan Renaissance also worked with us to save the Village of Monticello roughly $20,000.00 for completion of the initial grant application.

It is fitting that Sullivan Renaissance was able able to serve as a pass-through channel, and also benefit from the public relations, as our community receives this final piece of funding to allow us to pay the remaining outstanding bills due on the Jefferson Street TEP project. So, THANK YOU to all who made this TEP grant, as well as the remaining funds that our Village was promised, for recently completed infrastructural improvements.

This recent award is the most recent of many State and Federal our Village has received in recent memory. Other major grants have included:

  • $1,250,000.00 grant from USDA for Water Project received 2015; application commenced 2011, now in progress.
  • $15,000,000 Broadway project construction 2008 to 2011.
  • $11,947,000.00 grant from USDA for Sewer Project received in 2014, application commenced 2009; increased in 2014 by $4,000,000 for a project total on (Grants and loans) of $21,500,000.00, now in progress.
  • $330,000.00 grant: NYS DOT for walkable sidewalks on Route 42 South;
  • $1,700,000.00 RESTORE-NY grant for Entertainment Village on Broadway, still in progress.

As a member of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees since 2008, I am pleased to have been able to work together with others in our municipality (board members, community volunteers, and public employees who work under board direction), often with cooperative support and direct assistance from the Town of Thompson and County of Sullivan, as well as from officials in Albany (Ms. Gunther and our Senator, John J. Bonacic) and in Washington, to help us bring together these and other resources for the good of our local community. These are taxpayer funds.

Elected and appointed officials are accountable to the public to assure that public monies are properly used. We must tighten our belts, recognizing that every municipal expenditure represents a personal financial sacrifice by individual homeowners and other taxpayers, and not raise taxes.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Thompson Councilman John Pavese, Sr. at Monticello's

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