MONROE - Dozens of residents turned out once again last night in Monroe to protest the acquisition of land for the village of Kiryas Joel.

Protesters turned out to a town board meeting to protest a land deal they say could rob them of several hundred acres of land. At issue is an attempt on the part of the rapidly expanding community of Kiryas Joel to annex 507 acres of land currently owned by the town of Monroe.

Monroe residents say the current town board is trying to ram the deal through over the objections of most of their constituents. "The Village [of] Kiryas Joel is sucking the county bone dry. Bone dry as far as Medicaid, housing, food stamps, public assistance, it's going through the roof," says Donna McGoldrick. "The good people of Monroe who are opposed to this annexation because of the destruction of character of the community are being painted by this town board and by the leadership of Kiryas Joel as anti-Semites and as bigots," adds John Allegro.

The problem, says Monroe Village Mayor James Purcell, is that Kiryas Joel has run out of space and the land deal would allow them to double land. "They got about 20,000 people now they're going to double to 40,000," says Purcell.

By the end of the month, the land deal plan will go before state environmental officials will determine whether the annexation is feasible.