Residents, officials discuss who will lead environmental study over Kiryas Joel land deal

Residents met to discuss who will be in charge of an environmental study of the land up for grabs. While the town wants the state attorney general to supervise, the school district wants to be the lead agency. (2/10/14)

MONROE - The Town of Monroe held its first public forum of the year Monday night regarding the annexation of 507 acres to Kiryas Joel, an ultra-Orthodox Hassidic community.

Residents met to discuss who will be in charge of an environmental study of the land up for grabs. While the town wants the state attorney general to supervise, the school district wants to be the lead agency.

"To now provide all these services to a large influx of residents will definitely put a strain on the finances of the school district," said Edward Mehrhof, of Monroe-Woodbury schools.

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Orange County Legislator Mike Agagnostakis argued annexing the land to the densely populated Hassidic community would be a financial drain on the county.

"The population is going to skyrocket,” said Agagnostakis. “It's going to be trouble for everyone's taxes in Orange County."

The Department of Environmental Conservation will make the decision as to which agency will supervise the environmental study. That decision should come about within the next 30 days.

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