By Eugenia Moskowitz
Assemblyman James Skoufis was joined by state government academic Gerald Benjamin, noted attorneys, local officials, and environmental group representatives in front of his Chester office on Sept. 23 to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the re-introduced annexation oversight bill.
The bill was vetoed last year despite nearly 10,000 signatures of approval from the community. The bill seeks to allow counties to have a role in annexation processes, according to Skoufis. “I implore the Governor to reconsider last year’s veto and sign this important and common sense legislation into law,” he said.
The bill was sent to Cuomo on Sept. 20. He has until the end of the day on Oct. 1 to make his decision. If signed, it would take effect immediately, requiring county planning review and giving a wider group of municipalities a say in acts of regional significance, such as annexing hundreds of acres. It wouldn’t undo the prior Monroe Town Board decision in favor of the Kiryas Joel annexation proposal, but if the environmental review for the annexation is seen as inadequate and sent back to the Monroe Town Board, the bill would have an effect.
Last year, he vetoed it, late in the evening just before a weekend, on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional.” A few weeks later, $250,000 appeared in his coffers from special interest groups affiliated with Kiryas Joel, who benefited from the veto.
To read the full article see the Friday, Sept. 30 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.