An unidentified man looks up the annexation map before the hearing on June 10, 2015
An unidentified man looks up the annexation map before the hearing on June 10, 2015


Albany, NY – A pair of bills that would have hampered and possibly derailed the proposed Kiryas Joel annexation has been vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

The veto of assembly bill, A7629, sponsored by Assemblyman James Skoufis, and a matching Senate bill, S5603, sponsored by Senator Bill Larkin, potentially sets the stage for the proposed Kiryas Joel expansion, if it is approved by a majority of both the Kiryas Joel and Town of Monroe boards.

A veto bill signed by the governor said that the proposed bills breached state law, by giving counties control over annexations that would not affect their own boundaries, in violation of Article IX of the New York State constitution.

“Governor Cuomo came through for the rule of law,” Ari Felberman, government relations coordinator for the Village of Kiryas Joel, told VIN News.  “For over 200 years, the same rules have applied to everybody in the United States and suddenly, when land owners want to do something with their own land, people tried to change laws that have been good for hundreds of years with a law that was tailored to block Kiryas Joel.”

“This hopefully sends a message to those who want to keep a particular group out,” added Assemblyman Dov Hikind. “This is America and you just can’t do that.”

Skoufis expressed his disappointment on his Facebook page, accusing Cuomo of “playing politics.”

“This bipartisan legislation would have provided significantly increased scrutiny of the current Kiryas Joel-initiated bids as well as future controversial annexation proposals throughout the state,” wrote Skoufis. “While ignoring the voices of thousands of residents from every municipality in Orange County, the governor rejected broadly supported legislation and chose not to correct serious and legitimate inadequacies in the current annexation law.”

United Monroe, which strongly opposed the annexation, blasted the governor for caving into pressure from Kiryas Joel on its Facebook page.

“We just received news that Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed both annexation bills. Despite both the Assembly and Senate votes overwhelmingly in favor of these two environmental oversight bills, our State Governor bowed to a special interest and, at the final hour, vetoed these bills. We will continue to make our voices heard and remember, the Town Board of Monroe deserves our pressure, our presence and our vocal opposition to these illegal land grabs. The vote rests with our Town Board. The fact that Cuomo waited until amost 11pm to make this decision is insulting and offensive. Shame on you, Andy Cuomo.”

As reported by Vos Iz Neias