Palm Tree support was broad in KJ and outside it

The idea of separating a slightly enlarged Kiryas Joel from the Town of Monroe was nearly as popular in the Monroe areas outside the Hasidic village as it was inside it in Tuesday’s referendum.

Overall, the proposal to turn Kiryas Joel into the Town of Palm Tree passed with a resounding 83 percent of Monroe voters in support, a 8,656-1,749 tally. Inside Kiryas Joel, where the majority political faction directed its voters to support the proposal and the minority faction stayed neutral, the proportion was even higher: 87 percent. According to the village’s vote tally, there were 4,378 votes cast in support of Palm Tree and 624 votes against it in Kiryas Joel.

Subtracting those numbers from the townwide count leaves a 4,278-1,128 vote on Palm Tree in the Monroe areas outside Kiryas Joel, or a 79 percent approval rate.

The referendum passage means that Kiryas Joel – including 164 acres it annexed in 2015 with the Monroe Town Board’s approval – and 56 additional acres will be carved out of Monroe and incorporated as the new Town of Palm Tree, the first new town in New York in 35 years. It wouldn’t come into existence until 2020 under current state law, although Assemblyman James Skoufis of Woodbury plans to introduce a bill to speed up the effective date and secure additional state aid for Monroe-Woodbury School District to compensate for lost revenue.

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full
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