Monday, August 19, 2016

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Monticello business leaders learn secret of Middletown’s rebirth

DeStefano (right): "... power of the bully pulpit"

MONTICELLO – The Village of Monticello is on the cusp of a potential rebirth with the Montreign casino and other significant projects underway.

Business leaders heard from Middletown’s top officials on Thursday during a forum in which they discussed their city’s redevelopment.

Monticello’s government structure includes a full-time village manager, who runs the day to day business and follows policy as set forth by the village board.

Middletown has no city manager or administrator and when Mayor Joseph DeStefano was asked what he suggests Monticello do, he told attendees to get rid of the village manager form of government.

“You need a strong mayor form of government,” DeStefano said. “The best thing that we ever did was we staggered our terms – the mayor and council president are four years; council members are two years. That puts a lot of pressure on them to either buy into your plan or to develop their own plan, and then I have to buy into their plan. I think that made for a good working relationship with the members of the board, that you have the power of the bully pulpit,”

Monticello Mayor Douglas Solomon said the strong mayor concept is interesting and would depend on what suits the community the best. “You would definitely have to have the right person for the job,” he said.

Both Middletown and Monticello have similar problems in attracting retail business to their downtown areas, DeStefano said.

The breakfast was hosted by Steve Kurlander of Kurlander Strategic Communications.

Broadway in Monticello. Still a lot of empty storefronts.



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