Monroe takes county chair

QUEENSBURY The Warren County Board of Supervisors met for the first time this year with several new faces and a new chairman. Kathy Simmes now represents Bolton, Sterling Goodspeed is the new Johnsburg supervisor and the full board unanimously elected Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe as its new chairman. Just before the swearing in ceremony for Monroe, County Judge John Hall remembered his early days as an attorney. Fred became my mentor, and always had a straight answer, Hall said. He remembered a group of people who were opposed to the Glens Falls Civic Center that came to Hall to represent them. I went to Fred and said Id like to be able to see the Beach Boys in Glens Falls, Hall said. Fred said it was our duty to represent the interest of our clients. He also said the civic center would be a boondogle for the taxpayers for 20 years. Well, he was wrong, its been a boondogle for 30 years. He called Monroe a brilliant attorney and said he will be a brilliant chairman. He did, however, caution that Monroe was also cheap, and they would have difficulty spending money with him at the helm. I like to think Im fiscally conservative, not cheap, Monroe said later with a laugh. He outlined his priorities for the coming year, and asked the board to pass his proposed streamlined committee system. The board has had over 40 committees in the past, but a committee had worked to cut and consolidate that list down to just 22, which the board passed. Monroe said the board needed to be diligent in its efforts to end the states unfunded mandates. We need to control expenses and commit ourselves to rebuilding a surplus,he said. He also looked forward to breaking ground on the new social services building this summer, which will be on the county building campus, ending the need for rent and increasing interaction among departments. We need to move forward on the Gaslight Village property, Monroe said. That project will help to protect the lake and provide the space we need there for parking and other activities. He said the board also needs to study proposals on broadband internet service for the entire county, to keep everyone competitive in the age of information. Affordable housing is another issue facing the county, with a large and growing gap between the prices of homes and the means of county residents, according to Monroe.

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