The Village of Monticello has reduced fines on businesses that sell spray paint or wide-tipped markers to minors.

The Village of Monticello has reduced fines on businesses that sell spray paint or wide-tipped markers to minors.

The new law also relaxes fines on businesses that fail to clean up vandalism within three days, and decreases the size of signs businesses have to place, notifying customers of the ban.

The village was reacting to a decision by the Town of Thompson Board last year, not to follow suit with the village. Village Mayor James Barnicle said it was necessary for the town to go along with such a law, in order to curb graffiti vandals in the village. The town thought the punishments were too severe on local businesses.

The new fines for noncompliance of the sign law will range from $25 to $250, down from $100 to $1,000. Those found responsible for spray-painting are liable for the cost of the cleanup, up to $2,500, along with facing criminal prosecution. Their family is liable for the punitive damages. Barnicle wanted to give absentee landlords up to 14 days to remove graffiti, but the board agreed to keep the limit at three days.

Monticello has hired a consulting firm in an effort to revitalize the village. The board agreed to work with Barton and Loguidice, which will be paid by the amount of the work they do, said Manager Ray Nargizian.

Among the issues the company will deal with are planning, engineering and securing grants. The village manager said the firm was needed to attract new businesses, fill up empty stores on Broadway and raise the level of economic development. The firm has offered to lead a revitalization committee to brainstorm ideas for community and economic development.

Company officials showed examples of their work in Ellenville and Mechanicville in Saratoga County, sprucing up main streets with new lighting, planting trees and other techniques. It has also helped negotiate host benefit fees for communities with Native American casinos.

Nargizian said he hopes the consultant work can be funded through grants. If not, the village has $40,000 budgeted for grant writing.

Tom Shepstone has notified the town that he no longer will work on retainer as the town planner. The Town Board recently stripped Shepstone of some of his most lucrative duties, including engineering reviews on major subdivisions — something he would do on behalf of the town, but get paid for by the developers. Several community groups, though, have been critical of him as too cozy with developers.

The Town Board recently enacted a moratorium on housing projects of five or more homes, while it revisits its zoning regulations.

Shepstone said in a letter that he's happy to attend meetings on a case-by-case basis. If asked, he'll also do reviews on projects and complete an environmental assessment of new subdivision and zoning laws.