Assembly members gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that will let Kiryas Joel separate from Monroe and become its own town in January, one year earlier than state law otherwise would have allowed.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill to expedite the Town of Palm Tree earlier this month, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign it.
Assemblyman James Skoufis, the Woodbury Democrat who initiated the bill, said after Thursday's vote that he has secured state aid to compensate the Monroe-Woodbury School District for tax revenue it will lose once properties in the future Palm Tree are shifted into the Kiryas Joel School District. He plans to outline that aid arrangement - which is separate from the Palm Tree bill - on Friday.
Monroe voters voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in November to create the Town of Palm Tree, which will consist of Kiryas Joel - including 164 acres the village annexed in 2015 - and 56 additional acres. The new town is the culmination of a conflict over two annexation proposals that Kiryas Joel officials and leaders of the United Monroe citizens group settled with a legal deal last year.
Both sides agreed to drop their annexation court cases and support the formation of Palm Tree. The deal also stipulated that the Kiryas Joel and Monroe-Woodbury school districts will alter their boundaries after Palm Tree takes effect to move the 220 combined acres from the annexation and creation of Palm Tree into the Kiryas Joel School District.