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Herkimer residents say "no" to county jail

By CAROLINE GABLE

HERKIMER, NY (WKTV) - Residents packed the house Thursday night at the V.F.W. in Herkimer to talk about plans to build the Herkimer County Jail in the Village of Herkimer.

Everyone spoke out against the project Thursday night, with the exception of Herkimer County Legislator Jeffrey Stone.

Overall residents expressed they want to see more transparency in this process, and they want more information on the county jail that County Legislator Jeffrey Stone says is mandated by a letter from the state he received in 2006.

Discussions revolved around public safety and the cost of building and maintaining a jail. When asked for a show of hands as to who is against the jail being build in Herkimer, a room full of arms shot up.

The estimated cost for the capitol project, is around $30 million. The jail would be totally funded by county tax payers.

Residents in the Village of Herkimer would also pay for an additional $1.6 million for the sewer tax portion of the project.
Herkimer Mayor Mark Ainsworth said this meeting wasn't to argue over building the jail, but to discuss its impact, and residents sure had a lot to say.

According to former County Legislator, Joseph Chilelli, who heads up a concerned citizens group, the size of the proposed jail is too big, and the burden on tax payers is too great.

"This is a county jail, the citizens of this county should have a right to have their questions answered and they haven't done that," said Chilelli. "I'm glad to see the Village of Herkimer stepping up and giving people this voice, I think its obvious tonight what the position is of the majority of people, by what they're saying."

Mayor Ainsworth says he will call a special Village Board meeting for next week. The board faces an August 6th deadline to answer to Herkimer Counties offer to help pay for a portions of the sewage project.

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