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Village of Herkimer looks to protect tax rolls if new jail is built

By PAT BAILEY

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Herkimer County officials are still negotiating a price for a piece of land on Route 28 in the Village of Herkimer where they want to put a new county jail.

While the talks continue, Village officials are watching out for themselves, trying to get what they can from the County before the property comes off the tax rolls.

Being the county seat, 53% of the Village of Herkimer is tax exempt. Village officials say that if the County buys the land, it is another parcel they can't collect on. Hoping to get something out of it, the two have been negotiating a price to use the village's sewer system on the Route 28 site.

The two sides remain far apart on the issue.

"There needs to be more discussions and they must be realistic," said Herkimer Village Mayor Mark Ainsworth. "They (the county) must be willing to negotiate and be fair. We must be open too, but it all must be fair."

According to documents in the Village of Herkimer's Clerk's Office with the sale of the land to the County, the village will lose $4,544.39 this year in taxes. The assessed value of the entire property is $229,900. The tax amounts are lower than in years past because the lot is sitting vacant, said a clerk's office staff member.

"Herkimer happens to be the county seat. I know it puts pressure on the Village. I understand that completely," said Len Hendrix, Chairman of the Herkimer County Public Safety Committee. "But then again, if it wasn't for the county seat and the college in Herkimer, Wal-Mart wouldn't be in Herkimer, K-Mart wouldn't be in Herkimer, McDonald's wouldn't be."

Mayor Ainsworth recently sent a letter to the County, hoping to open talks back up and negotiate a price for the sewer and water system.

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