HERKIMER, N.Y. -- It won’t be long before the $39 million Herkimer County Jail starts going up.
The facility is smaller than the original plan. It’s gone from a 4 pod jail to a 3 pod, and roughly 9,000 square feet of administrative offices have also been cut from the plan. Herkimer County Budget Officer Sheri Ferdula talked about what’s being done now.
"Right now they are working on preparing the site. All of our contracts have gone through. All of our submittals are in, so we’re hoping to really see some progress within the next month or two."
The county hired a consultant to come up with a plan for utilizing any unused space for the sheriff’s staff. They’ve also raised twenty million dollars for the new jail from tobacco settlements and a quarter of a percent sales tax increase. They’ll have to bond for the remainder of the money. Herkimer County Vice Chair Vincent Bono talked about some of the problems the new jail will solve.
"We’re currently boarding out. Our current jail is overcrowded, and we’ve been boarding out for many years to surrounding counties. All of our costs, around an average of again around $1.5-$1.7 million."
The Legislature passed a zero percent tax increase for this year, and expect to pass the savings along to the taxpayers once the new facility is up and running.
Sheri Ferdula says "We are expecting to see about a $700,000 per year savings, and that’s in perpetuity with the building of the new facility, so it’s going to make our whole operation a lot more efficient."
The project is expected to take about 20 months to complete. At that time both jails will be in operation until a complete transition can be made.