It’s been decades in the making, but the Herkimer County Jail is getting close to opening. Herkimer County Sheriff Scott Scherer talked about how the old jail is outdated and has gone through a number of issues.
"We went through water main break issues, generator issues, boiler issues, heat exchange issues, the footprint of the facility, windows, mold, just ….there’s a lot of issues with our old facility."
Inspectors from the New York State Codes Department have been on site checking everything from electric and plumbing to fire hydrants outside, making sure the new jail is up to code. Soon after the jail passes inspection the inmates will no longer need to be transported to neighboring counties.
"Right now we’re back up to boarding out again. So we’re boarding out anywhere from 8-12 people a day at an average cost of $80-$100 a person, so you know we’re up to $8-$9000 a week of board outs again."
When the new facility opens the Sheriff's transport vehicle will be getting less use, and taxpayers will start seeing a significant savings.
"My boarding out budget was $1.5 million. We’re hoping into the new year we’re going to be less than $100, 000, so if we can save $1.4 million dollars a year with the same amount of personal that we had we should be doing better."
Approval from the Codes Department should come within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime Corrections Officers will be going through training, and the Sheriff is hoping to get inmates into the new facility within the next couple months. Once the new facility is up and running the old jail will be decommissioned through the State Commission of Corrections, and then turned over to the County.