Herkimer County Legislature subcommittees approve concrete-style jail

HERKIMER, N.Y.--The Ways and Means and Public Safety committees of the Herkimer County Legislature approved "Option B" over "Option A" for the $32 million-dollar jail project.

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 11:26 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 12:25 AM

HERKIMER, N.Y.--The Ways and Means and Public Safety committees of the Herkimer County Legislature approved "Option B" over "Option A" for the $32 million-dollar jail project.

That means the new jail will be a concrete building, rather than a pre-engineered Butler-style structure.

Option B cost roughly $850,000 dollars more than Option A, but county officials said plans for the concrete building have already been approved by the New York State Commission of Corrections. Hence, construction can start sooner.

"The other one, the other option, which is a little cheaper and it's a little cheaper building I believe, we'd still have to go through the Commission of Corrections," Herkimer County Administrator Jim Wallace said. "That can take a long time, but I think if we go with Option B, to get back to your point, we'll be breaking ground in August."

"The pre-engineered, we would almost lose 2018," Ray Johnson, who represents District 5, said. "I would like to see ground broke by August, you know, sitework."

Unlike the pre-engineered plan, the concrete Option B would yield a building with a 100-year lifespan.

"It would put a life expectancy of 50 more years on the building, so that's a bigger bang for your buck for the taxpayer," Vincent Bono, who represents District 11, said.

The county sales tax increase instituted years ago will cover $20 million of the project's $32 million in construction costs. Even borrowing for the rest, county officials will end the additional quarter percent sales tax within 10 years.

"We'll be able to pay that bond off in seven to eight years, so it'll be totally paid for, you know, the quarter percent can go away," Wallace said.

However, additional costs not associated with construction could leave county officials searching for more resources. 

"Cleanup costs, there's $254,000 for an additional clean-up," Bono said.

He's referring to the environmental mitigation effort started by the previous owner of the jail site. County officials could choose to take further environmental action, which would pile on more costs.

"Tobacco monies can only be used for capital projects, we would probably look at that as a revenue source," Bono said.

Wednesday night, the concrete-style building will be voted on by the entire legislature and it is expected to garner the nine votes needed to pass.

However, at least one legislator will vote the project down.

"I will be voting 'no' on the resolution tomorrow for the building of the jail at the P&C site," Robert Schrader, who represents District 3 said. "This is my district and my constituents came out very strong against the construction of this jail. I don't feel that it should be going there."

The county acquired the P&C site property on Route 28 last Friday.

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