Skip to main content

County jail issue needs to be put on ballot

March 8, 2019 12:23 am Updated: March 8, 2019 12:23 am

To the editor:

I’ve attended some of the legislative meetings recently, particularly those concerning the county jail issue. I’ve found these meetings rather disconcerting and aggravating. Is it me or am I mistaken, very few audience hands are acknowledged, even with persistance, except an occasional reporter. The representatives that occupy the chamber, receive their salary from my taxes and yours. They should at least show courtesy and respect that their constituents deserve,

This is just for openers. Obviously with the exception of a very few, the legislators don’t heed their constituents, which leads to the jail issue as a good example.

Presently, our county is one of the most depressed in the state. They had an opportunity to pass a $38,000 feasibility study, to merge qith Columbia County, in a solar venture. This is a drop in the bucket compared to $700 million overall, but they passed over it. Instead they pass the building of a white elephant in our room and therefore the largest cost adding to our already high taxes.

No wonder our youth are seeking employment, in better paying jobs outside the area and we’re going to see the retired on fixed incomes leaving as well. The $700 million will be passed onto our children and grandchildren as well. If enough stay, then what? To continue to pay for their white elephant, and not hearing the concerns from the voters? Shame on them.

I see votes in the legislature passed along party lines, as in big government (state and federal). Why? Most of our issues are not politically but for the common good of our families, friends and neighbors. We are a rural community and should be treated as such. Show all courtesy, respect and listen to what others have to say.

That being said, how are we as taxpayers going to pay for this high bill. I venture to guess most of the legislators are private businessesmen (and women). When their taxes increase, those who rent out, will raise the rents, passing in onto the renters. Others will increase the cost of providing their services to the customer. Again, increasing our costs all the more.

Many of them have nothing to lose (they think), running unopposed, increasing their service costs and or rents, especially with the shortage of decent, affordable housing, the list goes on.

In the interest of the common good, they need to please seriously reconsider and add this issue to November’s ballot as a referendum for their constituents to voice “our” opinion.

This will pass the buck, in a good way, onto us and we’ll deal with it somehow.

This issue, after all, may not shoot the legislators in the foot, it may blow it off.

Lastly, all those registered to vote, please, please, please, vote. If you don’t, don’t complain that no one is listening to you. Because this is our way to be heard. I am. Good luck and good tidings to you.

Mick Kelly


Hi Mr. Kelly - I've tried for years to get my local legislator to put the jail referendum on the public ballot, but Harry Lennon, and all the other legislators who have voted "yes" on committing us to a $90M payback on a jail bond have flat out refused to do so. Some lie and say 'the law won't allow us.' Others, simply insist, "my constituents have told me they're for it," without daring to test their lies against a public referendum!

What they're most scared of is that the public would get a look at the facts - Cuomo is almost certainly closing Coxsackie Correctional Facility after the latest prisoner death there of a perfectly healthy 26 year-old, for example - making the construction of a ground up prison a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money that will bankrupt Greene County. Prison populations are trending DOWN, and so are the number of detainees who need to be placed in jail. DRASTICALLY! Youthful offender programs and Alternatives to Incarceration are national and statewide trends.

Many taxpayers like me suspect that a scandal lies at the root of the Greene County Legislators' lust for prison. Ulster County went down this road and so did Albany. They're a lot wealthier and the wasted capital expenditure seriously hurt their economies. Vote your legislator OUT if he or she, in the case of Overbaugh down in Catskill, voted "yes" for this stupid BOONDOGGLE!!