CATSKILL — Lawmakers decided to move forward with plans to temporarily relocate the county sheriff’s office and processing and holding area for detainees at Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
Legislators discussed the relocation to the office of Flach Real Estate — a 3,600-square-foot building at 370 Mansion St. across from Cumberland Farms in Coxsackie — because the existing holding area needs repairs to make it through the winter and the county needs a facility until the new jail is built in Coxsackie.
No formal vote was taken on the plan.
The state Commission of Corrections approved the location at 370 Mansion St. on Sept. 28. Lawmakers also discussed the demolition of the old jail Tuesday.
“The obvious, best answer is to do it all in Coxsackie,” said Legislator Lee Palmateer, D-Athens. “What else is there to talk about?”
Legislator Kevin Lennon, D-Catskill, expressed concern the county had not fully investigated the cost of a temporary facility.
In addition to paying $4,200 a month for rent, the building must be returned to pre-existing conditions according to the contract, Lennon said.
“We don’t have a full, comprehensive report on what it is going to cost to occupy the building and put it back the way it was,” Lennon said.
Legislators Michael Bulich, R-Catskill, and Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie, plan to renegotiate the rent, they said.
The state Commission of Corrections recommended security improvements estimated to cost about $50,000, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said.
“We have to replace the doors with metal ones, change the lighting and the ceiling,” he said. “With everything included, it will be in the six-figure range. We will have a full estimate by our next meeting.”
Repairs to the old holding facility on Bridge Street in Catskill include new heating, water and sewer systems.
“It would be about $300,000 and we would still need a temporary location while the repairs were made,” Groden said. “Why pay for it twice?”
Some legislators wondered about what other options are out there.
Martinez suggested the county purchased the building.
“Have we looked into portable units?” Bulich said.
“This was not an exhaustive search,” Groden said. “We have to move because of the weather. We moved quickly — this building was available, it meets the requirements. We’re running against the clock.”
Getting buildings approved by the state Commission of Corrections takes time, Groden said.
Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley will maintain an office in the Greene County Office Building at 411 Main St. in Catskill. The sheriff’s office will also have a satellite location on the second floor of the Greenville Pioneer building, 11184 Route 32, Greenville.
Groden expects the county will be in the new facility by Dec. 31, he said, adding demolishing the old jail is less time-sensitive time pressure and the process will be less costly if the decision is not divided, Groden said.
“Why don’t we give it away for $1 and let someone else worry about it?” Martinez said.
“I think if you’re looking for a consensus, we want to move to the temporary facility and demo all the buildings,” said Legislator Aidan O’Connor Jr., D-Durham.
The state Historic Preservation Office may deem that the buildings surrounding the old jail have historic value, Groden said.
“They’re old, but are they historical?” Groden asked. “I expect the carriage house will live and we will redevelop after the other three come down. It will probably start out as a parking lot and then become a new county building.”
If the house was to be saved, it would be tricky because it is attached to the old jail, Groden said.
“It would have to be rehabbed to come up to code,” he added.
Groden expects the county will send the demolition project to bid in the spring.