CATSKILL — Controversy over Greene County’s acquisition of the temporary sheriff’s office in Coxsackie one year after the county began renting it continued Monday night.
The proposed $400,000 purchase passed the Greene County Legislature’s Finance Committee in a 5-4 vote.
In October 2018, the Legislature approved an agreement to lease a building at 370 Mansion St., Coxsackie, for three years so the sheriff’s office would have a place to process inmates while the new jail was being constructed.
At the Public Works Committee meeting eight days ago, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden informed the legislators about an opportunity to purchase the building.
“We paid $3,800 a month plus tax, which is another $1,000 for the first year,” Groden said. “In the second year it will go from $3,800 to $4,200 and then to $4,300 in the third year.”
By purchasing the property instead of renting it, the county potentially could save money, Groden said.
“If we acquire it now, we save $125,000,” Groden said. “We have to sell it for $400,000 in order to save the $125,000.”
Legislators Michael Bulich, R-Catskill; Linda Overbaugh, R-Catskill; and Gregory Davis, R-Greenville voted against the purchase. William Lawrence, R-Cairo was absent. Absences are recorded as negative votes.
Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, and legislators Harry Lennon, D-Cairo; Larry Gardner, D-Hunter; Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie; and Thomas Hobart, R-Coxsackie, voted in favor of the resolution.
Bulich urged the county not to delve into the real estate business at the Public Works Committee meeting.
“I don’t think the county should be in the business of buying and selling property,” Bulich said.
Legislator Matthew Luvera, R-Catskill, expressed some reservations about the deal.
“I’m afraid we’re going to sit on it,” he said. “Look at the Rite Aid building in Catskill. Acquiring commercial property is a gamble.”
“I’m squeamish about buying commercial property,” she said. “We’re shelling out $400,000 but we don’t know what the market is going to do in Greene County.”
The proposed acquisition will be back on the agenda Wednesday night for the full board meeting.