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Processing center, jail demolition clear hurdle

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    Legislators discuss options to temporarily relocate the county sheriff’s office processing and holding area at Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
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    The exterior of the existing Greene County Sheriff’s Office on Bridge Street in Catskill. The sheriff’s office is slated open a new processing center in Coxsackie.
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    Greene County sheriff’s deputies were in the audience Tuesday while lawmakers discussed relocating the sheriff’s office processing and holding area at the legislature’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
October 17, 2018 10:02 pm

CATSKILL — The county is one step closer to opening a new processing center and demolishing the old jail after two legislative committees approved the plan Monday.

Legislators voted on leasing the office of Flach Real Estate — a 3,600-square-foot building at 370 Mansion St. across from Cumberland Farms in Coxsackie.

The existing detaining area on Bridge Street, which is part of the old jail that was closed April 20 because of safety issues, needs repairs to make it through the winter. The county also needs a facility until a new jail is constructed.

A NEW LOCATION

Lawmakers in the Public Safety Committee approved an agreement Monday for a three-year lease at the Mansion Street property in a 5-3 vote.

Legislators William Lawrence, R-Cairo; Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie; Harry Lennon, D-Cairo; Kevin Lewis, R-Greenville; and Lori Torgersen voted in favor of the resolution. Aidan O’Connor, D-Durham; Kevin Lennon, D-Catskill; and Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore; were absent.

The agreement also passed the Finance Committee in a 8-1 vote with Martinez, Harry Lennon, Thomas Hobart, R-Coxsackie; Larry Gardner, D-Hunter; Linda Overbaugh, R-Catskill; Lawrence and O’Connor voting in favor.

Kevin Lennon opposed the resolution. Earlier this month, he expressed concerns over the legislature not fully investigating the cost of occupying the space.

Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden, Martinez and Legislator Michael Bulich, R-Catskill; renegotiated the rent to a lower rate for three years after the lease’s original proposal at a Public Safety Committee meeting Oct. 9.

The payment was decreased under the new agreement, with $3,800 per month rent for the first year, $4,200 per month the second year and $4,300 per month the third, Lawrence said. Initially, the rent was expected to increase from $4,200 a month, $4,300 the following year and $4,500 a month the final year of the lease.

Lawmakers also eliminated the contract’s requirement to restore the building to its previous condition, Bulich said.

Security improvements were estimated to cost $50,000, with total upgrades in the six-figure range, Groden said.

“We have to replace the doors with metal ones, change the lighting and the ceiling,” he said.

In addition to the Coxsackie processing center, the sheriff’s office will maintain a county building office, at 411 Main St., Catskill, for its civil services such as evictions, foreclosures, subpoenas and levies.

County laws 216 & 217 require the sheriff’s office cannot move its civil services out of the county seat — Catskill — without a public referendum.

The agency will have a new satellite office on the second floor of The Greenville Pioneer building, 11184 Route 32, Greenville, Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said Oct. 9.

“We would have 1.5 employees at the county office,” Seeley said Oct. 9. “We don’t need much room.”

Seeley was pleased with the county’s decision to relocate the processing facility, he said on Wednesday,

“The biggest expense will be to upgrade the new detaining center,” he said. “As far as I can tell, it will not be a burden to taxpayers.”

THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

Members of the Public Safety Committee voted to issue a notice of intent with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to make the county the lead agency to demolish the old jail complex on Bridge Street.

Groden expects the county will send the demolition project to bid in the spring, he said Oct. 9.

Demolishing the facility will be considered a Type I action, Tourism and Economic Development Planning Director Warren Hart said. A Type I action is more likely to have a significant, negative impact on the environment, according to the DEC’s website. The county will have to perform an long-form Environmental Assessment Form.

The demolition proposal indicates the carriage house, which is three-bay, two-story building, on the property, formerly used to store carriages and horses will remain intact, Hart said.

The building was previously affiliated with the Second Reformed Church, Hart said. The old jail, the sheriff’s office and the D-Block, which is the current holding facility for detainees, would be demolished.

The carriage house is in good physical condition and will likely be considered historically significant by the State Historic Preservation Office, Hart said.

Bulich expressed an interest in including the carriage house in the demolition plans in case the building needs to be razed once the project gets moving.

“I just want to cover all the bases,” he said.

The carriage house may also be moved to a new location depending on the county’s redevelopment needs, Groden said.

The building is a three-bay, two-story carriage house, not including the basement, Hart said. The resolution passed the committee Monday without adding the carriage house to the demolition plans in a 5-3 vote.

Legislators Lawrence, Martinez, H. Lennon, Lewis and Torgersen voted in favor of the demolition plans.

O’Connor, K. Lennon and Linger were absent.

Seeley was pleased with the legislature’s decision not do the demolition in pieces, he said Wednesday.

“I’m glad the legislature made the decision to take the whole thing down and not piece-meal the decision,” he said. “It would cost too much to rehab... I hope they make it into a parking lot for the court house. In my eyes, it was a good decision.”

The state will respond within 30 days with a determination on the lead agency Hart said.

“We will also be notifying SHIPO (State Historic Preservation Office),” he said. The State Historic Preservation Office will determine the historical significance of the carriage house and other buildings on the site.

The full legislature was expected to vote on both resolutions at Wednesday’s meeting.

Comments
This is the best idea Warren Hart's ever had... it should be passed unfettered.
“Processing Center”. What sounds more like Star Wars than “process them.” A processing center exists at 80 Main Street. A large Sheriff’s satellite office exists in Greenville and is perfectly acceptable for a “processing center.” $300,000 + costs. And, $500,000 to destroy 80 Bridge Street (our Sheriff’s Office, which BTW is required by law to stay in the county seat. Read County Law 216 and 217. No public referendum for the destruction of the 80 Bridge Street resource means I can sue, which I am. No public referendum for the bizarre abuse I call “Carpet Bagging Megaprison in Coxsackie.” Legislator Martinez is repeatedly at the source of Coxsackie boondoggles.

Groden was sued when he did this in Michigan. He tried to avoid “qualified immunity” but the frederal court said no. He drained their budget. He’s doing it here. Watch on the 5th of November. His 2019 budget, like his 2018 budget, increases the total, raises the “2% property tax cap,” but accomplishes nothing. There’s no new money industry or tech here or planned. None.

Why did Legislator Lori Torgersen leave in frustration? See above. She was ignored. Dr. Toregersen is a genuine talented educated experienced asset. She ran the ATI committee eligently, and was completely ignored. Completely. I attended watch of the 20 meetings.

Pathetic. This all will likely change. The county simply can’t trash itself. The behaviors of Greg Seeley and Michael Spitz are extremely and really and provenly sociopathic. Sick. One need only read the 5 years of correspondence from the NYS Commission of Corrections that i FOILed. Attorney Ed Kaplan largely placated COC. Pathetic.