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Sheriff office renovations wrapping up

The new Sheriff’s civil office in the Greene County Office Building, 411 Main St., Catskill.
February 20, 2019 10:02 pm

CATSKILL — Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley expects to make the move to his department’s new office in March, county officials said Tuesday. The county is renting a temporary office at 370 Mansion St. in Coxsackie for three years while the new Greene County Jail is constructed.

The former jail on West Bridge Street in Catskill was closed April 20 after it was declared unsafe. The jail and current sheriff’s office will be demolished, while the historic carriage house on the property will remain intact.

The state Commission of Corrections had to postpone its inspection of the new office Feb. 12 due to the snowstorm, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said.

A new date has not been scheduled.

Legislator William Lawrence, R-Cairo, is dismayed about the setback.

“It’s not happening as quickly as we hoped,” he said. “Once we move, then we get to tear the old jail down.”

Renovations to the temporary office are nearly complete.

“We have some minor changes to make outside, such as signage,” Groden said.

Seeley is ready for the move.

“Road patrol will move up Friday or Monday,” he said. “We’ll hopefully be out of the old office within three weeks tops.”

Rent for the temporary building is $3,800 per month for the first year, $4,200 per month the second year and $4,300 per month the third.

The most costly renovations involved the holding facility, rather than the administrative or road patrol portions of the building, Groden said.

“We had to install cameras inside and outside the building, which we can take with us when we leave, and electronic metal doors,” Groden said.

Groden estimated the construction cost to be between $60,000 and $70,000.

The county also fashioned a sheriff’s civil office in the records room of the Greene County Office Building at 411 Main St. in Catskill.

Construction began Dec. 24, and the two employees moved in the last week of January, Groden said.

The county building is an ideal spot, Seeley said.

“It’s a convenient location for the public,” Seeley said. “So far, it’s going good.”

The project was completed by Greene County buildings and grounds crews and the cost was estimated at $2,000, Groden said in December.

The civil office will process paperwork for evictions, foreclosures, subpoenas and levies.

A second civil office will be built with the new jail in Coxsackie, Seeley said.

The county is also working with the sheriff’s office to explore the idea of a mobile civil office that would travel to more remote parts of the county, Groden said.

Under county law, the civil office must be located in Catskill, the county seat.

The sheriff’s office is also working on creation of a new satellite office, which will be located at the former Durham Elementary School on Route 145.

The satellite office was supposed to be housed in the Greenville Pioneer Building at 11184 Route 32 in Greenville, but money and a bit of restoration changed the plans.

“The school offered the building rent-free,” Groden said. “The town [of Greenville] was asking for a modest rent. I believe we needed to make some improvements to the building as well.”

Six or seven deputies will be stationed in two classrooms at the old school, Seeley said.

The satellite office will be temporary, until the new jail is built, Seeley said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The county Finance Committee voted on a resolution Tuesday authorizing a contract with Cairo-Durham Central School District expiring Dec. 31.

The county will pay $300 a month to cover expenses associated with the use of the classrooms, according to the contract.

Legislator Michael Bulich, R-Catskill, was the only dissenting vote.

“I don’t think we need to have another satellite office for the sheriff’s department, not one bit,” Bulich said.

The sheriff’s office has satellites in Prattsville, Ashland, New Baltimore and will soon have satellites in Coxsackie and Durham.

County Law 216 and 217 make no distinction between civil or criminal, moving the Sheriff’s office out of the county seat likely requires a public referendum - BEFORE it’s moved.

The county has an unsupportable 38% public sector employment number. There’s no reason for so many police here.

It’s interesting that the jail bond is entirely over the 2% property tax cap. It’s as interesting it isn’t a project the public can vote on. And interesting that the county legislators denied the shared regional hail study, which is acknowledged to be legal. In fact, that’s what we’re doing now. We saved $2.6 million since our jail closed using the 691 empty human cages in the adjoining counties.


Notice the administration and the legislators have absolutely no plan to attract and sustain new money businesses, and there’s almost no tech.


What’s really necessary is an overhaul of our local justice system. It’s not my opinion, we’re rated 2nd worst in the state by the Commission of Corrections.

What is all the more remarkable is that on top of all the other factors that have been explored and come to light marking this a totally unnecessary $90,000,000 albatross that will hang like an anchor around the neck of Greene County Tax Payers if we simply did nothing and continued to board out, but under formalized contracted arrangements, we now have news that COC plans to close down Coxsackie Correctional Facility.

This literally opens the door to the possibility of a transfer of ownership and modification of CCF for pennies on the dollar so that it could be adapted to jail purposes for our modest detainee populations. It is entirely questionable whether addressing the medical and social needs of much of the potential ATI population whether any confinement facilities would be appropriate.

But, rather than make use of existing and imminent resources that would essentially come in at a few million in cost, our Greene County Legislators belligerently continue to harp on about spending close to $100,000,000 of our tax money to pay for their "opinions," "beliefs" and prejudices. Shame.