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Workshop meeting looks at nitty-gritty jail design details

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    Greene County officials and representatives from SMRT Architects and Engineers P.C. and Pike Company discuss the Greene County Jail project during a workshop meeting.
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    SMRT Principal & Director of Architecture Dennis Morin points to a section of the design plan of the Greene County Jail project.
June 12, 2018 11:30 pm Updated: June 12, 2018 11:30 pm

CATSKILL — Pike Company told county leaders and law enforcement personnel Tuesday they identified 28 possible items that could be cut from the new Greene County Jail proposal for a total of around $4 million.

A second workshop meeting was held to find ways to reduce the proposed $51.4 million project cost.

Some areas of major savings include the Sheriff and Road Patrol area ($2,040,000), maintenance garage ($1,426,541), six upper level flex cells ($257,765) and steel framing and screening in the recreation yards ($162,500), according to a list prepared by Pike Company.

The meeting was held in the Greene County Office Building’s Caucus Room with Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden, Deputy County Administrator Warren Hart, Greene County Sheriff’s Office personnel and representatives from the project’s architectural firm, SMRT Architects and Engineers P.C., and Pike Company, the construction manager.

Legislator Linda Overbaugh, R-Catskill, attended the meeting Tuesday afternoon and more legislators were expected to attend at around 4 p.m., Groden said.

A third workshop scheduled for Wednesday was canceled because all questions about the project were answered at Tuesday’s session, Groden said.

A resolution authorizing $51.4 million in serial bonds to cover the cost of building a new jail behind the Greene Correctional Facility off Route 9W in Coxsackie was shelved at the Greene County Legislature’s Finance Committee meeting May 14 in favor of exploring cost savings. The existing jail on Bridge Street closed April 20 for safety reasons.

Some of the items discussed included the removal of several areas including 15 parking spots at a savings of $34,020, a fitness room at $44,400 and a training room at $162,500, according to Pike Company.

Groden will bring all recommendations to the legislators. The savings package can be brought up for a vote in the Public Safety and Finance committees.

All decisions have to be made by August or the Legislature runs the risk of losing the 3.5 percent interest rate it secured when it authorized a $51,418,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency in March.

“If we don’t have those decisions made it will be difficult to maintain the USDA March 1 date,” Groden said.

A training room could be utilized for conferences when it’s not being used for training, SMRT Principal Arthur Thompson said.

The room would also be used for police lineups, Jail Superintendent Michael Spitz said during the meeting.

Multiple spaces removed from the design would require a new design plan, Thompson said.

“It’s all or nothing,” Thompson said. “Once you start taking spaces out, what can we do?”

Groden asked the two firms about the estimated $500,000 demolition of the existing jail and about salvaging such materials as metal bars from the cells.

The USDA loan does not cover demolition.

“That’s got to be money I will just have to have in my budget that year whenever we take it down,” Groden said.

Before the existing jail can be demolished, all asbestos has to be removed. Once demolished, a specially designed machine can pick out valuable materials, Pike Company Project Executive Mark Bollin said.

Removing the sheriff’s office from the design would save $2 million, but space for an office has to be provided somewhere, Overbaugh said.

“We’re going to have to come back and do something in the Catskill area,” she said.

The existing Bridge Street office can be renovated, but it would be tricky when the existing jail is demolished because the two buildings are attached, Groden said. No structural evaluations of the sheriff’s office have been done.

“The back wall of the sheriff’s house is the front wall of the jail,” Groden said. “It might be pretty expensive because you have to separate it first before you make any kind of a change.”

When all of the items are totaled up it can result in some cost savings, Overbaugh said after the meeting.

“We’re really just nickel-and-diming it at this point,” she said. “We have to have some things, and other things we can cut back on a little bit.”

Overbaugh is hopeful the bond resolution will be passed.

“I think we’ve reduced the amount we have to bond pretty significantly,” she said.

SMRT and Pike Company practice value engineering — suggesting items that can be discarded or constructed a different way, Thompson said.

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.

How about saving $50,000,000 + by leaving these losers along and sticking with the shared jail in Columbia tweaked to be made a permanent arrangement? Do not believe the lies that this "cannot be done and is illegal." These are lies being sold by individuals in the Greene County Legislature who have relationships with Sheriff Seeley and Groden who see a personal political issue in promoting their 'own jail.'

Ask yourself this, "Why are 'Republicans' like Martinez and Lawrence sounding off like Tax & Spend Democrats?" for an $87,000,000 boondoggle?" How come Herkimer County, a staid conservative Republican stronghold managed to bid out and pass a budget for their new jail for $32M that will last 60 years and is built of concrete supplying 131 beds while we're being pushed to pass a bond that will wind up costing us near 3X's that to supply 98 beds or about 30 beds more than we actually need?"

This meeting was a sham- a scam - a fraud, call it whatever you like. But it was no different than a Stalin show trial in Communist Soviet Russia. "Oh look we can save $2M!" They just wasted more than $2,000,000 over the past two years on a fatally flawed architectural design for an illegal jail that proposes moving the sheriff's little clubhouse to his turkey shoot in Coxsackie instead of keeping it where legally required in the County Seat in the Village of Catskill. Seeley and his buddy Spitz have been assessed by implication in numerous letters from the State Department of Corrections as belligerents and incompetents. They should be eliminated a new approach adopted that stops trying to monetize the poor and people with drug problems as a prison population - social services can deal with these folks in a far more productive and humane way. Meanwhile let's avoid the lead weights around the ankles of our county budgets for the next 30 years!!
INSANE!!! They chose a Cadillac and are negotiating over the add-ones. WAKE UP GREENE COUNTY!!!

I was at both days, full days, irritating agonizing days with people Hell bent on building human cages, a people zoo. WAY OVER PRICED - A PRISON NOT A JAIL!!!

$500,000 just for the gas lines! There’s no electrical or sewage or gas or water!!! And, the site is CLAY, which means a 6’ hole, then vapor barrier, then layers of gravel, then float the monstrosity! INSANE.

The numbers are 50 now, but RicciGreene said 132. But they lied. When asked for their data they didn’t have any!!! They made it up. WAKE UP GREENE COUNTY.

Every bit of this insane project is founded on fraud. We don’t have much real crime here, nothing to justify 98 new human cages. The future predicts a DECLINE in numbers.

Every penny of the LOAN leaves the county. $54 million is $89 million, do the math, the bankers will. 30 year loan @ 3.5%. None of the construction crews will be from Greene County. No maintenance included, no salaries, no transportation, operation costs, no defense (these are accused not convicted cited people!), no social service or program costs - NONE!!! STOP STOP STOP
This behemoth should not be passed. It's a full fledged prison plan not a simple county jail. County jails are holding areas until a court or medical figures out what to do. Detainees (and they are detainees to the largest part) are not convicted of a crime. There's no remedial value to locking up someone in jail, there are no programs that a jail can offer that helps. The research proves that jail generally harms the individual and their family.

This monster plan was hidden for just the criticism it's getting. The site is clay, and has no supply lines - no electric, water, sewage or natural gas. Natural gas costs $500,000 to pipe in, not including the gas. Clay means a 6' hole must be dug then a moisture barrier and then layers of gravel. Insane.

The yard signs say "Save Jobs - Build Jail" are so wrong as to be pathetic and sad. Every dollar of the loan leaves the county, we get the bill FOR 30 YEARS. No maintenance costs, no operational costs, no salary, no transportation or defense costs, and on and on and on. This county's poor. At $110 million a year we simply can't afford to carry a loan of $89 million. We're already at the top of the 2% property tax cap. There's no growth according to Groden's 2018 budget, no plan for non-seasonal, for-profit industry. So where's the money going to come from?

In the early afternoon the discussion turned to the general economy, that we've probably peaked nationally. So, again, where does the money come from? IT DOESN'T EXIST AND WON'T!

The larger problem of abuse by Sheriff Greg Seeley and Jail Superintendent Michael Spitz is glossed over. 5 years of FOILed records show nothing but screaming by Albany at Greene County's Groden, Lewis, Sheriff Seeley and Jail Superintendent Michael Spitz. Here's the files:

DO NOT BUILD THIS JAIL. It's not needed and will destroy Greene County for 3 decades. Now's the time to transform the county, allow for growth, and rebalance with civility and intelligence. Please!