To the editor:
Before COVID-19, Greene County created an impossible $90 million debt. Factor in the economic effects of COVID-19 results in a severe disaster. The debt comes from the new jail in Coxsackie, but bail reform means almost no one’s held in a county jail. That’s $1.125 million per human cage, which is irresponsible.
A perfectly viable option is to convert the monster in Coxsackie to a legitimate medical treatment facility instead of human cages. If the new county jail is converted to a treatment facility, it can receive large funds from the state, federal and Opioid settlements. As a county jail, all costs are strictly from county taxpayers, which is the law.
The current Greene County Police Review Committee (required by Albany) met four times, but so far, it fails to achieve the needed reduction in costs. There’s no progress to use mental health professionals’ instead of police acting as counselors. Accreditation and a Civilian Board look likely.
Further, it’s become clear the Village of Catskill Police is no longer needed. Eliminating them saves $2 of the $4 million budget. There’s no crime here to justify a force of 24 officers. It’s better to spend the money on the community center.
None of this is a surprise. The jail is an economic albatross.
New management is required. The sooner, the better.