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The Schoharie View: Jail Must Remain in Schoharie

Written By Michael on 6/25/15 | 6/25/15

Schoharie County is fast approaching the four year anniversary of Hurricane Irene, when we lost businesses, homes, livestock, and most importantly to this editorial, our Public Safety Facility in the Village of Schoharie. The jail was completely wiped out by Irene's flood waters and ever since then the county has operated without that essential component, sending all of our inmates to Albany County at a significant cost that has, thankfully, been largely covered by FEMA.

However, now that FEMA has approved the construction of a new Public Safety Facility outside of the floodplain, and the County Board has designated Seebold Farm as the site to place it, all hell has figuratively and literally broke out in the Town of Schoharie. Expressing concerns, fears, and worries of having a jail in their neighborhood, dozens of residents surrounding the Seebold property have come out of the woodworks to protest the jail's placement in their backyards.

Many have commented that they were simply not aware that Seebold Farms was being considered as a potential site, or that there was not enough sufficient coverage of the County Board's June 2014 decision to designate it as such. We sympathize with their plight, because public officials often do not go above and beyond the call of order to inform residents of major decisions outside of the press.

That being said, we must ask: is this fight really worth it?

If Schoharie loses the jail, we honestly believe that the community is in for a world of financial pain and suffering. The Town would lose its assessed value, resulting in an immediate loss of sales tax revenue, which would have to be picked up by the taxpayers. Furthermore, the Village of Schoharie would face a significant loss in revenue from providing water and sewer to the Public Safety Facility, resulting in, again, likely a fee that would have to be picked up by the taxpayers.

It is simply not a cost that the still recovering valley community cannot afford at this time. Supervisor Milone told town residents that if they brought an alternate solution to Seebold to his attention, he would bring it before the County Board for its consideration. Good for him, he is properly representing his constituents. But any solution that removes the jail from Schoharie should be an immediate non starter.

- Timothy Knight,
Editor and Publisher,
The Schoharie News.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015.
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