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County Narrows Jail Sites to Two

Written By Editor on 12/2/16 | 12/2/16

County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Manager Bill Cherry presented to the members of the Board regarding the jail site. He introduced some individuals from LaBella Engineers, Lamont Engineers, the West Law Firm, and BBL Construction.

Cherry said that there are parts of the project will “likely require some bonding.” He said that if that was the case, such votes would require a two-thirds majority vote. He hoped that as many of the Supevisors as possible could agree on a decision.

The Treasurer opened the floor for questions. Supervisor Coppolo asked why the description regarding the former fire training center was less detailed than the other sites. A member of Labella Engineering explained that there is adequate information. The Middleburgh Supervisor asked why the wetland determination was made. Labella said that the decision was made with aerial photos and county data. Coppolo then asked why this same method was not used for the Seebold site. Labella said that they used similar methods.

Coppolo then asked why the Mineral Springs site was added back to the recommendations after being removed earlier. He stated that he sits on the committee overseeing the process and hadn’t heard anything about it yet. Supervisor Tague said that it was added at the last board meeting. “It was off the table,” Coppolo said. Richard Lape replied that this was not the case as it was brought up at the last board meeting. The Middleburgh Supervisor said that he heard otherwise.

McAllister asked about the Doc Reilly site in Cobleskill. Cherry said that there was a concern about water supply. An engineer from Labella said that there is actually enough water at the site but that it is currently limited by a pressure reducer that can be fixed. Approximately 800 feet of line would need to be run to the Doc Reilly site.

None of the sites are perfect, said Cherry. The Doc Reilly Park site would require local, state, and federal signoff.

Supervisor Skowfoe asked if there was a need for further signoff from the Commission of Corrections. Sheriff Anthony Desmond said that he contacted the Commission to determine whether this was the case or not. He said that he was fully supporting the Zicha Road site. It was added by a Deputy that the Commission would only come to examine one site.

Supervisor Tague said that he agreed with the Sheriff. He added that since the Zicha Road site was the second choice behind Seebold. Tague asked why this was not the frontrunning. “I’m wondering where we are as far as the Zicha Road site.”

Treasurer Cherry said that Zicha was ranked second behind Seebold at the time. “When we choice Zicha Road as a secondary we wanted to make a point to FEMA that there was a basis toward replacing the jail.” He added that all of the proposed sites are “workable.”

Supervisor McAllister said that the Board “cannot forget” the factors of time and cost. “I’m in favor of the fire training center but we need to make a decision soon.” Supervisor Larry Bradt of Carlisle said that there is not enough information about the current sites to make a decision. He recommended that there be “further studies done.” It could “come back to haunt us,” he said.

Supervisor Federice of Conesville said that previous work by the Building and Grounds Committee and Law Enforcement Committee narrowed the process to two or three potential sites. Cherry said that Supervisor Anthony VanGlad of Gilboa recommened the five sites with two as potentially more usable.

Coppolo asked about studies needed for these sites. Labella believes that there is a good survey of information about a direct comparison to the current sites. The engineer added that when the board focused on one site there would be extensive studies. Coppolo asked if it would be feasible to look at all at once. Labella’s representative said no.

Supervisor Peggy Hait of Jefferson said that she was supporting the fire training site. She believed that using a portion of the current sites could reduce the cost. “It’s a win for the fire service,” she said. “All of that stuff is already laid out” at the site, the Supervisor added.

Supervisor Skowfoe asked the engineers, “What kind of guarantee do we have that we pick a site and then an extenuating circumstance like this happens-- at Seebold?” One engineer from Labella said that the firm would do its “diligence” as quickly as possible to make a site. Skowfoe said that there was no guarantee that any site would work.

According to Chair VanWormer, he recently was told that a portion of Doc Reilly Park flooded in 2011. Cherry wasn’t sure whether or not the site where the building would go was underwater at the time.

Supervisor Bradt asked who would provide water and sewer for the Zicha Road site. Treasruer Cherry said that there were three options-- one would be to continue the water line from Schoharie. He said that extending utility corridors, such as this one would be difficult. This would run about four miles. Another option, “not nearly as finite” would be to run water from Cobleskill on the Route 7 corridor. It would be slightly more than running from the Village of Schoharie. The third would be using the Central Bridge water system. “The sewage plant can handle the jail,” said Supervisor Tague. He said that the extension would only be a mile. He said that he wasn’t entirely sure that the water plant as it stands can handle the jail site. Tague added that if the site was chosen, the Towns of Schoharie and Esperance would make sure that the plant was made to handle it. In all three scenarios Central Bridge would provide sewer service.

Supervisor Coppolo said that if the water came from Schoharie, there was concern that in the case of a flood there would be water possibly cut off. He said that he liked the Zicha site but that there was a large concern.

Supervisor Lape asked about the upsides and downsides of the fire training site. An engineer from Labella said that a concern was the presence of federal wetlands on the site. He added that if the site is close to a railroad that inmates may sue for nuisance due to sound and vibration.

Supervisor Harold Vroman made a motion to narrow discussion to just the Zicha Road and the fire training site. This passed almost unanimously with Supervisor Bradt voting no. Supervisor Simkins asked if this could be narrowed further. Tague said “you have one shot at this.” He said that all factors, and not just cost have to be considered. “We might now be able to do this for $37 million.” He said. Chair VanWormer said keeping both was a good option. Supervisor Coppolo said that “we shouldn’t spend any more money on this project,” adding that any excess costs should be cut out of design.

Supervisor Skowfoe asked which site the engineers thought was “most productive.” A representative from Labella said that whichever was cheaper was a better choice. He also said that a full engineering survey could be done in three months.

Flood Recovery Manager Cherry said that it made sense to look closely at the sites as soon as possible. He said that it was not clear whether or not the Zicha Road site was recently purchased by a new owner. Members of the Board said that it would be necessary to determine this first.

Supervisor Coppolo said that under the circumstances, the fire training site should be considered first. County Attorney Mike West said, “I can answer that one. Everything is for sale, especially in Schoharie County.”
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1 comments:

Norie61 said...

Why are we still talking about Cobleskill? If every other Town is too far why isn't Cobleskill? The ideal place would be Schoharie, or closely near it. Stop messing around and get things going. If the #2 choice before was good enough, why not#1 now?

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