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Board Withdraws from Seebold Jail Location

Written By Editor on 9/16/16 | 9/16/16

By Tyler James

Treasurer and flood recovery coordinator Bill Cherry gave an update on the jail and public safety facility project. He read a memo received from LaBella Associates on September 12th, the engineers wrote about new geotechnical surveys regarding the jail site. The reports show that there were several factors that may have been solvable on their own but together made the Seebold location untenable. This included archaeological sites expected to turn up historical artifacts. Cherry said that the project would need to be within about ten miles of the county courthouse and have municipal water and sewer. Cherry provided a written report to the board members, including a number of recommended jail sites that met the above checks.

Supervisor Tague asked if Sheriff Desmond was consulted on the site. Cherry replied that Undersheriff Ron Stevens was often a part of the flood recovery committee and that the Sheriff was in constant contact.

Sheriff Desmond stood and reported on concerns over the project. He stated that he was there during much of the sampling projects. The Sheriff said that he opposed placing it in Cobleskill because there are three departments in Cobleskill already. He said that instead the jail and public safety facilty should be placed closer to Middleburgh in order to assist residents in the southern part of the county that have a smaller police presence currently. He added that such a location could help bring a police presence to Conesville and Blenheim.

"How important is it that the facility be as close to the courthouse as possible?" asked Supervisor Tague of Schoharie. The Sheriff replied, "Very important." He added, "I don't think a location five or six miles down the road" would hurt the ability to bring individuals to the courthouse.

Supervisor Tague said that he hoped Treasurer Cherry would work with the Sheriff, Undersheriff, and District Attorney. "These are the people that are doing the job every day."

Supervisor Leo McAllister of Cobleskill noted the timeline of the project. "There's a limit on funds," he stated, also citing the project's 42 month timeline. "The fact is that we can't wait a year and a half to make a decision," he stated. The Treasurer agreed, seeking a location with water and sewer. "Extending water and sewer lines is an important piece." He said that the project could be done under budget should a location be found with these.

Supervisor Tague replied by asking the Treasurer whether the decision should be made today. The Treasurer responded yes. Tague then made a motion to exit the Seebold project. Supervisor Skowfoe of Fulton seconded. The County will lose a $5,000 deposit on the property.

Supervisor Pete Coppolo of Middleburgh asked why the project was looked at with a parcel without water or sewer. Treasurer Cherry said that this was not the circumstance at the time, only that there was a possibility that it could be extended over time.

The measure passed unanimously.
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