Possible jail sites back down to five


By Jim Poole

Schoharie County supervisors chopped a long list of potential jail sites down to five.
And in the coming weeks, supervisors on two committees will further reduce that list of five.
The Board of Supervisors' Law Enforcement and Buildings and Purchases committees held a special joint meeting Wednesday to continue work on new jail sites.
That meeting came after at least 11 sites had been suggested by county officials and the public as possibilities. The new search was necessary after supervisors decided the chosen Seebold site wouldn't work for the new jail.
Supervisors cut the long list down to five, according to Gilboa Supervisor Tony Van Glad, chairman of the Buildings and Purchases Committee:
•Doc Reilly Park in Cobleskill.
•The county's fire training site in Howes Cave.
•The Nark farm in Cobleskill.
•The Zicha Road property, one of the original sites last year, in Schoharie.
•Property owned by Jeff Back in Central Bridge.
Not on the list of five are three in Cobleskill, one between Middleburgh and Schoharie, one in Schoharie and another at Shad Point.
Taking the list of five, supervisors on the two committees will rank their top three favorites, Mr. Van Glad said.
None of the sites is perfect, he added. Several, for instance, lack water and sewer service.
And although he needs to do more research before picking his top three, Mr. Van Glad said he's leaning towards sites near the Schoharie Valley.
That's because the jail will also be the public safety facility, housing the Sheriff's Office, and the Valley should retain a police presence, Mr. Van Glad said.
Bill Cherry, county treasurer and flood recovery coordinator, said engineers will now the five sites more closely, looking at topography, water and sewer service, and social issues, such as proximity to homes.
Mr. Cherry's concern is cost. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state are providing $37 million for the jail, and Mr. Cherry is worried that extra expense for water and sewer lines would push the cost beyond $37 million.
He estimated last week that extending water and sewer service to Zicha Road, for instance, might cost $2 million per mile.
"It may take county money to do that," Mr. Cherry said. "We'll have to wait and see what the dollar figures are."
The very rough estimate for jail construction alone is about $28 million, Mr. Cherry said. Engineering and legal expenses and other 'soft costs' may run $7 million or $8 million, he added.
"Add it up, and you're starting to bump up against the $37 million threshold," Mr. Cherry said, noting that water and sewer lines would likely push the total past the $37 million that Washington and Albany are providing.