Cobleskill doesn't like any of its jail options


By Patsy Nicosia

Yes, maybe, to Howes Cave.
But, no, definitely, to Zicha Road.
That's where the Village of Cobleskill stands on selling water and sewer to the top two sites for the $40 million Schoharie County Jail: the county's fire training site on Sagendorf Corners Road in Howes Cave, and Zicha Road off Route 7, both in the Town of Schoharie.
Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry asked Mayor Linda Holmes and trustees Tuesday if they'd allow project engineers to look into the possibility of selling services to both sites.
After a long discussion, trustees agreed they might be willing to work with the fire training site and gave Water and Wastewater Department Superintendents Joe Redmond and Chris Pahls the go-ahead to work with engineers for the 66-bed jail.
But only for the Howes Cave site and with no promise that they'll even provide the services.
"It's really putting the cart before the horse," Mayor Holmes said. "To put this on our shoulders...another [water and sewer] district would mean more manpower that we don't have."
Mayor Holmes pointed out that the water and sewer lines were extended along Route 7 as a way to spur development there and she'd hate to see the available water all "eaten up by the jail."
"We don't even know how much water we have available," she said.
"What if something like a dye company wants to come in and we don't have the water?"
The available water issue doesn't bother Mr. Redmond, who said the 25,000 gallons a day Mr. Cherry's talking would really just be a drop in the bucket, and in fact, the entire system would benefit from having a big user at the end of a dead end line.
His concern is manpower.
"Another district means another job," he said.
Mr. Cherry said the county expects to pay about $225,000 annually for water and sewer to the jail and whether those services come from Cobleskill or from somewhere else, would use FEMA funding to extend the lines.
Even before the village expressed its concerns, Mr. Cherry said the Zicha Road site is the more complex of the two, in part because the owners are deceased and he's dealing with their estate.
Also, he said, though the Village of Schoharie and Central Bridge Water and Sewer District could, theoretically, provide services to the site, in Schoharie's case, it would be an awfully long line-4.2 miles-and in Central Bridge's, the Department of Corrections might have objections to the potability of the water.
Until September, the county thought it was good to go on the Seebold site on Route 30, Schoharie, but after engineering studies determined it would be too costly to build there, supervisors reopened their search.
Among those eliminated in that search were Doc Reilly Park on Route 7, the Nark Farm on Shady Tree Lane, the IDA on Mineral Springs, all three in the Town of Cobleskill;' and the Jeff Back property in Central Bridge.
Supervisors' final decision is expected in the spring and will consider engineering studies of the two remaining sites.
It was Mayor Holmes' complaint that her village was being left out of the process that brought Mr. Cherry to Tuesday's meeting.