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Schoharie County continues search to replace flooded out jail

The Schoharie County Jail is seen in security video taken during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The Schoharie County Jail is seen in security video taken during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. |

September 16, 2016 05:45 PM

SCHOHARIE – There are some developments on where to build the Schoharie County Jail.

You'll recall the county has not had a jail since the flood waters of Irene destroyed much of the building.

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Now, plans to build a new jail on a piece of farmland in Schoharie have been scrapped.    

That means the county has to start all over again, and continue shuttling inmates to Albany County Jail, which is costing a lot of money.

More than eight feet of water flooded the Schoharie County Jail when Tropical Storm Irene hit 5 years ago.

The water destroyed the entire first floor.

After years of fighting with FEMA to get funding for a new jail on a new piece of land, the county finally got $37 million.

They chose a site, a piece of farmland owned by the Seebold farm.

They hoped to break ground next spring.

However, that changed this week when the board of supervisors learned this piece of farmland was no longer a viable option for a host of reasons: including some historical pieces found in the soil and some wetland spots.

That means plans for a new jail are once again on hold.    

“There's never been a jail in New York State that has faced this kind of problem,” acknowledged County Sheriff Tony Desmond.

He says the whole process has been frustrating.

Not having a proper facility to work in and for five years they've had to ship inmates to the Albany County Jail to board them.

We've spent right in Schoharie County out of our own pocket just to board these inmates $1,103,105,” noted Desmond. “Where is this money coming from? This money is coming from the county budget which comes from the county taxpayers.”

A total of $4 million over five years. FEMA has been covering 70-percent of that so far.

However, the county has still had to shell it over $1 million plus fuel for the cars which added up to over $600 in August alone, not to mention wear and tear on the cars driving 76 miles round trip.

“We don't have a choice. I have no other solution and I don't know that anybody else does either,” noted Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry.

“We're working as hard as we can, we're working as fast as we can. Until we can get a jail built boarding them in Albany County is our only viable option

Monday the process begins again to find a new site and then they have to test that site to make sure it is viable.

The county is looking for any input for the public on pieces of land that may work to build a new jail.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2016 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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