New Jail = BIG Taxes

 

Do you want $55 million in new debt?

On September 17th and 19th, the Greene County Legislature will vote on whether to put us – the taxpayers of Greene County – in $55 million of new debt to build an unnecessarily large jail that will cost at least $90 million (including interest).

Some Questions to Consider…

  • Are you willing to pay higher taxes?The 30-year bond obligation would QUINTUPLE our county’s current debt – requiring higher taxes for generations! Borrowing $55 million to build a new jail will cost approximately $90 million when you include the 3.5% interest incurred.
  • Why is the proposed jail so big? The proposed jail is for 96 beds – more than DOUBLE the average number of people typically detained in Greene County! State and federal reforms, combined with low crime rates, point to less need for a large jail. Ulster, Columbia, and Albany counties are all currently paying for empty jail beds in oversized facilities – let’s not make the same mistake!
  • How much will annual operating costs increase? In addition to at least $47 million in construction costs, the increase in annual operating costs from tripling the size of the current jail (30 beds) will also be paid for with your higher tax burden! These numbers, which will be in the millions every year, have not been shared with the public.
  • Are there safe, cheaper alternatives? Despite support from NYS and neighboring counties, the Legislature has refused to do their due diligence to study alternative options, including creating a regional jail. (This approach is not the same as boarding out permanently – rather, Greene County would co-staff and manage an existing jail facility.) Minor reductions in the size of the proposed jail (an 80-bed proposal has been suggested) will still come with big construction and operating costs.
  • Do we need to build a new jail to “keep jobs in Greene County”? Savings from not building a large new jail could easily be reinvested into keeping jobs in Greene County. Many corrections jobs will still be needed under alternative proposals, early retirements could be funded, and we could afford to invest in local business incentives, improving our infrastructure and other public jobs. A key reason the jail in Catskill was ordered to close is because the County could not recruit and maintain adequate staffing!
  • What is the environmental impact of the proposal? The new jail is slated to be built in a designated wetland in Coxsackie, even though wetlands are essential to flood protection along waterways and flood risks continue to rise. Again, the county has not fully researched this impact.

Tell your Legislator:

VOTE NO to the proposed $55 million bond before these questions

have been answered and alternative options have been researched!

Finance Committee Vote: September 17th

Full Legislature Vote: September 19th

Call or e-mail your legislator before the vote

and come to the meetings, open to the public, and have your voice heard in person!

Make Your Voice Heard:

STOP THE CURRENT JAIL PROPOSAL!

Call and email YOUR County Legislator(s), and members of the relevant committees.
Tell them to VOTE NO to $55 million in new debt until alternatives have been researched
and all concerns raised about the current proposal have been addressed.
Share your opinion in person when the Legislature votes:
Sept. 17th at 6pm • Sept. 19th at 6:30pm

411 Main Street, 4th Floor, Catskill, NY

*Public Safety Committee Member – **Finance Committee Member