HERKIMER, N.Y. — It's an issue Herkimer County leaders have been working to address for more than a decade: The construction of a new county jail.
The county has officially settled on a site for a new county jail: The former P&C lot off Route 28 in the village of Herkimer.
Finally, the ball is rolling.
"Our timetable going forward, we'll go to the Commission of Corrections on July 24 for final approval, which we don't see any issues. We've been working with them day-to-day. Our architect works with them constantly and our sheriff works with them constantly. I don't think that's a big deal, but it's a big point," said Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace. "We'll be going to bid very early August."
Through the studies, lawsuits and other expenses, getting to this point is estimated to have cost the county more than $10 million.
"Boarding in our own inmates, remember we have a daily average of anywhere from 30 to 40, sometimes 45 that we board out," said Herkimer County Legislature Vice Chairman Vincent Bono.
Bono said boarding out inmates costs the county at least $90 per day per inmate.
"It's just $90 just to board them,” he said. “That's not including the time and the effort that's taken by the sheriff and his deputies to transport those prisoners."
Bono said funding for the actual jail project isn't coming from property taxes.
"The majority, if not all of this, has been borne out of the quarter-percent sales tax that we implemented a few years back. So the property taxpayer has not borne the brunt of this,” he said.
Both Bono and Wallace agree that with the new jail, property taxes should drop.
"I stick to it that we'll be cutting property taxes the day we open from $700,000 to a million dollars," Wallace said. "So that's real positive."
The jail itself is expected to cost more than $20 million.
The hope is to start building the jail this fall.
Construction is expected to take around 20 months.