The Herkimer county jail has been an ongoing issue in Herkimer for over a decade. Recently the Village adopted a zoning ordinance trying to stop the County. But today's ruling overrides that local law and now the county is one step closer to building the jail.
Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature Vincent Bono says, "Definitely pleased with the outcome, it's been the county's position all along that the zoning was a key element in this decision and we won on that account."
The decision puts the village in a tough spot but they do have options.
Attorney for the Village of Herkimer Michael Longstreet says, "Well under this decision the jail, the county would be allowed to proceed, obviously it's a very complicated processes they have another of other obstacles. I'll have to consult with my clients but I assume that they will appeal the decision."
There has never been a case like this in New York; therefore the court had no precedent to rely on. And despite the ruling the village feels the county could choose other sites
Longstreet says, "It's our position that there are other alternatives and therefore when the court balances interests between the municipality's right to zone and the counties right to choose a place to have their jail that the local government should have prevailed."
The County has been spending just over a million dollars shipping inmates out and some feel this process has gone on long enough.
Chairman Bono says, "I think it's time to end, the tax payers are the ones suffering on this. We can save money, we've proven we can save money through our figures. And the time is right, labor costs are down, interest rates are down, material costs are down. Now's the time to build and any further delay is just going to is just going to cause the property tax payer money."