The county’s Ways & Means Committee on Friday voted 4-1, with two absentees, to put a resolution to the full Legislature. The resolution calls for hiring the West Firm in Albany to further pursue the lawsuit between the village and county.
The state Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled last month that the county and the village must return to state Supreme Court to provide more detailed documentation on whether the county's interest in building a jail trumps the village of Herkimer's interest.
That overruled a previous decision by state Supreme Court Justice Erin Gall, who ruled in favor of the county, declaring Herkimer's amended zoning ordinance that prohibited construction of a jail “null and void.”
County Attorney Robert Malone said he recommended the firm because the lawsuit is a specialized matter.
“They’re experienced in these types of cases which are pre-emption cases, balancing of interests test and home rule rights of municipalities,” he said.
Malone said the cost of hiring outside council would be expensive:
$350 per hour for one attorney.
$225 per hour for another attorney.
$100 per hour for paralegal time.
“It’s not a question of what would be the cheapest, but what would be most advisable for the county and the taxpayers,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the county has hired outside counsel for pursuing the village location for the jail, Malone said. It also hired one to deal with environmental issues at the site.
For years, the county has been going through the motions of building a 130-bed facility — which is anticipated to cost between $33 million and $34 million as proposed by LaBella Associates — at the former P&C Foods site located on state Route 28 in Herkimer. The cost could change if the county moves forward with a new architect — Goldberg Group Architects, PC, based in Missouri — which is proposing a $16 million facility.
If the full Legislature approves a resolution to hire the firm Wednesday, there would be no time frame on the contract, Malone said.
Legislator Dennis Korce, R-Mohawk, voted against the plan.
“I’m still opposed to the construction of a jail. I haven’t changed my position,” he said.
Korce added that he believes there are alternatives to the construction, such as the consideration of a regional jail with Oneida County, which wasn’t fully explored.
“I think there was potential for discussion that was never had,” he said.
OF COURSE ITS NOT A QUESTION OF BEING THE CHEAPEST, MALONE YOU BALD HEADED PRICK, WHY WOULD IT BE, ITS NOT YOUR MONEY, YOU NO GOOD DO NOTHING DCIK, U TOO KORCE. U BUMS ARE NOTHING BUT PENSION PAD LEACHES WHO SUK US DRY, U TOO SHRECK WALLACE. GET OUTTA HERE ALAREADY/...
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