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The state said it could cost nearly $100 million. But now, one company has presented a design for Sullivan County Jail it says would cost way less. Our Eva McKend is standing by in Monticello with more.
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- It's the oldest jail in the state.
"Our jail is over 100 years old. We know that there are tremendous deficiencies there and we know there are potential safety issues. We know that this project needs to move forward," said Scott Samuelson, Sullivan County Legislative Chair.
The Missouri based Goldberg Group Architects say they can build a new steel cell jail for 40 million dollars, about half the state's estimate.
"When I come into a community, at the point that they so desperately need it, it usually is the largest capital project that community has ever seen," said Lawrence Goldberg, Goldberg Group Architects President.
The group faced some controversy in Mississippi. Reports say they were fired from a job last year. The groups President says that was a non-issue, they've built hundreds of jails around the country and if selected they will hire locally and save the county money.
"My goal is to stay within the tax cap, otherwise we are going to have to drastically reduce services," said Cindy Gieger, Sullivan County Legislator.
A finalized plan would still need to be approved by the state's Commission of Correction. The commission has repeatedly said they will shut down the county jail if improvements aren't made or if the building is not replaced. The Sheriff says all involved must continue to weigh all of the viable options.
They are shrinking the square footage of the jail. We have to look at what they have done, if that is adequate. We have to look at officer safety, we have to look at things that we have the ability to control, that there is enough space, other jails have had riots. It's a complicated thing. It has to be functional," said Michael Schiff, Sullivan County Sheriff.
The state says Sullivan County will need a facility with a minimum of 265 beds. The company actually owns a property in the Town of Thompson, but hasn't been able to move forward due to the fiscal reality.