Oswego County Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd did not receive approval for the full amount of funds requested to address the costs of jail overcrowding.
During a recent meeting, the legislature considered a resolution to transfer $900,000 from the appropriated fund balance to cover the cost of housing inmates in other county facilities.
Legislator Dan LeClair made a motion to amend the resolution to reduce the amount to $400,000.
“The reason is I believe there are other alternatives and we need to investigate those alternatives,” he said.
Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler said the legislature is aware of the cost of housing the inmates in other facilities and added that the reduction may make state lawmakers more aware of the growing problem.
Legislator Shawn Doyle said he would echo what LeClair and Kunzwiler stated. He added that the sheriff is doing a very good job in attempting to find alternate means.
“We need to support our sheriff but doing this keeps it public,” Doyle said.
Legislator Art Ospelt noted that by making the budget transfer requests more frequent, there is more publicity shone on the jail overcrowding problem. “We get more bang for our buck,” he said.
Majority Leader Jack Proud said the implications are that the money requested is for current expenses and agreed that by trickling the money, it give more attention to the problem.
“We have state closing prisons and many of their parole violators are returned to the county,” he said. “This problem is not going to go away. This problem is only going to grow and grow. We need help from New York state.”
He added that state lawmakers need to take a serious look at the problem.
Legislator Doug Malone said the sheriff needs the money. “You spent money on more foolish stuff than this,” he said. “Why go back every month to do this?”
The bill has to be paid, Malone noted.