Supervisor Bays questions decision to build, finance jail

NORWICH – After unanimously passing next year’s $79.2 million budget on Wednesday, a member of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors addressed the board about what he called “a haze” surrounding the decision to move forward on building the new Public Safety Facility.

Supervisor James B. Bays, D-Smyrna, said he did not have “a global picture” of how the capital project was financed, how operations are currently afforded and where public safety in the county is headed in the future.

“I need help articulating where we are in regard to the global picture. We do have a good story to tell now, and maybe I’m the only one who is out of touch with this, but I think other citizens would appreciate more information about the jail decision,” he said.

Bays was elected to office in 2006, defeating Republican Gerald E. Parry, Sr. who served from 1992-05. He previously represented Smyrna as supervisor from 1988 to 1992.

The Chenango County Public Safety Facility opened in 2005, following a multi-year planning and building project, at a cost of $26 million. A dedicated 1 percent sales tax was instituted within the county in order to afford construction and, later, for operations and a new countywide emergency communications system.

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