Municipalities feeling the crunch of state cut backs at Camp Pharsalia

PHARSALIA – The battle to keep the minimum security prison camps in Pharsalia and Georgetown from being closed in the sweeping state budget cuts has gained the support of some local municipalities.

The Village of Greene, among others in the area, has drafted a letter detailing the services that work crews from the camp provide and the cost spared to local taxpayers.

“In the past, the village has been fortunate enough to have inmate work crews from Camp Pharsalia provided much-needed service,” said Greene Mayor Marcia E. Miller in the statement.

Miller said the village had benefited from the prison work crews “for approximately the past 20 years.” According to Miller, crews come to the village at various points in the year to do maintenance jobs such as raking leaves, cleaning up after special events and keeping the sidewalks clear of debris.

The statement also reports that inmate work crews help at Greene’s United Methodist Church. The mayor estimated the amount of labor provided by Camp Pharsalia work crews saves village residents as much as $5,000 annually.

The New York State Department of Correctional Services estimates the closure of Pharsalia and Georgetown, along with the two other camps, will save the state $26 million in the 2009-2010 budget and $29 million more in the projected 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Camp Pharsalia, located in Chenango County, is a minimum-security facility with 84 full-time equivalent employees.

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