County Jail Improvements Come In Under Budget

MAYVILLE – A piece of good news was delivered to the Audit and Control Committee on Thursday morning – improvements to the County Jail will cost less than what was projected in the 2014 budget.

The most discussed item on Thursday morning’s agenda was a resolution authorizing three capital improvements at the County Jail and Sheriff’s Office at a cost of just over $4 million, which will require the issuance of bonds in the same amount.

Kitty Crow, budget director, explained that while the three projects were included in the 2014 budget, they were originally budgeted individually.

Now, all three have been combined into one contract. Additionally, surplus from a capital project completed at the jail in recent years totaling $435,670 will be designated for the new projects.

After they are combined for one bid and the surplus is included, the county will have to borrow less money than originally planned, Crow said.

The resolution will require a two-thirds majority vote from the legislature for approval.

Undersheriff Charles Holder was in attendance to request the committee approve acceptance of a grant award in the amount of $120,032 from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, with no local share.

A portion of the grant, $91,555, will be designated for supplies and equipment toward narcotics control, while $26,913 will be used for personnel services in conjunction with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. The remainder is to be used for employee benefits.

Moving forward, the full County Legislature will vote Wednesday to approve Robert Berke, M.D., former county health director, as the physician of the County Jail.

Holder said the part-time position will cost $30,000 per calendar year with the salary adjusted for the remainder of 2014 if Berke is approved.

In other matters, Christine Schuyler, director of Health and Human Services, was in attendance to explain a recent grant award from the New York State Health Foundation in the amount of $35,000 to increase awareness about breastfeeding.

“We have a very low breastfeeding rate in this county,” Schuyler said, adding that rates are tracked through WIC participant numbers and data from hospitals.

The grant required a 50 percent match, which was acquired through donations from local foundations including $25,000 from Univera, $10,000 from the Health Foundation of Western New York and $2,500 from the Sheldon Foundation.

“We were very fortunate to receive this funding,” Schuyler said, adding that the grant will be used to increase community support in hospitals, primary care practices and workplaces.