CHATEAUGAY — Chateaugay Correctional Facility is no longer proposed for closure in the state budget.
Concern had raced through the North Country on Wednesday when it was learned that the prison may be targeted for closure instead of one of the two facilities named in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget.
Franklin County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones, who is also a correction officer, had brought the issue to local attention, and the Franklin County Legislature was prepared Thursday to oppose the measure.
But Thursday morning, legislators heard from Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) and Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), who assured them that closure of the prison was removed from the Assembly budget plan “in the wee hours of the morning,” said Jones.
“It was exciting news, and we’re just beyond happy we’re spared for another year,” Chateaugay Town Supervisor Don Bilow said. “It means a lot to the community, and the village has a contract with them for service, so it’s good for everybody. Plus, there are a lot of good jobs there. We’re just delighted.”
When the governor and State Legislature leaders agreed on a $135 billion budget deal late Wednesday night, the language did not include Chateaugay, but if the spending plan passes as written, the state will shutter two correctional facilities downstate that the governor had identified: one in Manhattan and the other in Dutchess County.
“The governor is authorized to close the Bayview and Beacon correctional facilities … as he determines to be necessary for the cost-effective and efficient operation of the correctional system,” the budget bill states, as long as Cuomo gives 60 days prior notice of the closure.
The impacted communities are expected to be eligible for $100 million in assistance.
Legislators had drafted a resolution opposing the Chateaugay closure but pulled it when the news from Albany reached them.
Jones expressed the legislature’s thanks to Little and Duprey for their efforts in saving the prison, which was built in 1990 and employs more than 110 people.
Chateaugay was established as a drug- and substance-abuse treatment center, but its mission was changed a few years ago; it is now a site for parole violators to serve their sentences.
The state budget bill is in its final form and could be voted on Saturday.
Email Denise Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org