Press-Republican

Local News

March 1, 2010

Moriah Shock report touts economic impact

Delegation to argue prison closure will save little

ELIZABETHTOWN — An economic-impact report prepared for the Essex County Board of Supervisors says the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility pumps about $8 million a year into the local economy.

Board members will be taking the new report with them to Albany today when they go down to meet with area legislators over the proposed closure of the shock camp.

FEELING HOPEFUL

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay), Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) and County Manager Daniel Palmer will also be meeting with the governor's staff and representatives of the State Department of Correctional Services.

Douglas said that previous conversations with Gov. David Paterson and his aides have given them hope that Moriah Shock might be saved.

The governor listed the closure of four state prisons, including Moriah Shock and Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility, as a cost-saving move in his new state budget.

"All of us have an important role," Douglas said. "We have documents we'll present. I honesty feel if any of the four are pulled it will be Moriah Shock."

FACT-BASED EFFORT

The economic report, which will be released to the public after it's presented to the governor, was prepared by Colin Read, a professor of economics and finance at Plattsburgh State.

"We tried to stay away from the emotional side of it (closing Moriah Shock)," Palmer said. "We stayed with what the economic impact will be to us."

He said there may be only 100 jobs at Moriah Shock, but in a place like Essex County, that represents 1 percent of the total county job market.

"We're trying to provide that perspective that it may seem like a small amount of jobs, but it's not. We're wholly within the Adirondack Park. It's the state's responsibility to consider how that impacts us who live and work here. We're under a different set of rules than everybody else."

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