Press-Republican

Wednesday

April 23, 2014

Franklin County DA ticked at legislators

(Continued)

‘SAVES COUNTY MONEY’

Champagne said the grant program has paid for cameras the county installed and had Green connect in Fort Covington as part of policing the international border with Canada.

But the cameras are also used by the County Emergency Services dispatchers to monitor the water level of the Salmon River, which frequently floods that community.

“I think that is an appropriate use of county resources,” the DA said of Green’s time. 

Each grant, he added, saves the county money in equipment purchases and setup, and it is funding taxpayers didn’t have to come up with for these law-enforcement initiatives.

He said Police Department in the Village of Tupper Lake — where Maroun is mayor — received a license-plate reader through Stonegarden grant funds, and the villages of Malone and Saranac Lake each got a new Chevrolet Tahoe.

‘INSULTING’

“It’s disheartening to hear Mr. Maroun’s comments and disheartening that some of the other legislators, not the new ones, failed to come to our defense, even the county manager,” Champagne said, referring to Thomas Leitz.

“Many of them know firsthand the benefits their communities have had from these grants, and to say (Green’s work on Stonegarden) is not a county expense? It’s insulting.

He said he will request time during an open session of the legislature to explain how important Stonegarden is.

“But I am seriously reassessing the time my office spends on grants and the county as lead in the Reserve Center,” Champagne said, referring to his application to have the federal surplus building on Finney Boulevard turned over to the county.

The reuse proposal the DA drew up would house, to start, the county’s Narcotics and Border Protection Unit with other law-enforcement entities in addition to the Public Health Nursing Service and storage space for Emergency Services equipment.

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