A proposed $150 thousand dollar study to that would look at sites for a new Cortland County Jail took another step forward Thursday.
Lawmakers on the County Budget and Finance Committee approved spending the money to hire an engineer to identify 6 potential sites for the new correctional facility and public safety building.
The new jail has an estimated price tag of more than $38 million dollars. The county is spending over half a million dollars a year sending inmates to other jails due to overcrowding in the current jail. Taxpayers are also footing the bill for increased transportation costs, overtime, and other related expenses.
Whitney says the current jail, which is 25 years old, is not only overcrowded but is also in need of substantial repairs including water and sewer updates.
Some opponents of the project have questioned whether it would be cheaper to keep sending inmates to other jails instead of building new and increasing the long-term expense.
Whitney points out that the county could offset costs by accepting inmates from other jails.
The full legislature will vote on the expense next week. Total engineering costs for the new jail are estimated at over $3 million dollars.