BATAVIA — Genesee County leaders are hope to get answers next week on what the costs of a 184-bed new jail would be in the current construction situation.
County Manager Matt Landers said there will be a meeting July 28 with SMRT Architects and Engineers, P.C., the engineer on the project, before deciding what to do next.
“They’re the ones that do the design work and Pike, our construction manager, they do the cost estimates. SMRT will be reporting on the cost estimates provided by Pike,” Landers said.
Landers said the county is looking at the jail as a Genesee County-only Jail right now, but that it would be in the same location, near County Building No. 2 on West State Street Road, that a joint jail with Orleans County would have been.
“Certainly in the future, we can add a pod or two and accommodate Orleans County if they want to jump on to our jail anytime in the future,” he said.
The current plans for the proposed jail still include room for 184 beds, he said.
During Monday’s Public Service Committee meeting, the county manager said SMRT is sticking with its estimate of 184 — that it’s not recommending changes based on the data it has.
“We should have that, along with the detailed cost estimate and then make some decisions and have some discussion next Wednesday (July 28) ...” he said.
Landers said the jail inmate population is holding steady in the mid-50s.
Committee member Marianne Clattenburg asked what the county would do if bids for the jail come in at three or four times the cost of what is anticipated, or if the cost of the jail is doubled.
“There’s so many supply chain issues out there right now,” she said.
“We (would) have to delay,” Landers said. “It depends on if the experts, the consultant, if they feel this trend is going to reverse itself and come back to earth. Three or four times, I don’t think we can build. I think we have to wait. If it’s a 20% increase or a 30% increase, I think we can look at design changes, potentially ...”
The county manager said he has reached out to Assemblymen Steve Hawley and Joseph Giglio to get their opinions on whether legislation is going to continue down the social justice reform road forever or whether there will be “a pendulum swing?” Landers said he’s trying to get an opinion from the assemblymen to inform the county as to what size to build the new jail.
“Everyone says it’s a challenge to be predicting what size 25 years out, with the situation for us and also with the obvious cost, the supply chain, the labor costs that are ... out there,” Landers said. “It’s a challenge, but the more people that can inform (the county) the better.”
Public Service Committee Chairman Gary Maha said, “Bail reform took a lot of discretion away from the judges and hoping that can get put back in some type of legislation.”
Committee member Gordon Dibble said at a Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) meeting, a parole representative shared a lot of concern about changes parole division is looking at.
Landers said, “Speaking of CJAC ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) ... was there saying that there’s enough inmates that they’re shipping detainees all over. They certainly are a resource for us, that when we build this, Day One, there’s enough individuals available to have board in (housed) to help offset costs.”