1,000 New Jobs Possible

By Greg Catlin

1,000 New Jobs Possible

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 11, 2006 at 8:05 AM EST

Camp Pharsalia in Chenango County now has a little more than 100 jobs.

But, Governor Pataki is proposing 10 times that number.

He says a new facility for sex offenders on the site would create 1,000 jobs.

State Senator Thomas Libous (R – Binghamton) said, "It really is a major economic boon. I can tell you in my 18 years in office we seldom have a score where you can create a thousand jobs in public or private sector."

In the proposed state budget he unveils next week, the Governor will call for 130 million dollars to demolish Camp Pharsalia, a minimum security correctional facility.

Instead, he wants a new, secure 500 bed facility for sex offenders.

It would be a place to house sexual predators when they're released from prison, those the Governor says still represent a danger.

Town of Pharsalia Supervisor Dennis Brown said, "We've got a lot of questions. We're used to a minimum security prison, is this a lockdown? Have you been up to the camp? Yes. You saw, basically, you can walk around. I mean what kind of facility will it be, and how will it be operated?"

The Governor's controversial plan to keep violent sex offenders locked up after serving their prison time is called civil confinement, and it's being challenged in court.

But, he's pushing ahead with plans without a final court decision.

Terry Jamieson, a parent from Norwich is concerned.

She said, "It doesn't make me feel comfortable at all. I have two young children who are in this school district and stuff and it's just too close."

Senator Libous says questions about community safety would probably be overshadowed by the huge economic impact.

Governor Pataki says a new facility at Camp Pharsalia is expected to employ more than a thousand staff, with an annual payroll of $80 million.

If the Governor gets his way, a new facility for sex offenders will open in Chenango County in 2009.

Camp Pharsalia is now run by the State Department of Correctional Services.

If it's torn down and a new sex offender facility built, it will be run by the Office of Mental Health.

Of course, the Governor's plan and his proposed budget must be approved by the State Legislature.

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