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Legislature asks for bail reform delay ADVERTISEMENT

Legislature asks for bail reform delay

SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Schuyler County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution to implore New York state to delay bail reforms set to go into effect Jan. 1 during the Monday Dec. 9 meeting.
The resolution states that many criminals will be released back into the streets with nothing but a ticket to appear in court for multiple serious crimes "including several subcategories of homicide and manslaughter, resulting in those responsible for these deaths being released back in the community of grieving families."
With County Administrator Tim O'Hearn on vacation, outgoing Chairman Dennis Fagan ran what will be his last meeting after 16 years on the board.
Despite urging New York state to delay or stop bail reforms, calling them an unfunded mandate, Fagan did say he has good news relating to tax revenue.
Sales tax revenue through the first 10 months of the year is up roughly $310,000 over last year with October alone up roughly six percent.
"It is only a matter of time I think until the sales tax revenue will match the amount of revenue generated through property tax," Fagan said.
He added that with the increasing importance of sales tax revenue it makes sense to continue to invest and support the tourism industry. The boon in revenue resulted in a lengthy public discussion session where residents Alan Hurley and Paul Bartow asked for increased internet investment in places like Tyrone.
"The internet is everything now, and we are really far behind," Bartow said.
When it was his turn to speak Hurley repeatedly said that he was tired of preferential status being given to corporations like Walmart Inc. when residents still don't have the infrastructure they need. This led to Legislator Phil Barnes asking if Hurley "ever shuts up."
Hurley and Bartow immediately said that was no way for a legislator to speak to a tax paying resident of Schuyler County. Barnes apologized, and then explained why he thought Hurley was not only belaboring his point, but incorrect in his assessment.
"You don't listen," Barnes said to Hurley.
After the meeting Hurley said that he did not appreciate being spoken to by Barnes in that way and felt offended.
In the end Fagan brought the issue to a close by saying the legislature also wants expanded internet access for the County.
"(O'Hearn) is working on that right now, what do you want us to do, micromanage him? Because that's not how we do things," Fagan said.
Also brought up during the public session was whether or not a background check was performed on current County Attorney Steven Getman before he was initially hired by the county.
Barnes said that during the interview process and checking on references he was made aware of Getman's history working for Seneca County and all the issues involved. These issues, which resulted in multiple convictions of Seneca employees but not Getman, who was not indicted, did not stop individual villages and towns in Seneca from wanting to work with Getman.
"Everyone spoke very highly of him," Barnes said.
After the meeting Fagan said that while he was very proud of his time in the legislature, it was time for some "new blood."

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