Loss of Correctional Facility Hurts County, Recycling

Oswego, NY – Madison County officials say Governor Andrew Cuomo's choice of Camp Georgetown for closure will hurt the local economy beyond the nearly 100 jobs it eliminates.

As WRVO's Joyce Gramza reports, the county is also losing the camp's inmates.

As the transfer of inmates out of Camp Georgetown Correctional Facility gets underway, James Aecca says they'll be missed.

"It's definitely going to hurt," Zecca says.

Zecca is director of Madison County's Department of Solid Waste Management. He says the camp's inmate work program has provided much-appreciated manpower to the county's recycling program for 19 years. He says they boosted its scrap metal value ten-fold, to more than 100-thousand dollars a year.

"I have to scramble to figure out how we're going to continue some of these programs and of course we're going to lose scrap value because of the work they do to separate the non-ferrous metals, which are aluminum, copper and brass that are very valuable," says Zecca. "We're just not going to have the manpower to do that type of work."

The landfill bartered the inmate labor for free disposal of the camp's waste. Zecca says the recycling program is state mandated but he's not sure how they'll keep it going.

"We're hoping that we will be able to work something out possibly with the sheriff's department but I just don't know," he says.

Zecca says the program gave inmates productive work and prepared them for release by teaching them a trade and even certifying them to operate certain equipment. He says local lawmakers are still trying to persuade the governor to reconsider.