In front of a standing room only crowd, the Broome County Legislature voted to accept New York state funding for an addiction treatment center on Wednesday.
The nearly $2.7 million comes through the state’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, or OASAS. The facility will be located at the former Broome County Developmental Center in Binghamton. It’s expected to be hold 50 beds for supervised withdrawal and stabilization. Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare will provide services.
The debate over the facility has been heated over the last few months. Republican Legislative Chairman Dan Reynolds initially wanted to wait until at least the new year, saying he didn’t have enough information and head questions about whether taxpayer dollars would be used.
This decision was criticized by Democratic County Executive Jason Garnar. “Every day the Chairman waits to accept state funding for treatment, another life is lost. The time for debate has ended, the time for action is now,” Garnar tweeted at the time.
About a week later, Reynolds changed his mind and said the meeting would be held in December, after all.
Before the scheduled session, the legislature held a Committee of the Whole where they voiced concerns and posed questions to representatives from OASAS and SBH. Some in the legislature cite this meeting as an important part in their final decision. Many blasted the process, saying the legislature was kept in the dark and that some elected officials withheld information.
Ultimately, the vote was included in Wednesday’s agenda. Reynold’s voted no along with Stephen Flagg, Michael Sopchak and Cindy O’Brien. All are Republicans.
“You know this is going to be the third largest facility in the state of New York. It’s four times the size of the ones in upstate. There aren’t a lot of test cases,” Reynolds said after, explaining his vote.
“There isn’t a lot of information on what we can expect to be the financial impact on the community,” He explained. “They mentioned to begin with this will be a local facility. It’s not, based on the numbers. They mentioned it would not cost the taxpayers anything. We found out through SBH’s budget that there was a cost put in the budget on it.”
The state funding is secured only through the first year. The facility is expected to open in April.