Drug treatment center funding dispute

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - State Senator Fred Akshar and County Executive Jason Garnar are blasting the Broome County Legislature for not scheduling a vote on state funding for a drug treatment center. 

According to the County Exec's office, the legislature's leadership has decided not to consider $2.9 million in state funding at its meetings this month.

The money would create detox and residential treatment beds at a vacant building at the Broome Developmental Center.

Garnar announced in October the selection of Syracuse Behavioral Health as the treatment provider.

In a news release from Akshar this afternoon, the Senator criticized the legislature's inaction, saying it will cost lives as more people die from overdose deaths while seeking treatment.

E-mails to Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds have gone unanswered, however, when the funding was announced 2 weeks ago, Reynolds released a statement indicating that he and his colleagues had been kept in the dark about the funding process and that they needed more time to consider the merits of the project.

Garnar has scheduled a public hearing on the issue for next Tuesday at 5:30 in the Legislative Chambers.

Here’s the full text of Akshar’s news release:

"To move forward, this project simply needs the Broome County Legislature to vote to accept funding from the State to bring much-needed addiction treatment services to the former Broome Developmental Center, just as they have accepted state funding for other projects. 

I’m disappointed that this resolution hasn’t been added to either of the Legislature’s two meetings this month, nor has a Committee of the Whole been called to further discuss it. As I've said in the past, the Broome County Legislature needs to do their due diligence on this project, but they have been part and parcel to this conversation for months. Any unnecessary delay does nothing but hurt Southern Tier families and prevents us from saving lives. 

When President Trump and Governor Cuomo can both agree that the heroin and opioid epidemic has become a public health crisis and requires action, you know it truly is a pervasive issue. Anyone who thinks that we're already doing enough to combat this epidemic clearly has their head buried in the sand. In the business world, time means money. When dealing with the heroin and opioid epidemic, time means lives.”

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