CANTON — State police are one more vote away from the St. Lawrence County Legislature renewing their long-standing lease to retain a barracks in the St. Lawrence County Public Safety Complex.
County lawmakers Monday night, during a county Finance Committee meeting, voted in favor of a five-year contract to keep the state police in the 3,323 square-foot barracks at the 48 1/2 Court St. location, which also houses the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Central Dispatch and St. Lawrence County Emergency Services, among other departments.
A final vote to approve the contract between the county and the state police will take place during the next full County Legislature meeting.
“We have a long-standing relationship with the New York State Police, which I think over the last, coming up on decade, has been plagued with conversation about where and what would be the best solution for the state police as far as facilities,” County Administrator Ruth A. Doyle told lawmakers Monday night.
On Feb. 27, 2015, county government officials served state police a 30-day eviction notice for the space they have used for more than two decades at the Public Safety Complex.
The notice was served one year following the expiration of the agency’s 20-year lease with the county in February 2014.
For the past 12 months, New York State Police have been paying the county government approximately $2,800 per month in order to stay on the premises.
After an agreement was reached between the state police and the county and a new five-year lease, to expire March 31, was signed, state police submitted a legal notice published in the Nov. 27, 2018 edition of the Watertown Daily Times seeking proposals from landlords interested in entering into a lease agreement with state police. The targeted areas included the towns of Canton and Potsdam.
The notice indicated state police would seek a 20-year lease agreement for new construction and a five-year lease for existing commercial space.
At that time, Mrs. Doyle said there were no discussions about the use of the space.
Under Monday’s resolution, the terms of a new deal reached between the state police and the county were spelled out.
The new lease with the state police would run April 1 through March 31, 2025 to include an annual increase of three percent from the base of $53,168, which state police currently pay.
The rent will be:
— $54,763 from April 1 though March 31, 2021;
— $56,405 from April 1, 2021 though March 31, 2022;
— $58,097 from April 1, 2022 though March 31, 2023;
— $59,839 from April 1, 2023 though March 31, 2024; and
— $61,634 from April 1, 2024 though March 31, 2025.
The resolution pointed to a 27-year colocation of the state police in the current location, which has “proved for a positive professional relationship and has created benefits for the County and the Agency.”
“They will retain the space they occupy, they will transfer some parking spaces back to the county, they will look at, after a five-year, flat-rate increase over the prior five years, they will look at a three percent increase per year,” Mrs. Doyle said. “So that will take them from about a $16 per square foot, which I think is a relative number depending on where you look, up to about an $18 per square foot by the end of this lease.”
She said it was movement on the part of the state police.
“We have a great relationship with law enforcement in that building and with dispatch I think it is something that works very well,” she said.