State lawmakers push for law to save Watertown $3M on city courtroom

Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 3:02 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - State lawmakers are pushing for Governor Cuomo to a sign a bill into law that could save the city of Watertown $3 million. It has to do with the controversial second city courtroom project.

Watertown city Lawmakers have long said they don't need, nor should they have to pay for a second city courtroom. Right now there is a bill waiting for the governor's signature.

"Right now we haven't heard any indication that the governor wouldn't sign bill so we are hopeful he will sign it soon," said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R.- 116th District).

Here's what that bill does - it takes the number of Watertown city judges from two to one full-timer and a part-timer, and without two full-time judges, the argument is the city won't need two courtrooms, a state mandate.

The second city courtroom along with other upgrades would cost $3 million.

"This is a perfect example of us doing the right thing, having a right size for our court system and doing something that makes sense to save taxpayer dollars here in the city of Watertown," said Walczyk.

State Senator Pattie Ritchie has also been pushing for the bill to be signed. She sent a letter to Cuomo's office last week.

"I wanted to make sure that the he understood how important it is to the city of Watertown that this would reduce a huge cost on the taxpayers of the city of Watertown and now is the time to do it since there will be an opening," said Ritchie (R. - 48th District).

Meanwhile, city officials say they are thankful for the work of state lawmakers.

"We are really looking forward to the governor signing this bill for the sake of the city just to kind of have that piece of mind and we can put this behind us," said Ryan Henry-Wilkinson, city council member.

Cuomo has until the end of the year to sign the bill into law.

While the city may not need to build the second courtroom, if it becomes law, its current courtroom will need some work. How much is up to state judicial system to decide.

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