West Carthage mayor: be ready for asylum seekers
WEST CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - A letter to Jefferson County legislators from one local mayor is pleading with them to remain ‘proactive’ about people crossing the border into the U.S., seeking asylum.
The letter from West Carthage mayor Scott Burto comes in the wake of a phone call to one area motel about its capabilities to possibly house asylum seekers in the north country.
Burto’s letter to the county legislature expresses his concerns about the county’s readiness to receive migrants.
“Writing that letter to them wasn’t about politics, or policies or how we got here. It’s a concern at a local level we’re not taking the lessons we’re learning from other areas, and being proactive in our decision making, and putting a plan in place,” Burto said.
It’s a plan, Burto said, he did not see in place recently in either Erie or Schenectady counties.
“There’s a concern locally, do why have the resources to protect the services that we provide. The health and the safety of our residents,” Burto said.
Burto says he is urging lawmakers to be proactive, as the Pleasant Night Inn in West Carthage already received a phone call asking about its availability.
“The company just inquired about how many rooms, and all the details regarding the hotel. But they’re just gathering the information for the future purpose. We don’t have any contract or anything,” said Paresh Patel, the Pleasant Night Inn’s owner.
The motel cannot currently house seekers for longer than 30 days due to a recent change by Carthage’s code enforcement.
“If they needed the facility, we want to go the legal way with the village permission. As well as county, and the state government’s permission,” Patel said.
Jefferson County Administrator Robert Hagemann tells 7 News the county is staying ready and is in communication with both local and state agencies about possible next steps.
Burto hopes the legislature’s next step is to call a special meeting addressing the West Carthage concerns.
Read Mayor Burto’s letter in full below:
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