June 22, 2022

West Carthage feels ripple effect of displaced Watertown area residents

WEST CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) – The closure of Watertown’s 661 Factory Street and the Relax Inn just outside the city has presented a challenge to county leaders to find spaces to put displaced occupants. Now, in West Carthage, the mayor say his village is feeling the repercussions of it.

Some of the people who were kicked out landed at the Pleasant Night Inn on North Broad Street in West Carthage. Mayor Scott Burto saying residents who have been placed there are putting a strain on the village’s part-time police department

“The other day one woman was arrested twice in the same day and she kicked one of my officers, you know, so, it’s becoming more and more of a concern,” said Burto.

He says the police department is now getting called to the inn 4 or 5 times a day. Before, police might go all day without one call.

“Adding these calls to it and the time they are spending there, it cuts into time they could be, you know, protecting the rest of the community in the village,” said Burto.

The owner of the inn said there are currently about 10 to 12 Department of Social Services placements staying at the hotel, some from Jefferson and Lewis counties.

When it comes to the police being called, he says sometimes the occupants just don’t cooperate, leaving him no choice but to call.

The owner also says it costs about $30,000 a month to keep the place open, so if DSS comes looking for rooms, he does take some people in to make sure the hotel stays afloat.

But Burto asks: at what cost?

“People make choices and unfortunately his choices are harmful to our community that he is trying to do business in,” he said.

Some of the occupants have been displaced from places like 661 Factory Street and the Relax Inn. DSS is running out of spaces to work with.

Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray says it’s a problem they are continuing to work on.

“We are doing the best to try and express this forward and try to bring some resolutions to this, whatever they may be at this point,” he said.

Gray says to find those solutions, the county is assembling a group to start having conversations about the county’s homeless situation.

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