Public Safety Complex Information & Jail Proposal

Informational Meeting

The Cortland County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Cortland County Legislature will held a public information session on Monday, March 28th to discuss the proposed Public Safety Complex.

This informational meeting was held in the Cortland County Office Building Auditorium at 60 Central Avenue. The building is handicapped accessible.

Presentation by Officials

Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms and County Undersheriff Budd Rigg will presented the latest information regarding the next steps toward construction of a new correctional facility.

Learn more about the need for a new public safety facility, related costs, and what the plans are to move the County forward and begin addressing the longstanding issue of overcrowding and inadequate facilities in Cortland County's correctional services.

Background of the Cortland County Jail

The current jail was completed in 1990, and while many desperate pleas were made to build a facility for 100 inmates, the Legislature at the time chose to build the facility to hold 50 inmates.

Future Needs

It was stressed at the time that a 50-bed facility would not meet the future needs of our County and its duty to address those members of our society that choose to break the law and require incarceration. It should be noted that Cortland County's jail is only jail of remote podular design in the entire United States. There has never been another jail built like this due to its ineffective and inefficient design.


The County has been paying for this shortfall for many years, which has been illustrated by numerous studies since 1990. Around the year 2000 the costs began to plague Legislatures due to the continual and rapid increase of people requiring incarceration. For the last 15 years the jail has been in the forefront of many conversations but there never has been a serious movement to address the problem. That is no longer the case, and like everything we work on, this matter requires our action now and we cannot afford to delay any longer.

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Knowing that we no longer could continue to ignore the problems and over run in costs, the Legislature in 2014 authorized releasing a RFP to secure pricing for an architectural firm to design and oversee the construction of a brand new Public Safety Facility, optimizing a plan for the County's services of Sheriff, Jail and Emergency Services.

RFP's were received from SMRT and LaBella Associates. Both firms were interviewed and at the present time the Advisory Group is recommending retaining the services of SMRT Architects and Engineers.


The studies that have been done over the years, the current state of our existing facility, a pending NYS Department of Corrections report and the current economic market conditions really highlight and validate our justification for needing to act on this issue now.

You may submit questions about this project via email.