By MORGAN FRISCH
Recorder News Staff
JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted on a resolution last week opposing legislation that would raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 due to the financial impact it could have on the county.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on April 9, 2014 to establish the commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice to develop a plan to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York state.
According to the supervisors’ resolution, probation departments will not be able to absorb the influx of youth requiring services at the current staffing levels and if approved, other county agencies such as juvenile detention and community support services do not have alternative sources of income to support additional responsibilities.
Perth Town Supervisor Gregory Fagan said the sheriff, district attorney and public defender were all against this proposal.
According to the resolution, the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Statistics revealed the number of arrests among 16 and 17 year olds statewide in 2015 was 27,281 and under the proposed change, youths will be shifted to criminal courts to the local probation departments.
“Young people sometimes make mistakes and I think it’s time for our state to join the 48 other states in doing this, but the burden shouldn’t be going on the backs of county taxpayers who are already stretched too thin,” Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young said.
Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr., said he is against the mandate part of this proposal.
“If the state’s going to implement this then they need to come up with the money,” he said. “They can’t keep pushing the burden on the counties.”
According to the resolution, counties can’t absorb new financial costs associated with raising the age without 100 percent funding of the additional staff and services that would be required by the proposal. The supervisors insist in the resolution any costs incurred by the probation department and other agencies that would be affected by raising the age would be paid by the state.
Gloversville 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene was against the mandates as well.
“I agree with what the other supervisors brought up,” he said. “I agree with that 100 percent that the state is looking to push something down on the counties that will give the county responsibilities and the county will have to pay for it.”