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Jun 9, 2010 1:18 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

County overrides veto of homeless sex offender legislation

Jun 9, 2010 1:18 PM

In a close vote on Tuesday, the Suffolk County Legislature was able to override County Executive Steve Levy’s veto of legislation designed to overhaul the municipality’s homeless sex offender housing policies.

Twelve votes were needed to override Mr. Levy’s May 26 veto of legislation that aims to put an end to the county’s voucher system, and more evenly spread out the county’s homeless sex offender population. The measure passed 13-5.

The legislation, introduced by Presiding Officer William Lindsay, had been approved by a 14-4 margin on May 11. It calls for the end of the voucher system, which provides homeless sex offenders $90 a day to find lodging and food on their own, and gives the county’s Department of Social Services 30 days to find another way of housing the offenders. The county is required by state law to provide all homeless people, including released sex offenders, with temporary housing.

The homeless sex offenders are currently housed in two trailers; one is located off Old Country Road in Westhampton, and the other is near the Suffolk County Jail complex in Riverside. The bill also calls for no more than six offenders to be placed in each emergency shelter, all of which must be under 24-hour surveillance. Additionally, the legislation requires that the burden of housing the homeless sex offenders be shared throughout the county.

Mr. Levy rejected the bill because he said the Department of Social Services will be unable to meet its state obligation to house the homeless. In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Levy said the bill will force the county to continue using the two trailers.

In another development, Southampton Town secured a permanent injunction Tuesday that prevents Suffolk County from using an upgraded trailer with showers and facilities at the Westhampton site. According to town officials, the trailer cannot be used until litigation between Southampton Town and Suffolk County over the placement of the trailer is settled, something that could take months or years.

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By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 14, 10 11:02 AM
In my enthusiasm above, I neglected to note that Steve Levy is using transparent scare tactics when he says the Lindsay legislation will force the County to continue using the two trailers for homeless sex offenders that have been criminally left in Southampton Town for three years now. In fact, it's a matter of fiscal priorities. If the money can be found -- and Mr. Levy can find it if he wants to -- the program can work. Granted it may be a great expense, but there's been a great injustice ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 14, 10 11:09 AM