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Republican County Legislator Speaks Out on Proposed Drug Treatment Facility

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Republican County Legislator and Majority Leader, Stephen Flagg says he's not against some type of drug treatment facility in Broome but adds that he needs more time to review the proposal before casting his vote.

"I don't want to be blindly rushing into a decision that could potentially have huge impacts on this county," said Flagg. "I'm talking five years down the road, I'm not talking just about January 2018 and I don't want the completion of this community to be flipped around."

Flagg says the Legislature only had two weeks to review the proposed resolution from County Executive Jason Garnar. On December 1, the Broome County Legislature announced that they will not be voting on whether to open a drug treatment facility by the end of this year. At that time, Broome Legislative Chairman Dan Reynolds said the legislature was not able to review the project, pointing to a lack of transparency by County Executive Jason Garnar and members of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

Tonight, Flagg became the first Republican on the Legislature to speak publically after no Republicans showed up at Tuesday's hearing on the facility, which was hosted by Garnar who's a Democrat. Flagg says the Republicans had a caucus scheduled before Thanksgiving for this past Tuesday, which is why they were all absent. He adds that he won't be forced into a vote without the proper research first.

"I'm not going to be bullied into a vote, I'm going to take my time," said Flagg. "I'm going to understand the data and the data is going to drive me, the emotions aren't going to do it. I won't be bullied into voting on something that I'm not comfortable with."

He spoke for nearly 30 minutes at the beginning of the Fenton Board meeting on Wednesday night, addressing residents concerns and expressing why he feels its too soon to vote. After the meeting, he said the number of proposed beds doesn't equate to the number of people who qualify in Broome County for this type of treatment.

"This sounds like it's going to be a major regional facility and I don't know what the impacts to the county are going to be," said Flagg. 

Fox 40 reached out to Garnar for a comment but he was unavailable tonight.

Stay with Fox 40 - your source for local news for the latest information on this developing story.