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Colonie to propose licensing fees for hotels/motels that take sex offenders

Colonie town officials will be introducing a proposed law that would create restrictions on hotel and motel owners who house sex offenders including a licensing fee during its regular Town Board meeting on Thursday, July 16.

The two-fold proposal would apply to all hotels and motelsand other housing situations that take sex offendersin the town, and would ask that all establishments that take referrals, placements and payments on behalf of the government for a sex offender to be housed in their establishment go to the town clerk's office and apply for an annual license.

The fee associated with the license depends on the number of units at the establishment: for an establishment with 50 units or fewer, the licensing fee would be $1,500 per year and for an establishment with 51 or more units, the fee would be $3,000 per year.

The fees for the license are only a fraction of what the hotel and motel owners who make a business out of taking sex offenders make in one month, according to Town Attorney Michael Magguilli, who said that Albany County pays $45 per day to the establishments who take sex offenders, equaling $1,350 for a 30-day month.

Magguilli said that housing sex offenders in the town ends up costing a lot of money in different ways. "Two years ago, we only had one police officer working part time on sex offender registration issues," he said. "Now, we have one full-time and one part-time [officer] doing nothing but sex offender residency issues. So, they're using our resources to an unfair extent."

And that is only the administrative costs associated with housing sex offenders, Magguilli said, which does not include the costs associated with having to mail nearby residents letters every time a sex offender moves in to their neighborhood.

The second part of the proposed law involves limiting the number of sex offenders that can live at each establishment based on a points system. The sex offenders are given a number of points based on the level of their offenses as assigned by their sentencing judges.

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