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Sex offender lawsuit mulled

Albany County Legislator Patty Lockhart, R-Albany, said Colonie's growing sex-offender population is the result of state and county problems.

"It really is a county and a state problem," she told those assembled at the July 16 Colonie Town Board meeting. Lockhart said the county is having a difficult time satisfying the state laws, and Albany County has become a "dumping ground" for the state's sex offenders.

Frank Blake lives near the so-called sex-offender hot spots on Central Avenue west of Route 155.

"My sympathy goes to any victim. It does not go to any sexual offender," he said.

Blake said he has noticed an increase in crime in that area, something Mahan said she agreed with.

"It is not just the problem of an over-concentration of sex offenders," said Mahan. "It's the overlying problem of an area that's deteriorating. I think revitalization is a wonderful idea, but in the interim, the only defense it sounds like we have, would be financial. And since these places do put an extreme stress on law enforcement, and with the potential incidents is there anything the town can do to burden these motels and these proposed properties to obviously help the police force financially to prevent further victims?"

Mahan said the proposed law would do just that.

The two-fold proposal would require housing establishments that take in sex offenders through referrals, placements and payments on behalf of the government to apply for an annual license at the town clerk's office.

The fee associated with the license depends on the number of units at the establishment: for an establishments 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.

A public hearing on the law is scheduled for the Thursday, Aug. 6, Town Board meeting, at 7 p.m.

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