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Probation office finds new location

The Cattaraugus County Probation Department's Salamanca office will move to the county's transfer station off Route 353 north of the city.

Legislators authorized the Public Works Department to renovate a nearby office building to accommodate probation officers after David Rivet, the department's director, presented cost estimates to the Public Works Committee last week.

The project is expected to cost $8,500 for materials and $5,000 for labor from Public Works and Social Services crews. The renovated structure will have a waiting room, a supervisor's office and an interview room. The figures include paint, carpeting, a replacement window and an air conditioner.

The county-owned office building, unoccupied for eight years, initially raised questions of security, the lack of a sidewalk for probationers to reach the structure and odors from nearby refuse handling operations.

Rivet said selecting a former slaughterhouse on Main Street would have cost more. Rent for the 1,100-square-foot structure, owned by the Salamanca Industrial Development Agency, would run $11 to $12 per square foot, he estimated.

The Probation Department has lacked a permanent office since midsummer, when officers began moving from the Dudley Hotel to the Community Action-owned facility on Jefferson Street. But that was halted after city officials complained it could endanger families and children receiving services nearby.

Since then, probation officers have been meeting with clients in spare offices in the Salamanca City Building. That arrangement is expected to continue at least through next month.

Gerald Zimmerman, the Probation Department's director, told committee members he had not investigated two other alternative sites but noted they also are located near near the Community Action facility and would require probationers to travel through residential neighborhoods.

"It would be better for us to be downtown, but we will work with whatever we have to work with. Either of those locations [the Main Street building or the county's transfer station offices] will meet our needs," Zimmerman said.

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