Walczyk, Ritchie bill to eliminate need for second City of Watertown courtroom signed into law by Gov. Cuomo

WATERTOWN, NY —   State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk and State Senator Patty Ritchie announced Tuesday that legislation they sponsor that would reduce the amount of Judges in the City of Watertown, which eliminates a $3 million price tag for a new courtroom, has been signed into law.

Walczyk and Ritchie introduced the measure (A.10514/S/.3802) at the request of, and with the full support of Mayor Jeff Smith and the Watertown City Council, which reverts the number of City Court Judges to one full-time and one part-time.  In 2014, the amount of judges increased to two full-time after the City did not ask for the change, nor was the increase recommended by the State.  With this legislation now law, Watertown taxpayers will not have to pick up the tab for a roughly $3 million courtroom that would have accommodated the second full-time judge.

With the Governor signing this legislation, City of Watertown taxpayers will save roughly $375 by not having to pick up the tab of a new courtroom.

“The taxpayers in the City of Watertown are the real winners here,” said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk.  “Local governments are trying to stretch every dollar to serve the people so asking Watertown residents to foot the bill for a new, multimillion-dollar courtroom while the economy is still recovering from the COVID pandemic was in poor taste.  I thank Governor Cuomo for exercising common sense and signing our proposal into law.  This was the right thing and I’m glad to see that practicality has prevailed.”

“The signing of this bill is a tremendous win for the City of Watertown, and its taxpayers,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for recognizing the need to provide Watertown with relief from this costly unfunded mandate. In addition, I would like to thank Assemblyman Walczyk and Mayor Jeff Smith for partnering with me on this important effort to spare hardworking Watertown taxpayers from an unnecessary, $3 million second city courtroom.”

“It’s been clear since day one, the City of Watertown cannot afford a new courtroom and it would have been foolish for this bill to not get signed,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith.  “I’d like to thank Assemblyman Walczyk and Senator Ritchie for their tireless advocacy in getting this bill signed into law and removing an unfunded mandate from Albany.”

A.10514/S.8302 passed both the Assembly and Senate earlier this year and received an overwhelming amount of bipartisan support.