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Politics & Government

Syracuse Police Planning Security Detail At Troubled Skyline Apartment Building

WAER file photo

Syracuse Common Councilors are considering a security plan to address the crisis at the Skyline Apartment Complex. Syracuse Police First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile says they have a plan that they're hoping the owner of the building will sign off on.

"We are creating an overtime detail of  four officers for six hours a day, seven days a week.  Green National, LLC will reimburse the police for both those overtime costs and the fringe costs that go into that."

Cecile says the plan also includes pension costs. Councilors could approve the new security detail at their Monday meeting.  The city is taking action following last week’s murder of a 93-year-old woman in the building. Police are frequently called to Skyline for drug use, assaults, and disputes. Councilor-at-large Khalid Bey agrees that it is time to protect the residents of the James Street complex, but is conscious of the city incurring any long-term costs that are ultimately passed on to taxpayers.

"It's always a little tricky where we're offering service to solve an issue, but the very people we're looking to secure are paying the costs."

The City of Syracuse has declared the common areas of the Skyline Apartment Building unfit for occupancy after recent inspections that found feces, urine, and syringes in stairwells and hallways.  Conditions have been deteriorating in the 365-unit building for at least two years, when the city began citing building owner Green National for code violations. 

In this latest enforcement action, the city is filing a petition in state supreme court to seek a judgement against the owner to compel the company to correct all open code violations.  The city is also issuing a nuisance abatement order, citing 12 drug, weapons, or assault arrests at Skyline over the past two years.  It also compels Green National to make significant security upgrades, and allows for new fines, receivership by the city, and possibly criminal charges to ensure compliance. 

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is ordering all rent payments made on behalf of temporary assistance clients to be withheld immediately.  Onondaga County’s department of social services is offering reloction assistance to residents who are not clients andwould like to move out. Their number is 435-2700 and select Temporary Assistance.