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Public offers mixed reviews on Niskayuna budget

Kathleen Gansfus, director of the Recreation Department, said she was displeased with actions the town had taken in forming the budget.

"As a taxpayer I am outraged to know that in July of this year the town board voted three to one, with one member absent for personal reasons, to create a new parttime position in town government. I am outraged to know that this position was created because it was said that 'there was nobody else presently working for the town who could be trusted and who was able to do this job,' and that a town resident came to the town offices looking for a job," said Gansfus.

"I am outraged to know that the position has primarily involved data entry into an online system and that this position pays $25 an hour. I am particularly outraged to know that the money needed to pay for this unbudgeted position had to be taken from the town's contingency account and that the Recreation Department has, essentially, for the last 25 years has been doing the same work for free. In these uncertain economic times, if money must be spent from the contingency fund, wouldn't it be better spent on essential services such as road repair, snow removal, etc. rather than duplicate work that is already being done?" said Gansfus.

Many residents who have children who participate in activities put on by the Recreation Department made glowing remarks about how much more efficient and better run it is now that it ever has been before, justifying the department's reorganization.

Resident Robert Hess spoke about how the program is better run now than it was before since it has more employees than volunteers.

"I have two children who participate in the recreation programs offered by the town of Niskayuna. One of the reasons the Recreation Department is such a hot-button issue is because for many of us it's the only part of the town government that we interact with. I really think the fall programs were much better run than they have been in the past. They were organized, there weren't two or three games scheduled to the same field. If that's a reflection of what the town can do through the reorganization of the Recreation Department, that's money well spent," said Hess.

The budget vote is scheduled to take place at Niskayuna's Town Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.""

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