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Niskayuna town board approves budget

The Niskayuna Town Board adopted the annual town budget for 2009, which includes a 5.5 percent tax increase, in a vote of 3-to-2 vote with the reorganization of the town's recreation department a major topic of discussion.

Councilwoman Julie McDonnell, chairwoman of the education and recreation committee, thanked parents and representatives of the youth sports clubs who have come to budget meetings to speak in support of the changes that have been made to the recreation department.

The public should know that there is no increase in the number of positions resulting from the reorganization, said McDonnell. "Two positions at the recreation department would be abolished: the director of recreation who earns about $65,000, and the secretary, who earns about $40,000. These two positions would be replaced by two newly titled positions: community programs coordinator, at a salary of $45,000, and parks and facilities coordinator, also at a salary of $45,000."

McDonnell said the reorganization saves the town $15,000. She said the employee who is currently the secretary in the recreation department will be transferred to a vacant secretary position in the Public Works Department.

Town Supervisor Joe Landry said when the director of recreation position is eliminated, Kathleen Gansfuss, who currently fills that post, can apply for another position within the department.

Overall, Landry said, he was pleased with the budget.

"I believe that the budget that is before the board tonight delivers better services to the residents of Niskayuna, while keeping costs down for our taxpayers," Landry said before the vote.

"This budget reflects specific priorities " the importance of public safety and emergency services, maintaining our town's infrastructure, the advancement of senior, adult and youth programs, and assisting residents through our yard waste and leaf pickup and plowing services. The services our residents have come to expect will continue to be provided without additional fees, limits, or other restrictions."

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