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Senior Service Centers' funding in jeopardy

Under a new lease agreement, Colonie Senior Service Centers, Inc. is guaranteed about $24,000 in rent from the Town of Colonie this year, as well as $270,400 in town funding for the continuation of programs and services.

Not guaranteed is the $55,000 Colonie Senior Service Centers, Inc. will be losing this year under the new lease agreement. That money is essential to supporting maintenance expenses of the senior center, according to Ed Neary, executive director of Colonie Senior Service Centers.

Funding issues were first raised early last year, when Supervisor Paula Mahan began looking into the then-existing lease between the Town of Colonie and Colonie Senior Service Centers, one of the town's two largest nonprofit organizations, for office space at the Beltrone Living Center. The town was paying $85,000 in rent.

Town officials determined that amount to be too high at a time when the figure for the town's deficit continued to grow with every audit.

Since April 2008, the town has been working on a new lease agreement, the completion of which Mahan announced during a State of the Town address at the Century House in Latham on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

But according Neary, the supervisor jumped the gun on announcing a deal that was not yet finalized with the board of directors from Colonie Senior Service Centers.

It caught my surprise because we had not had the opportunity to finalize those discussions, Neary said. "I was surprised that she brought it up that way in front the audience."

The lease discussions, Neary said, are not finalized and include talks of where the $55,000 difference will go, now that the rent, which he said has been agreed upon by Colonie Senior Service Centers, has been set at less than $25,000.

On Thursday, Jan. 8, Neary described plans for the center's board of directors to meet with the Colonie Town Board and tell them how they had planned to use the $55,000 in the hopes that they would persuade them to continue to use that money for Colonie Senior Service Centers projects.

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