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Divided board passes Nisky budget

Opponents say public was not given enough chance for input

With a 3-to-2 vote, the Niskayuna Town Board on Thursday, Nov. 18, passed the 2011 budget, which reached just over $13 million and held a nearly 3 percent residential tax increase.

Residents weren't offered privilege of the floor, which disappointed some in attendance and troubled Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kasper. The night followed the contentious start with Kasper and Jonathan McKinney voting down the budget and speaking out against Supervisor Joe Landry.

I tried to make a motion to put a privilege of the floor in, but he said we are not having it, said Kasper the following day after the vote. "Last night was so uncomfortable. I voted the way I did because I felt there was not enough give and take, and there was not enough time with the public, where they said something and we replied to it."

At the meeting there were a handful of seniors, which had attended previous meetings and criticized the supervisor for his direction with the senior program. During the budget voting the crowd made their stance known by verbally responding to board member statements.

The board voted on some individual sections of the budget before voting on the final budget. McKinney voted down all sections of the final budget and Kasper abstained from voting on all but one section and voted down the final budget. Landry and Councilwomen Julie McDonnell and Denise Murphy McGraw voted yes on all resolutions and the final budget.

McKinney brought up a recent letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at the beginning of the meeting, which Kasper stressed she didn't know the vital nature of the situation. The DEC deemed the town's sewer infrastructure isn't up to standards and is demanding a five-year plan to address the issue.

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