Councilman quits committee over senior shake-up

Residents question Nisky Town Board over program funding

Finding a seat during the recent Niskayuna Town Board meeting wasn't easy, as senior residents filled the room and shared concerns about the future of the town's senior program.

During the board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26, seniors shared their concerns for what they heard was going to happen to the town senior center and programs. While seniors were told they would receive a program bus, which was requested at a previous board meeting, the bus wasn't there main concern anymore.

Before residents spoke at the meeting, Supervisor Joe Landry wanted to provide a summary on budget initiatives for senior residents. He said there are two main plans that include adding staff to the senior center and purchasing the requested bus. Money for the bus was placed in the 2011 tentative budget. Donated money accounts for $9,495, with the town's plan to bond the rest. Also, an additional $32,000 for staff at the senior center, Landry said, was not intended to have any impact on the current programming and staff.

"I don't know where the rumors are started, or what the rumors are," said Landry after the meeting. "I'm trying to set the record straight since I have set my budget out."

Margaret Blechienger spoke on behalf of residents that frequent the senior center and said they were concerned about the possibility of some positions being eliminated. She frequently asked board members questions during privilege of the floor, which were often answered, about what she had heard from seniors.

"I walked into the community center upstairs to play bridge and everybody was crying and everybody was upset," said Blechienger. "Sue Leonard was informed that her job would end in the December of this year, 2010. As far as I know nothing was in writing and still isn't and Jonathan McKinney resigned as a committee person to the seniors and they were extremely upset."

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