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Nisky’ Town Board clashes over 2012 budget

Recreation and leaf pickup fees protested by councilman

— Councilman Jonathan McKinney said all department budgets are remaining flat or decreasing, except for recreation budget lines. McKinney also sent an email out claiming board members were planning new construction for the recreation department too.

“The Niskayuna Recreation Department is quietly planning on building a $600,000 recreation building at Blatnick Park,” McKinney said in the email. “Can we afford this right now? Moody’s has downgraded our bond rating because of our deteriorating finances; DEC has banned new construction because of our deteriorating infrastructure; and Niskayuna Schools are facing huge budget issues because of the 2 percent tax cap.”

McDonnell said the project isn’t a secret and there were public discussions over the soccer and lacrosse clubs wanting to build a practice space. She also added the project wouldn’t cost $600,000 and added it might only be half of McKinney’s figure. Both clubs she said have raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to support building the project.

“When John (McKinney) ran for office he supported this project and represented the clubs bringing forth the initial proposal,” said McDonnell.

McKinney also questioned whether the town is competing with private companies or community groups by offering an array of recreation programs and camps.

“There is a number of private companies in Niskayuna … that are struggling because the town is competing with them,” McKinney said. “Why are we in the business with competing with Niskayuna businesses and then providing services below cost?”

He added the town has an unfair advantage over businesses, too.

“There is no way the town can go out of business. We can lose money every year and still supply a program,” he said. “In these tough economic times … we are jumping in the middle of this competition and charging less than it really cost to run the program.”

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