Niskayuna set to raise taxes 3%

Senior programming praised with call for more staff; 2013 budget at tax cap

— There is little wiggle room in the 2013 budget proposed by Niskayuna leaders — it comes right up against the state tax cap.

Residents didn’t ask for decreased spending at a Thursday, Nov. 15, public hearing though. The budget totals more than $21 million and holds a property tax levy increase of around 3 percent, or $332,120 — just $44 under what the town could hike taxes without a supermajority approval under the tax cap law.

Residents turned out to praise the town’s senior programming after a shift in administration, and one resident called for increased spending in the town’s Police Department to prepare for upcoming retirements.

Board members were scheduled to adopt the final budget on Tuesday, Nov. 20, during a special meeting and after The Spotlight went to press. Town Supervisor Joe Landry said he didn’t expect any amendments to the preliminary budget before adoption.

The majority of residents at the hearing applauded the town senior center staff and changes proposed in the budget, which include making one of two part-time staff positions into full-time jobs.

Personal services for senior programming would increase from $79,000 to $115,000, with most of the increase going towards the switch to full time. The rest of the department’s budget remained flat and totaled $166,250.

“If we are lucky we all get old,” said resident Janice Mansfield, who added the senior center is a “definite asset” for the town and “great changes” have been made there.

Charles MacAvoy joined the senior center after his wife passed away in March. He ran into his old friend, Frank Mauriello, who took him to the town senior center. MacAvoy was emotional as he recounted his story and thanked staff members.

“It is very difficult to make friends,” he said. “If you ever lost your wife or a friend, you know what it is to be a part of something.”

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