Funding for civic organizations down in tentative SL budget

The tentative 2011-2012 budget for the village of Saranac Lake carries a significant decrease in funding for local civic groups and organizations.

Some groups, like the Saranac Lake Adult Center, would lose all funding if the proposed fiscal plan is adopted.

The tentative budget would increase taxes by 3.7 percent, but trustees say they want to pass a budget with a zero percent increase to the tax levy.

Under last year's budget, the Saranac Lake Adult Center received $5,000 from the village. This year, the organization would receive nothing from the village.

Gina Norton is director of the adult center. She says the village doesn't understand the services provided by the organization.

According to Norton, the adult center represents those individuals over the age of 60 and special needs individuals under the age of 60.

"Say you're handicapped, or you're over 60, and you go to Social Services for food stamps or HEAP or anything like that - they send you over to me," she said. "We do your application, we file your application, and we get it through the necessary channels you can get your funding, if you meet the income guidelines."

Additionally, the adult center provides Meals on Wheels in the village of Saranac Lake and in surrounding communities.

Norton adds that the adult center differs from clubs or other organizations in that you don't need to be a member to receive the services it provides.

"If you are not a member here, you are still entitled to all of the services and everything we provide here," she said. "That means lunch, entitlement programs, or anything along those lines."

In a letter sent to Norton earlier this week, Village Manager John Sweeney explained that the adult center's membership represents individuals from a "wide geographic area."

"Village funding therefore would be for non-village residents," he wrote.

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