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Adult center funding tops discussion at budget hearing

Gina Norton is director of the Saranac Lake Adult Center. She says the organization represents those individuals who are most in need of assistance.

"These seniors worry each day how to pay their bills, pay for food, and be able to continue to afford to remain in their homes," Norton said. "These are the same individuals who, throughout their lives, have been contributing citizens of Saranac Lake."

According to Norton, 300 seniors belong to the adult center - 75 percent of whom live inside the village limits.

Nearly 20 people turned out for last night's public hearing. And while most spoke out against the proposed cuts to the adult center, some, like Kelly Duffy of Saranac Lake, protested proposed cuts elsewhere.

Duffy said cutting funding for the civic center was a bad idea.

"I know times are hard, but if I was going to run in that position that you are in, it would be youth and infrastructure," he said. "I think cutting the civic center funding is wrong - if, in fact, that's what you're going to do. I hope you're not - I think there are other places to cut. Our youth are very important, to me anyway."

Others, like Wayne Bujold of Saranac Lake, said the village needs to look elsewhere to make cuts.

"My company put a freeze on hiring and a freeze on raises back in 2007," he said. "I see a lot of raises going through at municipalities if I'm not mistaken. And I see a police force of multi-millions of dollars, I believe, with a state trooper barracks in Ray Brook, one of the largest in New York. You might look at making some other adjustments."

After the meeting, Trustee Jeff Branch said he's always looked to support programming for youth and seniors. But he also notes that the issue of double-taxation can't be ignored.

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