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Mealsites retained in revised county budget, but jobs to be cut

Seniors at the Chestertown mealsite enjoy a luncheon meal recently. The kitchens at various mealsites are to be closed down, which some county officials said this week would likely reduce participation in the program.

Seniors at the Chestertown mealsite enjoy a luncheon meal recently. The kitchens at various mealsites are to be closed down, which some county officials said this week would likely reduce participation in the program. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Senior community mealsites through Warren County will be retained, but the kitchens in the eight locations will be shut down, according to a decision reached Monday, Nov. 7 by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

The 2012 budget revisions endorsed Monday included restoring payments of $7,000 to $18,000 per year to various churches and towns and organizations for funding the county mealsites.

The community mealsites were to be closed down entirely in an earlier budget proposal drafted in late October.

This latest proposal calls for preparing meals at two central locations, which would still eliminate six county jobs of mealsite managers and cooks, as well as substitute workers. Such cutbacks would likely also eliminate several other town-funded jobs of part-time helpers at the mealsites across the county.

The mealsite job cuts are estimated to save county taxpayers $124,680. The existing Meals-on-Wheels program, which delivers hot meals to several hundred homebound residents, is to continue without changes.

The meals for the elderly and disabled would be prepared at The Cedars Senior Living Community in Queensbury as well as Countryside Adult Home in Warrensburg — and many of the existing mealsite jobs would shift to these two facilities. The meals would then be prepared and delivered to the mealsites in the satellite communities.

The changes are anticipated to begin in January.

The new revisions to the proposed 2012 budget endorsed Nov. 7 include $236,000 of additional revenue representing a Medicaid payment that had not been included in earlier budget drafts. The unexpected extra payment is due to an extra payment scheduled from the state to the county in 2012.

The new draft of the budget calls for spending $145.24 million, a $3,163 decrease from 2011, but a 1.7 increase in local tax levy, due to reduced reimbursement from the state linked to their mandated programs.

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