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Essex County senior picnic funding restored

The Essex County Board of Supervisors

The Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Essex County senior picnic may be revived.

Newcomb Supervisor George Canon moved a resolution through the Finance Committee meeting June 18 to restore up to $5,000 in funding needed to hold the annual Office for the Aging senior picnic this summer.

The picnic, which has been an annual event and has been held at several sites, was one of the victims of funding cuts in the 2012 budget.

“This is something that was cut in the budget,” Canon said. “It is annually attended by up to 350 people and something that they have a lot of fun at and look forward to.”

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi questioned the $5,000 price tag, which was used for food as well as some transportation, according to St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency.

“They use school busses to transfer the seniors to the site of the picnic,” Morency said. “Schools ask us to pay for the service.”

Committee chair Tom Scozzafava of Moriah backed the motion.

“They get a large turnout and the seniors look forward to this event every year,” he said. “They have a great time over there and I think that this is something that we should keep going.”

The finance committee also addressed the need to start contract negotiations with the local union.

We need to get some dates and get some letters out,” County Manager Dan Palmer said. “We need to get a letter out saying that we want to start and need to start right away. If they do not respond to that, then we will have to look at what other ways we can go.”

Supervisors talked about the potential use of a labor consultant, which Scozzafava felt was not needed.

“I personally do not feel at this point that we need a labor consultant at $250 an hour,” Scozzafava said. “I do not think that we need someone to come in during the beginning steps for $250 an hour to negotiate for us. We have all been involved in negotiations here. I am not saying at some point we will not need someone to come in, but not at the starting point.”

Palmer said that the county needs to get started soon so ground rules could be established for the negotiations to move forward.

“You establish ground rules and what times that you want it to occur,” Palmer said. “Ultimately, this is the first step and the parties have to proceed from that. We need to look at this because you could get into a stall on ground rules. I have not seen that happen, and if it did, I would say that you were in trouble already.”

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