Senior Center doesn’t receive full funding

By Leslie Silverman

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Keystone will budge more for its senior center but will not be funding the full amount requested, that according to the latest budget hearings.

Jon Veltman, president of the Keystone Senior Citizens Center board, made several impassioned pleas to the board requesting it fully fund the $22,000 the center needs to be staffed and operational, but the board could only meet $10,000 of the center’s needs.

“The white elephant in the room is the wages,” Veltman said. “We feel that we need to hire somebody at least part-time. The senior center is the community. It’s the future of our community.”

Current senior center director Mackenzie Swanson plans all the center’s events, sends out emails and coordinates the food pantry and weekly lunches.

“I do not want to see the senior center fail which is why the towns if offering a hand and some alternative options,” said Cassandra Ott, the town’s finance officer. “What I have a problem with is spending money on wages and long-term expenses with savings.”

Kwinn Neff, town trustee, donated his board salary to the cause but asked the center to look to private businesses and donors to fill the gap and meet the ongoing needs of the organization.

“I would offer up $10,000 and I will offer up my next year (board) wages so that’s $11,000,” Neff said.

The hearings yielded no major changes to the proposed budget aside from moving salaries from one fund to another for certain town employees and requesting officials monitor the amount of overtime employees amass.

The city clerk’s salary in 2020 will be taken out of the water and sewer funds rather than the general fund.

The town decided to wait on finishing the gym floor at a cost savings of $6,000, although  $4,000 was still set aside for repairs and maintenance of the Keystone Community Center.

A total of $20,000 was set aside for furnace replacement.

“If one furnace goes down we end up with frozen pipes,” Ott said. “It costs about $2,000 to have them out (to fix) and they’ve been out multiple times.”

There are four furnaces in the building and each costs approximately $10,000 to replace. General maintenance of the units should go down as town employees learn how to repair the units.

Even with the fiscally stringent moves the town expects a shortfall of $115,000 in its general fund.

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