The Essex County Board of Supervisors.
A resolution to restore up to $5,000 in funding for an annual Office of the Aging senior picnic passed through the Essex County Ways and Means Committee June 25, but not without some concern.
Lewis Supervisor David Blades said that while he was not making his vote “against the senior citizens,” restoring the funding was sending a bad message on the part of the supervisors.
“Last fall when the departments were undergoing their budget cuts there was a question of eliminating the picnic or a part-time employee,” Blades said. “I believe that the director made the right choice and unfortunately, somebody has to suffer.”
Blades said it also sends a bad message to those who were let go as a result of budget cuts.
“I also have a hard time because we laid off people last year and this sends out a terrible message to those people,” he said.
However, the remaining 15 supervisors in attendance supported the measure.
“I think that we can do this,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said.
“It has always been a well-attended event by the seniors and something they look forward to,” St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency said.
“I do not think that this is something that we should take away from them,” board chair Randy Douglas of Jay said.
Douglas also offered a suggestion of having each town put $200 toward the picnic, taking the funding away from the county, before the vote was cast.
Discussion over the issue will continue next week during the July 2 regular monthly meeting of the board, as County Manager Dan Palmer said he would have to research some of the questions asked by the supervisors.
“I did not anticipate there would be this many questions on this,” he said. “I will get the information back by the next week’s meeting.”