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Massena town council takes wait & see approach with other SLPC funding

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MASSENA - The Massena Town Council has decided to wait and see if it has gaming compact funds left after funding agencies with more direct ties to Massena before allocating funds to the lobbying effort to keep the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center open in Ogdensburg.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray had suggeste making a contribution to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force. The group is seeking funding to cover transportation costs associated with traveling to Albany as part of the fight to keep the center open.

Of the roughly $500,000 the town board is expecting to receive in gaming funds, they have awarded $32,000 to the fire department for the purchase of radios and a new thermal imaging camera.

Mr. Gray has also proposed using $64,294 of the gaming compact revenue to help fund the chamber of commerce, BDC and FISHCAP, as well as putting some of the funds aside “for a rainy day.”

Councilman Albert N. Nicola suggested taking the wait and see approach and then considering the task force’s request if they have money left over after taking care of the town’s own needs.

Councilman Charles A. “Chuck” Raiti, who did speak in support of the center, also noted that the BDC has some “major projects” coming up that could possibly benefit from the funding.

That being said, Mr. Raiti said it would be a shame to see the psych center close.

“If that hospital moves out, you’re going to see a lot more problems on the streets,” he said, adding that having the closest psychiatric center in Syracuse or Utica is not acceptable.

“The mental health in our state and county is not being dealt with,” he said.

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