By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- The Town Council delayed deciding on a request from the Ogdensburg psychiatric center for $3,000 of casino compact funds.
“It’s to defray the costs associated with the fight to keep the place open,” Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said. “It’s not a lot of money.”
Councilman Albert Nicola said the town should first look after itself, then consider the psych center request if there’s money left over. The board is looking at giving $32,000 in compact funds to the Massena Fire Department to update its radio equipment and buy new thermal imaging cameras.
“That’s a win-win,” Nicola said.
He also pointed out that compact payments are sometimes delayed, so funds may not be there when the psych center needs them.
Gray noted that the state wants to see municipalities setting some compact monies aside in a rainy day fund, which the village hasn’t done yet.
Councilman Charles Raiti said he would like to see the town help the psych center because it is direly needed in the area.
“The mental health in our state and our county is not being dealt with,” Raiti said. “If that hospital moves out, you’re going to see a lot more problems on the street.”
He also said he thinks the state may be holding onto the money to generate interest for itself, however small it may be.
The town has received the following compact payments, according to a table prepared by Gray:
• 2007: $182,817.75
• 2008: $287,500
• 2009: $631,254
• 2010: $0
• 2011: $555,613 (for 2010)
• 2012: $83,602