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Non-resident member fee considered for Canton Woods

— Officials are considering charging a non-resident user fee for individuals who use the Canton Woods Senior Center facility and do not reside within the village of Baldwinsville or the towns of Van Buren or Lysander.

Canton Woods Director Ruth Troy estimated 25 to 27 percent of the center’s visitors are non-residents who are currently able to use the facility at no cost while residents pay for the center through property taxes. Officials suggested a $25 per year fee, which they hope to implement by July 1. The fees would go towards operating budgets, especially considering that the center’s budget has been frozen for the past two years due to economic conditions.

Trustee Dick Clark, who is also a member of the Canton Woods Senior Center committee, said the intent of the fee is not to make it so the center can’t operate without them, only to make it fair for residents who are paying through taxes. Village officials held off on endorsing the proposal to wait and see if they received any feedback on the proposal.

Van Buren officials decided to endorse the proposal at their March 6 board meeting.

“The center has been looking for ways to control costs and raise revenue,” said Howard Tupper, Van Buren councilor and CWSC committee member. “[The fee] has been proposed as a way to know who the users of the center are and where they live. They will better know the demographics of the seniors using the center and will be better able to design programs based on that and give the staff more control.”

Tupper added that this measure was not being done to discourage membership, but rather to make sure the towns and village are providing their own residents with programs and not taking away from them.

Center officials are also considering installing an identification system to better track the population visiting Canton Woods.

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