NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Senior citizens in Niagara Falls aren’t going down without a fight.
They are trying to save the LaSalle Neighborhood Senior Center that the city wants to close.
City officials told News 4 the John A Duke senior center in the city can provide the same services except their nutrition program, but the seniors say they won’t use that center.
The plan is to consolidate the two senior centers into one.
“I think it’s real asinine that they want to do this, it’s a shame. I’ve been going there for 30 years and it’s like my home,” said Virginia Ceretto, senior citizen.
“They’re just looking for cuts, we’re easy targets, we’re neglected, nobody defends us. This is wrong, it’s just straight out wrong,” said Theresa Cusatis, senior services aid at LaSalle senior center.
The LaSalle center has been around for 40 years serving lunch to about 30 seniors a day. It also offer services like bingo, exercise and driving classes.
“It’s the only time that I get out of the house more or less to socialize with my friends,” said Florence Evans, senior citizen.
Councilman Kenny Tompkins says cutting the center will save the city up to $75,000 dollars.
“We don’t want to hurt our seniors, who would possibly want to hurt the seniors, but we have to look at every possible option to try and save as much money as we can or we’re going to run business out of Niagara Falls,” said Tompkins.
Tompkins says the mayor presented a budget that goes $1.5 million above the tax cap.
“The administration gave us the worst budget in the world, to me this budget is a complete gamble, if we do not get casino money next year, we’re $12 million in the hole,” said Tompkins.
The seniors say they don’t want to move from the LaSalle location, they say they don’t feel welcomed at the Duke and the drive is just too far.
“I really think they’re taking my life away doing this, I think they should leave us alone. They think we can’t fight back, well we’re fighting back, we’re going to prove them they’re wrong,” said Ceretto.
Tompkins says the city is trying to find other solutions for a senior center near the LaSalle neighborhood.
After Wednesday, the council will present their cuts to the mayor who has five days to veto those cuts, but council can override his decision.