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Local agencies for the disabled brace for state funding cuts

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Local agencies that serve the most vulnerable members of the community are bracing themselves for a cut in state funding that they hope won't force them to cut services to their disabled clients.

Agencies like the ARC of Oneida-Lewis and the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) in Utica are bracing for up to a 6 cut in funding, thereby forcing them to adjust their own budgets by that amount.

"So the communication is honestly on a minute to minute basis at this point. We have no idea when the final number will be done maybe Saturday, maybe Wednesday," says ARC CEO Karen Korotzer.

Korotzer says that the industry has bore $350 million in cuts over the past three years and that they're operating with bare bones staff.

"Just to try to do everything possible to not have these cuts affect the people we provide supports and services to and the employees who do a great job in doing that every day," says Korotzer.

RCIL's executive director says continuous cuts that threaten to chip away at his agency's ability to help those with disabilities become more independent don't actually fix the problem.

"This is just such horrible public policy that both the federal and state government have refused to look at a redesign of the whole system," says Executive Director Burt Danovitz.

Once state lawmakers pass a budget agreement, these agencies will learn how much, if any, of a proposed 6% cut to their funding, has been restored.

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