Tools

Local services for people with disabilities in fear of devastating cuts

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Herkimer ARC and The Arc Oneida Lewis chapters are among hundreds of voluntary not-for-profits that could see over one million dollars in cuts to their services. Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a 6 % across the board cut to New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities voluntary not-for-profit providers. Voluntary Agency Representatives met with James Seward at the Herkimer ARC Friday in hopes of him advocating against the cuts in Albany.

The cuts would be effective April 1st 2013.

Over 120,000 New Yorkers rely on services non-profit agencies like the ARC provide, the agencies say cuts to them would be devastating.

"The high level of supports and services that they have become accustomed to over the years could actually go away," said Herkimer ARC President Kevin Crosley. "There will be programs that are even in a break even scenario or in a deficit that will have to be looked at very thoroughly by all administrative teams and cuts will have to take place in those programs, there wont be any choice."

The 6 % budget cut would mean a $1.2 million cut to Herkimer ARC, even more to the ARC of Oneida Lewis they say they'd stand to loose $1.5 million.

"That 1.5 cut is huge because every dollar that we get in as a nonprofit we don't make a profit, we really have to use every dollar and stretch it as much as possible," said CEO of The Arc Oneida Lewis Karen Korotzer. "Helping people to be more independent in homes that could go away, so people would be without any supports in their homes at all, it could be that they just aren't going to get out in community from our group homes as much as they used to, or people won't be able to stay employed."

President of Herkimer ARC Kevin Crosley says this cut on top of last years $1.1 million state cut will greatly affect the agency's ability to maintain quality services and as a result they'd have to look at cutting staff. As the second largest employer in herkimer county they say this would devastate not just their agency but have a ripple effect on the whole county.

They're now hope Senator Seward and other policy makers will take their concerns to Albany and bring a change.

"If a number of these providers do go out of business as a result of these cuts, who's going to pick up that slack, who's going to provide services for those people?" said Crosley.

On Wednesday both The Arc Oneida Lewis and Herkimer ARC will be traveling to Albany to advocate that the Governor not bring the 6 % cut.

They ask anyone interested in supporting their cause to visit the agency's website at www.thearcolc.org and click on the "Call to Action" link to access letters and contact information for local representative in New York State.

What's On