The cuts keep rolling in. Last week, the Governor proposed a 6% cut to New York state’s non-profit providers. But area organizations say they’re not taking this lightly. Both the ARC Oneida-Lewis Chapter and the Herkimer-ARC have sent letters to state lawmakers asking for more money.
Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Polansky visits with the Gentlemen’s Group at the Herkimer-ARC. The group is made up of 6 men that meet everyday, and all of their daily activities are based on services from the ARC. Employees say if these cuts do go through, programs like the Gentlemen’s Group could be on the chopping block.
“Well I don’t want that to happen though, I love this place. I don’t want them to cut budgets, I don’t want to go anywhere else except here,” says Mike Dodge, Herkimer-ARC client.
Mike Dodge is almost 40-years-old and he’s been a member of the Gentlemen’s Group for 5 years.
“We do things like wood building, I like working, I like making things,” says Dodge.
The Gentlemen’s Group focuses on hands-on creative activities.
“George is most interested in painting, James likes to build things, he excels at the mechanical aspect,” says Jeff Perlanski, Herkimer-ARC Direct Support Professional.
But they also go out into the community each day. Jeff Perlanski teaches the group and he says the type of learning the men receive from talking with people is far greater than any textbook.
“These guys need to learn from these social cues so they can progress to the point where they can have a job or even just walk down the street by themselves and it makes them feel good,” says Perlanski.
But the Gentlemen’s Group could be in jeopardy if the ARC implements the 6% budget cuts, and the executive director says this would affect the entire community.
“We literally touch thousands of people on a daily basis so multiply that by the providers in Mohawk Valley people and you realize that there are tens of thousands of people that will be affected by that 6% cut,” says Kevin Crosley, Herkimer-ARC Executive Director.
The ARC has been encouraging community members to send letters to area officials voicing their concerns and Senator James Seward says he’s ready to fight for the funding.
“This is a significant amount of money we have to look to save somewhere else in the state budget. But i am committed to do that and i know that a number of my colleagues at the capital feel the same way,” says Senator James Seward, (R) Oneonta.
The proposed 6% cut would affect about 700 agencies across the state. And it’s set to take effect April 1st unless action is taken.