Young and old share opinions on Syracuse budget

May 3, 2012

The very young and the very old were the focus of the Syracuse City Budget public hearing Wednesday night. Citizens had the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think of Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed $662 million spending plan.

Lois Dwyer pled with common councilors last night.

"I would like to appeal the councilors, give us a change will you?" Dwyer asked.

She wants them to come up with a location for a new senior center in downtown Syracuse. The Ida Benderson Senior Center closed last October, a victim of budget cuts.

An Ida Benderson Senior Action Group has been meeting since last year. The group hopes the Common Council can find a place for them.

On the other end of the spectrum Wednesday night  were advocates for the city's youngest citizens: three to five year olds who need pre-K education. Margaret Deal says it's an investment in the future.

"So many of our children are not prepared when they enter kindergarten. They are behind then and they never catch up," Deal said.

Many speakers asked the council not to cut the pre-K budget. The Finance Committee Chairwoman Kathleen Joy says that those advocated for the budget are misinformed.

"I got very upset when I heard people were asking us not to cut the pre-K program. It's not being cut. It's staying exactly as it was last year," Joy said.

Joy says there may have been confusion because some of the pre-K budget is being funneled through SayYes to Education instead of the education budget. Lawmakers say there's a possibility there could be changes in the original budget before they vote on it next Monday.