Tonight was the last chance for concerned residents to tell the Oneida County Board of Legislators how they feel about next year's proposed County budget. The turnout tonight actually doubled from last night's meeting at the Rome Court House.
Members from the DMV, the library and the Oneida County
Health Department all raised issues with the proposed cuts being made in next
year's budget. But, for at least one area woman, it's personal.
"It's hard for people with mental illness to make friends," says Maria Zali.
46- year old Maria Zali spoke in front of County legislators tonight. Telling her story... a woman suffering from schizophrenia all her life. After having a nervous breakdown, Maria says she had no friends. No social skills.But, the Compeer program reached out to help Maria.
"It rehabs people.. Having a friend means so much. Because a lot of people with mental illness don't have anybody.. I have my family but it's still important to have friends," says Zali.
Maria has been with Compeer for over 20 years. But now, Compeer's funding from the County may potentially be eliminated.
Yet, Judith Reilly, the Executive Director of Compeer of the Mohawk Valley says County legislators are telling her their hands are tied.
"The funds that the county receives trickles down from the state. So it appears I need to speak to our state legislators," says Reilly.
Compeer says it may be losing over $90,000 in funding from the County.