As part of efforts to close a projected deficit in the county's 2009 budget, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is proposing a series of cost-saving measures. One of them is a $4.7 million cut in funding for the Nassau County Youth Board, which includes such agencies as Gateway Youth Outreach in Elmont.
On Tuesday, Gateway Youth Outreach (GYO) executive director Pat Boyle said he hadn't yet received a letter from the county explaining how GYO would be affected by the cuts. However, Boyle is not expecting good news.
With 43 youth board agencies in Nassau County, agencies have been receiving registered letters explaining how their budgets are being cut. "Things are looking desperately bad. A lot of these agencies are going to close down," said Boyle. "I think that by April 1, at least 16 of the 43 agencies are going to close. People are going to go to the agencies that are still open only to find out that we can't take in my clients because we've received budget cuts too."
GYO receives federal, state, county and town funding. Funding from the state could also be jeopardized because of the state's budget crisis. Boyle feels that making cuts to youth programs may only wind up costing the county and state more money since the youth agencies may not be able to provide prevention services.
GYO planned to hold a rally on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. at the Theodore Roosevelt County Executive Building on Franklin Avenue in Mineola.
Boyle said GYO would not have to close completely since it will still have state and federal money coming in, but may have to cut programs. "How long I'm going be able to tread water, I don't know. I'm going to do the best I can because I think this community deserves it," he said.
- Joe Rizza