Residents and Brookhaven Town employees protested several possible budget cuts during Thursday's Brookhaven Town Board meeting.
The closing down the Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center, discontinuing some services in the youth bureau and adult day care, is currently set to automatically be approved on Nov. 20 unless the Town Board amends it.
Adrienne Wilber, of Holtsville, spoke during public comment period regarding the possible closing of the Holtsville ecology site, which town officials have said would save about $900,000 a year just by shuttering the zoo and greenhouse.
"We are very disappointed about the closing. The ecology park provides much enjoyment to the area," Wilber said. "To have it close seems inappropriate and it is unfair to the middle class people in the area."
Councilman Tim Mazzei said that he did not think that the budget affects the park section of the ecology center. However, when Wilber stated that she was not sure if that was believable, Mazzei said that he could not confirm any other details and suggested she call his office in the morning.
Wilber suggested that out-of-Town residents who visit should be charged, and that perhaps the swimming pool could be closed although other residents may want to keep that open as well.
Annette Kattau, of North Patchogue, told Patch after the meeting that she has taken her five grandchildren to the park, and that its closing would be a great loss.
"These are not the things that we should be cutting," Kattau said. She also said that other areas would be more eligible to be cut, and that it also could be an option to raise taxes.
The Youth Bureau, which also faces cuts, had a large presence at Thursday's meeting.
Donna Napoli, acting director for Brookhaven's youth services and a Patchogue resident, said that the proposal takes down her department from eight full time positions to three by the end of the year.
"The biggest thing is the counseling program," Napoli said. She said its the only program in Town that talks with children in crisis. Also being cut is crisis intervention and a camp program that has been run for 35 years. Remaining would be administrative duties and programs that hold drives for holiday toys, food, prom dresses, etc.
Several members that were attending in support of the youth bureau wore a black ribbon on their arm to symbolize themselves.
Also speaking was Mickie Tinkler, the director of the adult day care program that is also facing cuts. Tinkler told Patch there are currently 50 active participants in the program, and hundreds of other families that come and go with it.
"Baby boomers are coming to the front, there's going to be a greater and greater need for these kind of programs," Tinkler said.
Tinkler said that her program is slated to be terminated by the end of the year.
The next Brookhaven Town board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11 at 5 p.m.
A budget hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.
What are your thoughts on the proposed cuts? Read more about them here, and talk about it in the comments section below.