Sedgwick county residents Wednesday voiced concerns to the county commissioners about recommended cuts in the proposed 2013 budget.
The public hearing on the budget was the first of three feedback sessions scheduled before the commissioners are expected to adopt a budget on August 15.
County residents expressed concern over cuts to senior centers, Exploration Place, and the County Extention Center, and the closure of Judge Riddle Boys Ranch.
Under the recommended budget senior centers would be cut $66,300.
Oaklawn resident Andre Cisco told the commissioners the county senior centers keep the elderly active, motivated and social and that the need for them will only increase.
“It troubles me greatly to think that with the increasing numbers of seniors - the numbers are going to be up, 39 percent of seniors over the age of 65 - that we would be looking at any cuts to senior centers,” said Cisco.
The budget also recommends closing the Judge Riddle Boys Ranch, a youth corrections facility.
WSU professor Delores Craig-Moreland said she understood the county had to look at their investment into the facility.
“At the same time consider what we get for that,” said Craig-Moreland.
“I recently did an analysis of what the benefits are when you reduce crime in the way that we can prove that Judge Riddel Boys Ranch does and if you look at the direct cost, as well as the social impact costs there is a million dollar a year return from that program.”
Two more public hearings are scheduled for August 9 and 14 at 9am in the county commission chambers.