Sterling agency’s last cry for help as budget impasse drags on

STERLING, Illinois - There's only two weeks left of the Illinois legislative session and there's still no budget.

A center helping disabled resident says if a budget isn't passed soon it will have to close its doors.

At this point even a little bit Helps. The Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living (NICIL) in Sterling hopes it can make some money from its three-day garage sale, to help pay some of its bills.

"We can`t foot the bill for the state of Illinois," said Executive Director Michele Miller.

The center helps people with disabilities live on their own, like Kay Bryant.

"Being out on my own I like that. It`s really a lot better. I can come and go as I want," said Bryant.

With no state budget for the last two years, NICIL has had to come up with ways to save money, from laying off staff to even temporarily closing.

"We`re burnt out all of us are covering three and four jobs just to be able to satisfy the customers," said Miller.

If a budget isn't passed soon, the center which serves five counties will need to lay off its remaining staff by July 1st. That would leave it's 300 clients on their own.

"For us now it has to be the proof in the pudding. We can`t go on their good word, we have start seeing our bills being paid," said Miller.

Once the reserve money is gone, so will the center.

"If they don`t pass a budget we will probably not be here by September," said Miller.

The garage sale continues inside its Locust Street building in Sterling Friday, May 19th from 7a.m. to 4p.m. and Saturday May 20th, 9a.m. to noon.