PORT BYRON — Assemblyman Robert Oaks spoke to a handful of Cayuga County residents Saturday about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget plan Saturday, and took some feedback from residents.

Oaks spent some time giving the small crowd an overview and addressed questions and concerns from those attending.

“A great deal of my responsibilities over the last month and half have been following the governor’s budget proposal,” he said, “and listening to people give their suggestions and making their concerns known about the his proposed budget.”

Cato Hotel and Tavern owner Brian Chapman, of Conquest, came to his first town hall meeting on Saturday.

“I was just more or less putting a face to the assemblyman and his staff,” he said. “When I was trying to get a liquor license he helped with the red tape process and I thought this was a great opportunity to come out, especially since he’s so close.”

For resident Jay Moose, who works as the Mentz code enforcement officer, recycling issues were a big concern.

The town had a recycling center that was open every Saturday but has since reduced the hours they’ve been open because of what they’ve been seeing Moose said.

“We realized that we’ve been separating glass, newspaper, cans and plastic and we have to pay to have them sent somewhere, which is fine,” Moose said. “But we now know that while some are being picked up, the rest of the recycling products are being sent to the Auburn Landfill and not even being separated before being put into the ground.”

Moose was concerned about the government spending more money to pick up the slack for the recycling process and asked what the state government could do.

“Is there a way to offer private companies the opportunity to take these recycling products?” he said. “Because it would be useful to actually see these products being recycled continually and because the idea of recycling a product once and then never again is just a joke.”

Oaks addressed the common concerns with recycling matters and said there are arguments both for and against it.

“I think that your suggestion of something being recycled multiple times is great,” he said, “but a lot of the time the question is do we have a demand for the product to be made again and again.”

Moose is hopeful that the issue will become a priority for the governor.

“We live here because of the way things look. It really is a beautiful part of the state,” he said. “But if we continue on this path, it’s not going to look all that pretty anymore.”

Doug Verves, executive director of Cornell University Cooperative Extension, said he attended to listen to the budget plan and to raise his own questions about cooperative extension programs.

“I think it’s a tremendous service that he’s here today,” Verves said. “The assemblyman has been very responsive on issues and he’s always been terrific to getting back to us.”

Verves lives in Auburn and said that he also owns property in Wayne County. He saw the town hall meeting as an opportunity to become more informed about state issues.

“I applaud the local citizens for coming out and getting involved. I think if more people did it and took the time then it would help them to better understand what’s going on.” 

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