From the Stamford residents that bothered showing up to Tuesday evening's public hearing on the proposed operating and capital budget for 2013-14, support was mostly voiced to the board members present.
Less than 10 individuals in total, of the approximate 30 residents in attendance, chose to speak at the hearing, held in Westhill High School's auditorium. Most voiced support and thanks for the presented education funding, expressing that they were happy with the changes Superintendent Dr. Winnie Hamilton's budget had gone through since its initial unveiling.
"We have cut too much. We have to stop the cutting," said resident Marge Shyavitz. "They're affecting the quality of life. Our schools don't get the funds they need, our libraries don't get the funds they need and obviously, downtown is not getting the funds they need. No more cuts."
Rep. Jay Fountain, Chair of the Fiscal Committee, explained that, while a late date change for the meeting to a day where there was also a Board of Education meeting may have left some who planned to initially attend unable, he said a supportive community is probably partially to blame for the low attendance.
"Well, I think both factors contributed to [low turnout]. There's no big [surprises] and we can't do anything but cut," Fountain said. "I think people understand that now. I was surprised we didn't have any people coming out—we usually have one or two coming out saying, 'Don't raise taxes.' I was surprised because that's a thing we usually see."
The Board of Finance's David Martin said if the public still had points it would like to express and they didn't have a chance to make it out to the public hearing, there are a number of options available.
"We have the 'open mic' [public speaking portion] for three minutes [each at the Board of Finance] meetings," Martin said. "Certainly they can submit letters or emails if there is a very different feeling in the community than what was expressed here, there are ways to communicate that. I believe, at least for myself, we listen to the comments and the feelings, but we also have to judge what else we hear from other members of the community that might not have been able to make it."