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Albion Village Board passes resolutions seeking more AIM funding, money for ‘hosting’ prisons

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 January 2017 at 10:09 am

ALBION – The Village Board approved two resolutions on Wednesday seeking more state AIM funding and also money for hosting two prisons in the community.

The board voted after seeing the resolutions and issues detailed in the Orleans Hub: “Editorial: Increasing AIM funding would be big boost to poverty-stricken villages” and “Editorial: NY should give ‘prison towns’ funds for being hosts to sprawling sites with a negative stigma.”

The AIM issue, where New York gives $277 in aid per capita to city residents and only $7 to village and town residents, has vexed the village for several years.

The Albion Village Board has gone on the record previously seeking an end in disparity for Aid and Incentives to Municipalities.

Trustee Peter Sidari said AIM funds for Albion on par with the City of Salamanca’s AIM dollars would have a dramatic impact in Albion.

Albion and its 6,056 residents receive $38,811 in AIM funding. Salamanca in Cattaraugus County is nearly the same size with 5,815 people. Salamanca gets $928,131 in AIM funding.

“First thing we could do is lower the taxes, that’s the biggest thing,” Sidari said if the AIM funding for Albion was at Salamanca’s level.

Albion’s village tax rate of $17.66 per $1,000 of assessed property is one of the highest in the region despite the village reducing staff in recent years.

“We could build up different areas,” Sidari said. “But first and foremost is too allay some of the taxes.”

While the AIM disparity has raised the ire of many villages for years, the idea of a host community benefits package for a “prison town” seems to be a new concept. Albion is believed to be the first municipality to pass a resolution asking the Governor and State Legislature to provide revenue for communities with prisons.

Orleans Hub, in an editorial on Wednesday, suggested the state provide $1 each day per inmate for the host community.

Albion has two prisons with about 2,000 inmates total. If the state provided $1 per day for each inmate, in Albion that would add up to $730,000. Orleans Hub suggested divvying up that money using a typical PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan used by the Economic Development Agency. The EDA takes the tax rates from each municipality and calculates a pro-rated share of the money based on the rates.

With that formula, in Albion the town would get 10 percent of prison money, the county 20 percent, and the village and school district would each receive 35 percent. That would be about $73,000 for town, $146,000 for county and $255,500 each for both village and school district. (That would lower the village taxes by about 11 percent.)

State-wide, $1 per inmate per day would add up to about $20 million annually to be shared among the “prison towns.”

Communities with landfills, industrial-sized wind turbines and video gaming centers all receive financial compensation for having those facilities. (The communities with video gaming centers received $29.3 million from the state in 2016.)

The Albion Village Board is sending the resolutions to Gov. Cuomo, local members of the State Legislature and also the New York Conference of Mayors, hoping that group would take up the issues in its legislative committee.

Village Trustee Eileen Banker, chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley, abstained from voting on the resolutions, although she said she supports both proposals.

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