comeback orleans

Norris-sponsored legislation looks at ‘antiquated’ formula for AIM funding

Posted 10 June 2021 at 7:35 am

Villages get far less than cities in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities

Press Release, Assemblyman Mike Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) is proud to announce that legislation he sponsors (A.6601) to establish the New York State Aid and Incentives for Municipalities Redesign Task Force has been passed in the Assembly.

It was previously passed in the state Senate, and now will return to that house to be delivered to the governor for his consideration to become law.

“When we talk about the upstate-downstate divide in our state, the antiquated funding formula for our municipal governments is a perfect example,” Norris said. “Upstate taxpayers are being shortchanged because of decades old funding formulas like this. But this bill is an example of how my colleagues and I came together and worked across the aisle to address this issue,” said Norris. “This is an important step in modernizing and enhancing the way this funding will be calculated in future state budgets.”

(Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub has frequently written about the disparity in AIM, how villages with police and fire departments receive about $7 per capita in AIM, while cities with similar levels of services receive well over $100. In Buffalo’s case, the per capita aid is over $600. In the Village of Albion, it’s $6.41, about 1 percent of what Buffalo gets. Click here to see a chart and article with more information.)

This legislation is significant because it would reimagine the state’s funding for local governments, commonly referred to as Aid to Municipalities (AIM). In recent years, AIM funding has been the cause of contention as local governments have gone without any funding increase from Albany while at the same time being asked to foot the bill for new costly mandates, as well as increased costs (such as energy, transportation, etc.). This causes local taxes to go up, although local taxing entities try to stay within the 2 percent property tax cap.

The current AIM funding formula is based off of aid levels dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s for cities, and even later for towns and villages – putting the amount of state aid municipalities receive at an unfair disadvantage, particularly in upstate communities.

Norris said, “The problem has been further exacerbated by the pandemic in so many towns and villages across our state – particularly in small, rural communities. That’s why I am so pleased my colleagues finally recognized how this revenue stream needs to be addressed in order to aid taxpayers and smaller jurisdictions.”

The bill creates a temporary municipal redesign task force (set to expire by Dec. 31, 2022) to investigate state funding for cities, towns and villages through AIM, which have not seen an increase in 12 years. The task force would report to the governor and state Legislature within one year of convening on a variety of issues, including the AIM funding formula, distribution of resources and alternative solutions and models. The goal would be to have the findings included in the next state budget.

Norris was among a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to sponsor the bill in both houses, and it also had the support of the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials. If signed into law by the governor, the bill will immediately allow for the convening of the temporary task force.

2 canal bridges reopen with a new look

Photos by Tom Rivers: A worker is shown on Friday at the Bates Road canal bridge in Medina. Crane Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport is the contractor on the project. The bridge has reopened to traffic, but there is some additional work to be done, including installation of sidewalk grating for pedestrian access.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2020 at 8:36 am

Work on bridges includes repainting from green to black

Two more canal bridges have reopened after major repairs. The Bates Road canal bridge in Medina and the Telegraph Road bridge in Murray both reopened to traffic on June 27.

They are part of a $10.7 million contract for seven canal bridges in Orleans County.

The Telegraph Road Bridge had been closed since Aug. 5, 2019 for steel repairs. The Bates Road Bridge was closed on Nov. 8, 2019 for the same reason.

Here is how the Bates Road bridge looked on Nov. 27, 2017, before the construction work.

The work is being completed by Crane Hogan Structural Systems in Spencerport and includes installing galvanized steel to replace steel floor systems, low chords, gusset plates, and truss elements. Bridge railing and guide rail on the bridge approaches also were improved and the bridges were repainted black. They were green but the black matches the original color.

The  seven single-lane truss bridges were constructed between 1909 and 1914.

Five of the seven bridges have now reopened after extensive repairs. Those include Bennetts Corners Road in Murray, Telegraph Road in Murray, Transit Road in Murray, Densmore Road in Albion, and Bates Road in Medina.

There are two additional bridges currently closed for construction work: Gaines Basin Road in Gaines and Marshall Road in Ridgeway.

Mark Schwenk took this photo on June 27, the first day of the Telegraph Road bridge being reopened to traffic.

The canal bridge on Telegraph Road in Murray is pictured on March 12, 2018.

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