Governor’s AIM reduction shows his contempt for rural communities
Governor Andrew Cuomo jumped onto the front steps of Upstate New York, rang the bell, and left a flaming bag of excrement at our door.
In the budget he has put forth, he has proposed to cut Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM), but not for everyone. Originally designed as an incentive program for municipalities to explore cost saving measures, the figures for such aid have remained flat for ten years. However, for the budget year 2019 for most towns and villages in Orleans County these numbers will go to zero! Interestingly, large cities and urban populations are exempt from such reductions.
According to the website of the State Comptroller, “Though not required in order to receive AIM payments, local government officials are encouraged to use multiyear financial planning as a long-term budgeting tool.” How ironic that the desire is to promote “multiyear financial planning as a long term budgeting tool,” and to then surprise us, after our budgets have been submitted, with a significant cut such as this in State aid.
Our budgets for 2019 have been approved and submitted according to the guidelines put forth by the state. This retroactive action by the Governor shows a blatant disregard for the problems of Upstate New York. He had not made mention of these plans prior to the last election. Now with his third term safely in hand, he can, and has, let us all know the disdain he obviously feels for rural upstate counties, towns, and villages, many of which did not vote his way in the last election.
His office’s statement that the loss in funding will not seriously impact these communities is just plain false. Full disclosure; the Town of Murray’s AIM funding, according to the formulas used, remains at last year’s levels at least for now. However, we are nonetheless disappointed in this action by the Governor, because we understand the budgeting hardships it imposes on others in Orleans County. We deserve much better than this.
Robert G. Miller
Murray Town Supervisor