Governor’s budget would cut AIM funding to villages, which already receive a paltry sum

Photo by Tom Rivers: Downtown Albion is shown in this photo from Oct. 21, 2018.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 January 2019 at 1:19 pm

The paltry state funding to villages in the form of Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) would be eroded to zero for most villages under the governor’s proposed budget.

Villages state-wide receive about $7 per capita in AIM funding while most cities get well in excess of $100 per person. Village officials have pressed for more AIM funding because the villages provide many critical services, similar to cities.

The argument for more money for villages hasn’t gained any traction in the State Legislature or from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In fact, the governor’s budget would wipe out AIM for 480 of the 531 villages in the state, about $16.4 million in total, according to the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials.

The four villages in Orleans – Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Medina – would all get nothing in AIM.

The governor decided to eliminate AIM for villages where the funding represents less than 2 percent of total expenditures, NYCOM said in a message to its member villages.

Albion currently receives $38,811 and would go to $0. The AIM represents 0.52 percent of the Albion’s $7,516,265 total budget, which includes the general fund, and water and sewer budgets.

Holley would go from $17,786 to $0. The current AIM represents 0.51 percent of the village’s $3,503,368 budget.

Lyndonville’s $6,251 in AIM accounts for 0.54 percent of the village’s $1,147,969 budget.

Medina has been receiving $45,523 in AIM, which is 0.42 percent of the village’s $10,822,022 budget.

“In the context of a $175 billion state budget and in a year where the Governor is proposing significant increases in state revenues through both the Internet sales tax and the legalization of marijuana, I fail to see why this draconian action is necessary and you can rest assured that we will fight to get this cut restored,” Peter Baynes, NYCOM executive director, said in a message to villages. “I strongly encourage every mayor whose village would be impacted by this proposal to call their Senator and Assembly member as soon as possible to let them know your position on this action and to ask for their public support of AIM restoration for villages.”

The Orleans County villages have passed resolutions in recent years, asking the state for a significant hike in AIM. The governor and State Legislature haven’t increased the amount in several years. Now, most of the villages are facing the prospect of no AIM funding.

The governor’s proposal compounds a tough financial situation for villages, especially in small counties where villages get a small percentage or nothing in the local sales tax. Villages also tend to have few open lots for development to boost the tax base.

“When it comes to local governments and the property tax, the Governor’s budget fails to abide by its theme of ‘justice,’ as it would eliminate state aid for the vast majority of New York’s smallest local governments,” Baynes said. “If the goal this legislative session is to enact progressive tax reform, it will not be achieved by cutting local aid and removing municipalities’ ability to follow through on their goal to reduce the regressive property tax burden. We urge state legislators to join NYCOM in the fight to restore these cuts, preserve the essential municipal services funded by this aid, and protect New Yorkers from state-induced increases in the regressive local property tax.”

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