Medina passes resolution to end ‘obscene disparity’ in state funding
MEDINA – The Village Board approved a formal resolution on Monday that demands a fair formula for sharing state aid to villages, an issue the Orleans Hub has been pushing for more than a year.
Medina only receives $45,523 a year in state Aid and Incentives to Municipalities. The village has 6,065 residents and functions much like a small city with full-time police and fire departments, as well as many other services.
Salamanca in Cattaraugus County is nearly the same size as Medina. Salamanca gets $928,131 in AIM funding for a city of 5,815 people.
Medina passed a resolution that notes New York State provides $714 million in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities each year, with 90 percent of that going to upstate cities. The per capita AIM funding is $277 per city resident and only $7 for residents in towns and villages.
“This is a start in the right direction,” said Medina Mayor Andrew Meier. “We need AIM calculations that are more equitable and stop this obscene disparity.”
Orleans County Legislature Chairman David Callard said the county would like to see every town and village, as well as the County Legislature, pass similar resolutions.
Meier said the current AIM system is particularly punitive to villages with about 5,000 to 10,000 residents. Those villages tend to have the full-time police, and services – and challenges – that mirror cities.
“Villages like Albion and Medina are stuck in an awful purgatory,” Meier said. “We’re not considered a full-fledged city but we’re doing all of the work.”
Here is the text of the resolution approved by the Medina Village Board:
Resolution No. 1
February 23, 2015
WHEREAS, New York State provides $714 million in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) each year, and 90 percent of that goes to upstate cities;
WHEREAS, the AIM funding per capita is $277 per city resident and only $7 for residents in towns and villages;
WHEREAS, there are 549 villages with a combined population of 1,918,032 in New York State, including four (Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Medina) in Orleans County with a population of 14,770;
WHEREAS, many villages wrestle with the same problems as cities, with aging infrastructure, blighted housing, abandoned commercial sites, brownfields and increased crime rates;
WHEREAS, villages are similar to cities with a high concentration of senior citizens and low-income families;
WHEREAS, villages mirror cities as centers for culture, civic and religious life, especially in rural counties;
WHEREAS, villages are like cities with many important community structures – churches, courthouses, schools and other public buildings – that do not pay taxes, shifting the tax burden for those sites to other residents in the village or city;
WHEREAS, the state’s tiny share of AIM funding for villages has put villages at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining businesses and residents;
WHEREAS, the huge disparity in AIM funding between the cities and villages is a form of state-sponsored economic discrimination, resulting in much higher tax bills for village residents and a diminished quality of life;
WHEREAS, the erosion of the village tax base has shifted a greater burden of town, county and school district tax burden outside the village, punishing the outside-village residents as well;
WHEREAS, the high tax rates in the village encourage suburban sprawl, making nearby green space and farm land vulnerable for housing tracts, industrial parks and “Big Box” stores;
WHEREAS, a Village resident is no less a New Yorker than a city resident;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, the Village Board of the Village of Medina calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to adopt a fair formula for sharing AIM funding so Village residents can enjoy municipal services and their homes without being taxed to death; and
RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Village Board shall forward copies of this Resolution to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Senator Robert Ortt, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, and all others deemed necessary and proper.