Towns, villages face proposed funding cuts
ALBANY-- Gov. Andrew Cuomo's newest budget proposal is an unwelcome surprise for the majority of towns and villages across the state.
Cuomo's' budget, which he unveiled Tuesday, Jan. 15, changes how the state distributes what's considered Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (referred to as AIM) or state money for local governments to use as needed.
The state now plans to eliminate the AIM funding to towns and villages--unless the amount they receive is more than 2 percent of their budget.
Peter Baynes, executive director for the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), said, "When it comes to local governments and the property tax, the Governor's budget fails to abide by the theme of 'justice' as it would eliminate state aid (AIM funding) for the vast majority of New York's smallest local governments."
Estimates state that 1328 of the state's 1465 towns and villages will see their AIM funding eliminated if the new budget passes as proposed.
Dundee Mayor Fred Cratsley, Jr. said, " I hope for the local residents that this is just a budget ploy (from the state) to get something else because the loss of AIM is almost 2 percent of our tax levy. This is actually pretty sad, because the cuts will cripple the rural areas outside the larger municipalities. We just can't ask our residents to take on another tax increase. We may have to look at cutting back some services. I will be talking with our state representatives to see what options may be available."
According to the NYCOM information the proposed AIM funding cuts for Yates County villages include: Penn Yan, $40,621, Dundee, $11,733 and Dresden $3,145. In Schuyler County, the village cuts may be: Watkins Glen, $21,318, Montour Falls, $10,262, Odessa, $4,097 and Burdett, $4,162. In Steuben County, Hammondsport could lose $ $9,760.
State officials have said that AIM funding is not that significant in (the villages) overall budgets and plus local governments will be in line for a sales tax windfall from the state closing a loophole on internet sales that has allowed Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and other companies to avoid collecting sales tax on sales by third parties.