Over 540 Mayors join in Albany to ask for Restoration of AIM funding

Over 540 Mayors from across NYS headed to Albany this week in response to the proposal to remove Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding from the state budget.

Joined by Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, who is also the Vice President of the New York Conference of Mayors, the group of officials called for the restoration of the nearly $60 million in funds to the budget.  The Village of Freeport alone stands to lose approximately $900,000 in funding if the changes go through, which would result in a $1 million deficit in the 2019-20 budget.  This, in turn, could result in a 3% increase in village taxes to help cover the loss.

A report from the Governor’s office cited a reduction in taxes across the state as partial justification from the cut.  However, Long Island officials noted that Long Island still has some of the highest tax burdens in the state, which makes any increase a heavy lift for most residents.

Mayor Kennedy talked about how necessary those funds are for a Village such as his, which is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  AIM funding has allowed the municipality to replace defective water mains and sewer lines while also maintaining 350 zombie homes.  He also noted that the Village has gone six years without an increase to property taxes while staying below the 2% cap.  The elimination of AIM funding would be akin to punishment after that stretch.

“AIM funding is desperately needed,” Kennedy said. Eliminating it “would require to cut back or eliminate services which protect and better the quality of life for our residents.”

Continuance of AIM funding was a priority for the LI Lobby Coalition in last year’s platform and we continue to support this important source of funding for local municipalities. We urge our readers to contact their local legislators on this important issue to ensure that Towns and Villages can get this revenue for muich-needed projects.

You can read more here.