AIM Funding Cuts
One of the challenges in Governor Cuomo’s budget was the elimination of AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipal) funding. Broome County already has some of the highest property taxes in the nation and the reduction of this funding will force local communities to run up against the property tax cap or significantly reduce expenses.
Currently, all localities that rely on AIM funding by 2% or less are going to lose their funding unless the Governor’s budget is altered. Broome County municipalities are slated to lose $1,395,917 in total. This would either result in cuts to service or an increase in taxes.
Some of our local elected officials have communicated to the Chamber how this will affect their localities.
The chamber calls for appropriating the AIM funding back to local municipalities. We can not increase expense on local governments through unfunded mandates, and then turn around and cut their funding. Property taxes must be kept in check in order to help create a healthier business climate.
A few concerns from local officials are as follows:
Mayor of Endicott John Bertoni:
I am strongly opposed to any cut or elimination of AIM funding to Villages and Towns in New York State. This lack of funding would send a shock wave through communities that have professional Police and Fire Departments, and would also hurt the ability of Villages to update equipment and services to our residents. We need this funding to maintain the Village Taxpayers current quality of life and continued services.
Mayor of Johnson City Greg Deemie:
To the Village of Johnson City this is a loss of close to 200k dollars in funding. This would cause a 2% cut to our budget we would have to make up. In order to fill this gap we would either have to increase taxes, cut services (such as cutting hours village hall is open, less roadwork, cutting number of days we collect garbage, sweep streets, raise fees for some of the smaller services we provide-Death/Birth certificates) or possibly eliminating personnel which would impact public safety or possibly all of the above. We are already held to a 2% tax cap on property taxes now. This cut would make it even more difficult to stay under the cap. This will not help our taxpayer but will impact them negatively. It may seem like a small cut in the overall state budget but in reality it has major implications in the budgets of our local municipalities. We rely on every dollar we have. I am strongly urging my representative’s in Albany to please fight to have this funding restored.”
Town of Windsor Supervisor Carolyn Price:
The Town of Windsor has allocated $46,045 in the General Fund for Aid and Incentives for Municipal Funding (AIM). The total General Fund budget for 2019 is $804,577. The AIM is 5.7% of budgeted revenue. If the State takes this revenue away, the loss would take all of the Contingency allocation which is $18,300. The remainder of the loss, $27,745, would be accounted for by having each of these departments (Town Court, Supervisor, Assessor, Town Clerk, Town Hall, Traffic Control, Dog Control, Garage, Street Lighting, Veterans Service, Band Concerts, Historian, Celebrations) reduce their contractual expenses by nearly 29%.
Reducing contractual spending has a ripple effect because town purchases are often made in the Southern Tier area. Less spending means less business for local businesses.
Town of Union Supervisor Rick Materese:
The Town of Union is made up of the Villages of Endicott and Johnson City as well Endwell, West Endicott, West Corners and more. With a population of approximately 53,000 residents, we make more than one quarter of Broome County’s inhabitants.
The cut in funding hits our town in three ways. First there is a hit to the Village of Endicott and its budget. Second, there is a hit to the Village of Johnson City and its budget. Third, there is a hit to the residents of the Town and the budget (known as Part Town) affecting those who are not part of either village.
If the aid is lost during the current 2019 year, the 0% levy (already billed) would become a 4.2% increase, taking us above the 2% tax cap. In order to make up that gap, using an average salary and benefits figure, the loss of $305,000 equates to a loss of 4.3 full time employees. We are a service organization. Those cuts would result in service disruption and inefficiency.