More money could be heading to Central New York. The Assembly has passed a budget proposal that includes increases in municipal aid through AIM, or Aid and Incentives to Municipalities funding. Central New York would see a total increase of $2.8 million dollars. But, the problem for some people is the unequal distribution of that money.
“Over the last census, I know we had a slight increase in our population, I’ve been hearing the cities have been losing a lot of population so if it’s based on that, yeah there’s some discrepancy,” says Charles Gibbs ll, Whitestown Town Supervisor.
With a population of about 19-thousand people, Whitestown could see about $14-thosand dollars of the municipality aid. Meanwhile, in the city of Rome that has a population of about 33-thousand people, it could see $1 million dollars. That’s obviously a large difference.
“It does seem like there is inequity in that. That’s why I would tend to believe it is based on a needs basis. I know the cities are unfortunately in worse financial shape, at least from our town’s standpoint,” says Supervisor Gibbs.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi says the proposal would increase AIM funding for the first time in five years and Utica could see nearly $2-million dollars.
“I would stress to the Common Council and the Mayor to look to the Comptrollers report and use this money to replenish their fund balance and provide tax relief to the citizens of Utica,” says Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, (D) District 119.
“That money may be able to be used for a future, not just plugging the hole temporarily,” says Mayor Rob Palmieri, city of Utica.
But Mayor Palmieri says he’s not going to get too excited until he has the check in hand. And he says the plan would be to invest, not spend.
“One of our costs that our really skyrocketing on a consistent basis is our healthcare and it may be an opportunity for us to be self insured,” says Mayor Palmieri.
As for Whitestown, clearly the money wouldn’t have the same impact. Supervisor Gibbs says he’s grateful for any additional money but he would like the Assembly to take a closer look.
“Would be interesting to see how the formula was developed. Was it based on population, was it based on need, on sales tax figures? That would be an interesting question for the state officials on how that formula was actually developed,” says Supervisor Gibbs.
And of course none of this is a done deal just yet. Both the Assembly and Senate’s budget still has to be approved by the Governor before moving forward.
The Assembly Budget also includes the following increases in AIM funding:
$1.8 million to Utica;
$1 million to Rome;
$13,988 to Whitestown;
$4,410 to Frankfort;
$4,149 to Floyd;
$3,510 to Marcy
Below is a link to the complete list: