The money that municipalities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany receive from the state is called Aid to Municipalities, or AIM funding. Cities use AIM to pay for things like supplies and wages for police officers and firefighters. AIM has totaled about $715 million a year since 2012.
Using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, if you spent $1,000 on supplies and wages back in 2012, they would cost you $353 more in 2024.
But cities haven’t received an increase, so AIM funding has effectively been cut thanks to inflation.
Barbara Van Epps, executive director of NYCOM, the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials, says the disinvestment in municipalities by the state is evident when you drive down the street.
“We’re trying to upgrade our infrastructure; we can’t do that. We’re trying to tear down buildings; we can’t do a lot of that….because we have to provide essential services. We have to make sure that water is flowing and the lights are on,” Van Epps told Capital Tonight. “And those things cannot happen if we don’t have money to plug these holes that we have in our own budgets.”
When asked what NYCOM is looking for in the state budget, Van Epps says the group wants to change how the aid is calculated.
“We’ll take whatever they’re willing to give us. If they adjusted us for inflation, we think that number would be in the $300 million range,” she said. “But we would take 12%, 15%, that would be ideal. Get us started and then work our way back up.”