The New York state Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM) is once again reiterating a request to increase funding for local governments that pays for things like supplies and wages for police officers and firefighters, according to a letter it sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders.

AIM funding, which stands for Aid to Municipalities, has totaled about $715 million a year since 2012 and has remained relatively stagnant since that time. Mayors from across the state have been pushing for an increase after AIM funding level remained the same in the governor's executive budget proposal.

"For years, local governments have not been given the critical assistance they need from the State to improve our communities and, in turn, New York’s quality of life," the letter dated Feb. 29 from NYCOM reads. "Revenue sharing (the precursor to AIM) was established with the goal of providing local governments with predictable amounts of state aid that would increase as state income tax collections grew over time. Not only has this 'formula' been ignored for decades, but AIM funding remains flat once again in the Executive Budget and has not increased in fifteen years. This neglect from state government has led to rising municipal tax burdens and harmful disinvestment in essential municipal services and staff."

At recent hearings on the matter, upstate mayors pointed out that inflation is up 32% since the last time there was an increase in AIM funding, which pays for police officers, firefighters and general quality of life issues.

"Given the current challenges of rising inflation, the end of extraordinary federal aid, and the leveling off of sales tax revenue, local leaders are having to institute new and different ways to achieve fiscal sustainability," NYCOM's letter reads. "In recent years, both the Senate and Assembly have demonstrated their support for a significant and long-overdue increase in AIM funding. We hope we can count on all of you to finally, after 15 years, come together to make this a reality in the adopted 2024-25 State Budget."

Barbara Van Epps, executive director of NYCOM, told Capital Tonight in February that 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 at the time. “But we would take 12%, 15%, that would be ideal. Get us started and then work our way back up."

The state budget is due April 1.


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