Many of New York state’s mayors celebrated a long-awaited bump in state funding for their municipalities in the recently passed state budget.

AIM, or Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, will see a $50 million boost in unrestricted funding for cities — the first in 15 years.

But according to municipal budgeting expert Greg Rabb, an adjunct professor of public administration at Buffalo State University and former president of the Jamestown City Council, it’s far from enough, and some municipalities, including the cities of Buffalo and Dunkirk, are heading for trouble.

“[$50 million] is a drop in the bucket,” Rabb told Capital Tonight, especially if you divide it up between the state’s 62 cities.

“Cities, especially right now with the COVID money disappearing, aren’t going to be able to pay their bills very soon,” Rabb continued. “Part of the reason for that is that expenses keep going up. We know that from our own household budgets going up and up.”

Another part of the problem, according to Rabb, is that taxable assessed property isn’t rising with the rate of inflation and municipalities can’t raise taxes fast enough to keep up with expenses.  

Rabb discussed why the loss of population in upstate cities are also serving to exacerbate the problem, which has been made worse due to the cost of health care and pension obligations.