On February 5, Mayors and Supervisors from across Westchester Counter held a press conference with Peter Baynes, Director of the NY Conference of Mayors, at the Village of Port Chester Senior Center to discuss the proposed elimination of AIM funding (state aid to villages and towns).
In the Governor’s 2019-2020 Executive Budget, he has proposed the elimination of AIM funding for any village or town whose AIM amount is less than 2% of their 2017 all funds expenditures – which would take a total of $16.4 million away from 480 of New York’s 531 villages. All 23 villages in Westchester County would lose every dollar of AIM funding for a total cut of $1.9 million; 17 of 19 towns (excluding towns of Pelham and Rye) would lose all of their AIM funding, for a total cut of $2.0 million.
WMOA President and Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson said, “The services of Towns, Villages and Cities shape the quality of life in a community and are designed to provide for a safe and comfortable environment. Aim funding provides essential aid to municipal budgets. The loss of AIM funding could force municipalities to raise local taxes even as the State asks municipalities to operate within a tax cap.”
Mayor of Tuckahoe, Steve Ecklond said, “The elimination of this aide to Tuckahoe represents approximately ¾ of 1% of our budget. This program should not eliminated, rather it should remain and be increased. The State should be partnering with us and helping us during these tough times, not adding to our tax burden.”
Dana Levenberg, Supervisor of the Town of Ossining, said, “The cut to AIM funding in the Town of Ossining may represent less than a 2 percent cut of the total budget, but it represents an 8 percent cut of the non-tax revenue for the general fund. That is a 4.1 percent increase for taxpayers just to maintain the status quo. We need more, not less AIM money to achieve our collective goals.”
Towns and Cities in Westchester County are responsible for and must incur the cost of collecting school and county taxes. The Towns and Cities receive no compensation or reimbursement for the expense of having to collect these taxes and must remit to the school and county the full value of their tax levies regardless of whether the taxes are actually collected.
Several other Supervisors and Mayors spoke about the need to retain and increase AIM funding.