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Assembly backs local funding restoration

COURTESY PHOTO
Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) announced that the Assembly budget proposal includes full restoration of the Aid and Incentive to Municipalities Program (AIM), which had been sharply reduced in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan.

AIM money has provided state aid to towns, villages and cities outside New York City since it was first established in the 2005-06 fiscal year.

Last year the funding amounted to $715 million and, if the governor’s budget proposal is sustained, would be cut to $656 in the next fiscal year, Mr. Thiele said.

What’s more, in towns and villages where the aid equaled 2 percent or less, it would be totally eliminated, the legislator said.  That would affect more than 90 percent of the state’s villages and towns from getting aid, he said. Both Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island would see their AIM funding, he said.

The governor said county legislatures that are already strapped for money should provide the aid to those towns and villages that would be cut from AIM funds.

Mr. Thiele, who is chairman of the Assembly’s Local Government Committee, was backed by several colleagues, to call on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to fully restore the AIM funds in the Assembly budget.

The reduction would trigger tax increases for homeowners, cuts to services and layoffs of town and village employees, Mr. Thiele said.

“I am pleased that I have the backing of my colleagues in the Assembly to restore this critical funding,” he said. “However, our work is not done.”

The Assembly’s restoration of the funds still has to be pushed forward to the final state budget, he said.

If the 2019-20 state budget comes in on time, it would be decided by April 1.

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