Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2019-20 spending plan is not set to include its annual aid from New York State for the fiscal year beginning June 1 to the Town of North Hempstead, the Town of Hempstead, the Village of New Hyde Park and The Village of Floral Park.
In the proposed spending plan, villages and towns have plenty of company; according to one source, 1,328 of the state’s 1,465 towns and villages will receive zero in funding from the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program. In the governor’s $175.2 billion budget, only those municipalities whose AIM accounts for at least 2 percent of their budget will receive this unrestricted funding.
Regionally, the biggest loser is the Town of Hempstead, who was the recipient of about $3.848 million in AIM in 2018.
Every year since Cuomo assumed office in 2011, AIM has remained the same: $715 million, with the vast majority ($647 million) going to cities. The AIM, in Cuomo’s 2020 proposal, will be cut by $60 million to $655 million. Funding will stay the same for cities, and the 9 percent of towns and villages that retain eligibility will share the remaining $8 million.
According to the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle, “state lawmakers will have to parse whether the AIM funding cut is a necessary cost-cutting measure or a strategic move by Cuomo, who is well-known for using the levers of power to help negotiate a budget agreement each year. The Democratic governor is seeking a permanent property tax cap extension—something many towns and villages despise—and could seek to trade restoration of the funding as a compromise.”
In a statement, NYCOM Executive Director Peter A. Baynes said, “When it comes to local governments and the property tax, the governor’s budget fails to abide by its theme of ‘justice,’ as it would eliminate state aid for the vast majority of New York’s smallest local governments….We urge state legislators to join NYCOM in the fight to restore these cuts, preserve the essential municipal services funded by this aid, and protect New Yorkers from state-induced increases in the regressive local property tax.”
Budget negotiations usually produce an agreement by the mandated deadline of March 31.
Town, Villages React
The Village of Floral Park, which is a part of the Town of Hempstead, would lose $270,822, while the Village of New Hyde Park would lose $148,904.
“The proposed cuts in AIM funding will have a serious detrimental effect on the village budget,” said Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi. “The loss of approximately 1 percent of our revenue could result in cutbacks to services we have come to appreciate and enjoy. This proposal is yet another attack by New York State on this continuing pattern to destroy the suburban way of life in New York. The Floral Park village board and staff will work to ensure that our quality of life and the ability to continue to choose how we want our community to be remains and is enhanced.”
In the 2018-19 year, the Town of North Hempstead, received $1,023,565 in funding, while the proposed budget offers $0 in funding.
The Village of South Floral Park will be keeping their funding of $30,932 while the Village of Bellerose will lose their funding of $14,228.
“We always appreciate and rely on AIM funding from the state,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Our town’s 2019 budget has already been established and it would be extremely problematic to change it in mid-stream. We will wait to see what happens in the State Senate and Assembly throughout the state’s budget process.”
—Additional reporting by Frank Rizzo