LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County lawmakers urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week to restore Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding to villages and towns cut from his proposed 2019-20 state budget.
Only the villages of Delevan and Portville and four towns, Allegany, Portville, Persia and Dayton, escaped the governor’s AIM axe.
Last year, Cattaraugus County villages received $117,705 in AIM funding and towns got $443,491.
The cities of Olean and Salamanca, which will not see AIM cuts, will receive $2.2 million and $928,000, respectively.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Norman Marsh, R-Little Valley; Barbara Hastings, D-Allegany; and David Koch, D-Salamanca. All 14 legislators in attendance agreed to be co-sponsors and it passed unanimously.
Marsh, who is also Little Valley mayor, said unless the cuts are restored by the state legislature, his village would lose about $11,000 in aid. That amounts to about 3 percent of the village’s general fund — not counting the sewer and water fund and the municipal electric utility.
“Seven of the nine villages in the county will lose AIM funding,” Marsh told his colleagues. “Where are we supposed to get our money? A lot of towns will be in the same boat as the villages.”
Statewide, 1,328 towns and villages lost AIM funding in the governor’s proposed budget; many of the municipalities already have their budgets in place for 2019 and were counting on the AIM funding.
Marsh said the pressure is on state lawmakers to reverse the governor’s proposal.
“He’s doing this to push villages into consolidating with towns,” Marsh said.
That would be a disaster for Little Valley, he said. It would probably cost the village it’s municipal power status and mean big increases in electric bills.
Legislators Robert Breton, R-Franklinville; Frank Higgins, R-Olean; and Howard VanRensselaer, were absent from the vote.
The resolution seeks restoration of AIM funding for local municipalities where the funding accounts for less than 2 percent of the municipal budget.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)