Kinderhook wants its state aid money back

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board passed a resolution Monday night calling on Governor Cuomo and the state legislature to continue Aid & Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) in the proposed state budget.

Governor Cuomo announced in his 2019-20 executive budget in January that he would be cutting AIM funding for some municipalities. The state budget runs from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. The town budget started January 1 and runs through December 2019.

Councilwoman Sally Hogan, who proposed the resolution, said that the City of Hudson would be the only municipality in the county to receive AIM funding in the next state budget.

At the board’s February 4 meeting, Supervisor Pat Grattan said the town has received the AIM funding from the state for as long as he can remember and that the town budgeted for the $50,661 from the state in 2019. Now, with this announcement of the cut, he said the town has a “$50,661 hole in the budget.”

Ms. Hogan pointed out that Village of Kinderhook will lose $6,803 and the Village of Valatie will lose $9,399 in AIM funding. Village budgets run from June through May.

The Kinderhook Town resolution also points out that “aid to localities for local roads and bridges under the state’s Consolidated Local Street & Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) was maintained at 2018-19 levels in the Executive Budget.” CHIPs funding is another source of state aid that towns and villages receive.

“Now therefore be it resolved that the Kinderhook Town Board, with support of the Kinderhook Village Board and the Valatie Village Board, respectfully call on Governor Cuomo to restore AIM payments to the 1,300 villages, towns and cities negatively impacted in his 30-Day Amendments to the Executive Budget and state legislative leaders negotiate to make AIM payments permanent to the state’s local governments,” the resolution reads.

Maria Lull, the supervisor of the Town of Chatham, wrote a letter to the editor published in The Columbia Paper January 31 saying that her board also urged the governor to not cut AIM and other state aid. “State aid and AIM are extremely important to the towns who depend upon reliable state funding,” she wrote. She said the cut would “burden our local municipal government, making it necessary to either cut services, lay-off employees, and/or increase taxes.”

According to the Fiscal Year 2020 Executive Budget, the state has annually disbursed approximately $715 million in AIM to cities, towns and villages.

In this executive budget, “towns and villages for which AIM makes up less than 2% of total expenditures, as reported to the State Comptroller for their local fiscal years ending in 2017, would have their AIM eliminated. The affected municipalities have nearly $1.6 billion in reserves, more than 26 times the loss in revenue…. This proposal would eliminate AIM to those municipalities, while preserving it for those municipalities that rely on it most,” the budget reads.

The full document is at www.budget.ny.gov/pubs/archive/fy20/exec/fp/fy20fp-ex.pdf.

NYCOM, a state advocacy group for mayors and other municipal officers, said that lose of AIM would take a total of $16.4 million away from 480 of the 531 villages across the state.

The state Legislature reviews the executive budget before it is finalized and becomes the state budget. The governor and the Office of Comptroller recently announced that there is a $2.3 billion shortfall in the budget.

The Kinderhook Town resolution will be sent to Governor Cuomo, state Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43rd), Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th), the county Board of Supervisors, the mayors of the villages of Kinderhook and Valatie, and New York State Division of the Budget Director Robert Mujica.

In a press statement, Senator Jordan has already addressed the issue, saying, “It’s disappointing that the governor’s trying to balance the state budget on the backs of local taxpayers and local communities. I actually served in town government and know that localities do more with less and have already tightened their belts – and then some. The governor’s proposed AIM funding cuts amount to a shortsighted policy warranting immediate reconsideration. My Senate Republican colleagues and I will fight to restore the governor’s proposed AIM cuts.”

Also at the meeting:

• Supervisor Grattan asked residents who are seniors citizens and are interested in using a bus for transportation around town to contact the town clerk’s office. He said the clerk will make a list and the Town Board can “do an assessment of needs” to find out if the town can offer the service. Councilwoman Patsy Leader said the board needed to reach out to local seniors in person to let them know about the list. She also said that if the town does offer a bus service in the future it should have stops at the Hannaford supermarket and CVS. Residents can call Town Clerk Kim Pinkowski at 518 784-2233 ext. 301

• There is an opening on the town’s Smart Climate Committee. Mr. Grattan said the board would be looking for a new member

• Mr. Grattan also announced that the new electric car charging station in front the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, where the town hall is located, is up and running. The town received a grant from the state to put in the charging station. Part of the grant also covers the cost of charging at the station so charging is free to electric vehicle drivers for two years.

The next town board meeting will Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. in the Glynn Municipal Building on Church Street.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email moc.r1555715432epapa1555715432ibmul1555715432oc@el1555715432adsae1555715432te1555715432

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