When Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his latest fiscal budget, it included a few dark surprises. The one that touches us locally is the proposed elimination of AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) funding for any village whose AIM amount is less than 2% of their 2017 all funds expenditure. This would be a total of $16.4 million of funding away from 480 of New York States 531 villages. This would include the Village of Warwick, Florida and Greenwood Lake. Specifically, the Village of Warwick’s loss would be $28,312 in state funding.
Although the state aid represents less than 2% of any of the many New York State village budgets, it still represents critical funding especially for small communities who have few revenue options.
The Governor over the years has doubled down on villages – like a bully in the playground he’s set his eyes on the smallest and most vulnerable of municipal entities. Sadly, at the end of the day he takes credit for the continued local budget cutting and shared services although this has always been part of the time-honored activities by village and towns throughout New York State.
Is this the way to govern? Creating budgets that take away from the states smallest municipalities and give no true incentives for growth or community improvement.
Recently the Federal Government went through the longest shutdown in history. The federal employees were used as bargaining chips. In this case the Governor of New York State is using villages and towns as a form of budget leverage.
This is a discouraging, if not disquieting form of leadership. Instead of focusing on solutions that would inspire and make great communities throughout our state, he has determined they are expendable or who’s only use is to threaten legislators at the budget table. It is clear Governor Cuomo has a lack of empathy or care towards the folks who comprise the remarkable hamlets, villages and towns in New York State. The Village of Warwick has sent a resolution to the Governors and elected representatives in Albany. The Orange County Association of Towns and Villages is sending a joint resolution as well.
If you would like to help defend the cause, please contact our local representatives:
Karl Brabenec: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Metzger: email@example.com
The next Village Board meeting will take place Monday, February 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall, 77 Main Street.