Broome County leaders concerned over AIM funding

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(WBNG) — The deadline for the state budget is now less than a week away and county leaders are calling for a change to be made before it passes.

Their concerns are over whats called the Assistance and Incentives for Municipalities funding, or AIM.

AIM funding was cut from the governor’s budget completely back in January.

Twenty of the 24 municipalities in Broome County receive a total of $1.4 million, including the Town of Union.

Out of that, the Town of Union is set to receive $305,209, and without the money the town would have been forced to cut more than four positions.

“Then we’d have cuts in services because we wouldn’t be able to provide as many services as we do. And some of them, we’re talking about trash collection, we’re talking about doing highway projects, things like that,” said Town of Union Supervisor Rick Materese.

Weeks later, after many bipartisan groups opposed the cut, a change was made.

“That proposal was changed, where they now are requiring the counties to pay for the towns and villages AIM funding. So to me this is like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

Garnar says he supports AIM funding, but says it shouldn’t fall to the county.

“This is a state program and the state should be able to pay for its own program. We think it’s a good program we think it’s really important for the tons and villages to get that funding,” said Garnar.

He says making up $1.4 million is a burden.

“It’s going to require us to cut services or raise taxes,” said Garnar. “$1.4 million means an automatic two percent tax increase for Broome County taxpayers.”

He says the proposal is a way for the county to move backward.

“Quite honestly we really feel that people can’t pay anymore in taxes, we really should be working to reduce people’s taxes,” said Garnar.

It comes as Broome just recently got off the state’s fiscally stressed county list.

“We’re starting to rebuild our finances, we just had a tax cut last year,” said Garnar

Garnar says state leaders who represent our area like Senator Fred Akshar and Assembly members Donna Lupardo and Clifford Crouch are fighting to stop this proposal push in Albany.

The state budget deadline is April 1, which means there is less than a week for the funding to be restored.

We’re waiting to hear back from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office for a comment.

Annabelle Flaherty

Annabelle Flaherty

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