New York State Senator Pam Helming, Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan and Farmington Town Supervisor Peter Ingalsbe are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore the VLT funding cuts in his Executive Budget.
The budget eliminates nearly $1.5 million in potential funding to the Town of Farmington and Ontario County.
Currently, Ontario County and the Town of Farmington receive a portion of the proceeds of wagers placed on video lottery terminals at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack. These funds are used for critical infrastructure and public safety projects that would otherwise be funded by raising property taxes. The state funding is intended to compensate communities for the increased infrastructure costs that come with hosting a large gaming facility that attracts hundreds of thousands of patrons a year.
“Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack is an important economic driver for our region. New York faces many fiscal issues. However, we cannot balance the budget by shortchanging local communities that rely on these funds to maintain and improve their roads and protect public safety. The funds provided by the VLT program help reduce the burden on local property taxpayers in both the Town of Farmington and Ontario County. Budgets are about choices and in the coming weeks, I will be working with my colleagues to fight for the communities we represent,” Sen. Helming said.
“Now more than ever, we need to be working with our local communities to address infrastructure challenges. The message the Governor sent in his Executive Budget was that these needs are not important. New York should start by cutting its own red tape, instead of funding for basic infrastructure. I look forward to working with Senator Helming on behalf of our constituents and communities,” Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan added.
Local leaders fear that if funding is cut now it may never be restored in rural, Upstate communities.
“The Town of Farmington has always been fiscally prudent with the use of our VLT funds. We use the money for major Capital Projects such as our renovation of the Town Hall and new Highway Garage. It is especially useful for our town highway road repairs and for funding our new Beaver Creek park. VLT funds have kept our Town Tax rate at the same $1.10 per thousand for the last nine years,” Supervisor Peter Ingalsbe concluded.
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