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NYCOM advocates for increased state funding to save local services

The New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials has reiterated its call for increased state funding for local governments in a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders. Highlighting the stagnant Aid to Municipalities (AIM) funding, which has remained at about $715 million annually since 2012, NYCOM emphasized the need for additional funds to cover essential services such as police and fire departments. The request comes in response to the unchanged AIM funding levels in the governor’s executive budget proposal.

NYCOM’s plea underscores the challenges local governments face due to inflation, which has risen by 32% since the last AIM funding increase. The organization pointed out the strain on municipal budgets, exacerbated by the end of federal aid and flattening sales tax revenue. Despite previous support from both the Senate and Assembly for a funding increase, local leaders are urging state officials to finally address the issue in the upcoming 2024-25 State Budget.

Barbara Van Epps, NYCOM’s executive director, expressed openness to any increase in aid, suggesting an adjustment for inflation could yield an additional $300 million. However, even a 12% to 15% increase would significantly help localities begin to recover from years of financial neglect. With the state budget deadline on April 1, NYCOM hopes for a resolution that will bolster municipal services and improve New York’s quality of life.