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Rensselaer County

Office of County Executive Steve McLaughlin

News Release: February 21, 2019

County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy Join With Local Officials to Seek Restoration of AIM Funding by State

Local officials from three counties, including Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, came together Thursday to protest state cuts in AIM funding, saying the sudden reductions will hurt the ability of municipalities to provide needed local services and ensure fiscal stability.

McLaughlin and McCoy, along with Assemblyman Jake Ashby, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Matt Murrell, a representative of State Senator Daphne Jordan, and several town supervisors and county legislators, said the cuts are unfair and asked state lawmakers to reverse the reductions.

In Rensselaer County, a cut to AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) funding totals almost $600,000 for 16 out of 22 county municipalities. The reduction comes after local budgets have been formulated and adopted, meaning options for addressing the shortfall is reduced. Comparable reductions in funding are being made across the state.

Other options being considered by the state including having counties be required by the state to replace AIM funding, using proceeds from an internet sales tax.

In Rensselaer County, sudden changes to state funding and reimbursements could hurt county fiscal management that resulted in a 2019 budget that holds the line on taxes being adopted unanimously, along with an upgrade in the county’s bond rating.

“We have worked hard to provide quality services for our residents at an affordable cost to our taxpayers. These surprise reductions are simply the state passing down the cost of bad decisions made on the state level and causing even more damage to counties, towns and villages. The state needs to do the right thing and restore this important funding,” said Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin.

“While we understand there is a multi-billion deficit at the state level, cutting funding to our municipalities that are used to keep our communities safe, including law enforcement and fire departments, is simply shifting the burden onto local businesses and homeowners,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy.  “Albany County alone stands to lose more than $1 million and this proposal would reverse so much of the progress we’ve made in practicing fiscal responsibility and making our neighborhoods more affordable for hardworking families.”

Along with McLaughlin and McCoy, the press conference, held at the East Greenbush Town Park in Rensselaer County, included several town supervisors, county legislators, and elected officials from the state level and region.

“Communities in my district operate on tight budgets, and do great work maintaining services and programs under challenging conditions. A sudden reduction in AIM funding will only create new challenges and problems for those small communities or counties. The state needs to make better choices and restore AIM funding,” said Assemblyman Jake Ashby.

“Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget has taken aim at upstate communities and his proposed AIM cuts will do serious harm to our local towns, villages, and taxpayers. In our 43rd Senate District alone, the Governor’s AIM cuts total more than $1.1 million. That’s why I’ll continue partnering with Assemblyman Jake Ashby and my fellow Senate Republicans in advocating for a full restoration of Governor Cuomo’s deep and painful AIM program cuts. I applaud Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin for his continued strong leadership on this important issue and for always standing up on behalf of our Rensselaer County taxpayers and local communities,” Senator Daphne Jordan (R,C,I,Ref-Halfmoon) said.

“The AIM funding has already been budgeted and allocated by towns and villages. Cutting the aid on the local level causes significant problems to those spending plans. Passing on responsibilities to the counties to make up the reduction in funding only widens the problem and still jeopardizes local services relied on by our residents,” said Rensselaer County Legislature Chair Mike Stammel.

“These cuts would mean real trouble for Columbia County and the small communities in our county with tight budgets and increasing demand on local services. We are glad to see our colleagues in the region unite to call for the state to restore needed AIM funding for the local level,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murrell.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes to restore state cuts to towns and villages (AIM) by mandating that county governments make these municipalities whole through county sales taxes. This proposal directly shifts a traditional state responsibility to local taxpayers, who already pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. This move would impact every county budget and every local taxpayer. It is wrong on all accounts, and should be rejected by the State Legislature,” said Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties.

For more information regarding this press release, call County Director of Operations Richard Crist, 518-270-2955 or 518-928-1920.