ALBANY – New York State Assemblymember Jonathan D. Rivera announced that the Assembly passed legislation yesterday, June 9, 2021, that will establish the New York State Aid and Incentives for Municipalities Redesign Task Force that would examine, review, and recommend changes to the current AIM formula and allocation system.
The Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) program provides state aid to nearly all of New York’s cities, towns and villages. Municipalities across the state rely on this funding to finance vital services within their communities. Aid had been held flat since 2008, at $715 million, until the $59.2 million reduction in the 2019-20 budget. This was down from a peak of about $1.1 billion in unrestricted aid provided in 1988-89, when AIM revenue sharing for counties was eliminated. In that year, the county share (excluding NYC) was $47 million.
In addition, this program is often the target of cuts, which can jeopardize the budgets of cities, towns and villages that rely on it the most. The base formulas that determine the amount of aid allocated to each municipality are outdated. For cities, the formula is based off of aid levels that date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. For towns and villages, the aid levels are even older.
Assemblymember Jon Rivera said, “AIM funding is a vital revenue source for municipalities across New York State, and it is crucial that our cities, towns and villages are receiving an equitable distribution of these funds. This bill will facilitate a recalculation of an outdated formula so that municipalities will be given their fair share of state aid, and will better prepare administrators heading into budget season.”
AIM payments are paid out through varying installments depending on the municipal type:
- Cities — Most cities receive installments in September and December. A handful of cities receive payments in March, June or October as well.
- Towns — Receive a single payment in September.
- Villages — Receive a single payment in September.
In the wake of the unprecedented revenue shortfalls for municipalities resulting from the pandemic, new sources of aid are desperately needed. To that end, this bill would create an AIM Task Force that would examine, review, and recommend changes to the current AIM formula and allocation system, in order to create a more fair and equitable distribution of these much-needed funds. The task force must submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature within one year, in order for these recommendations to be taken into account in the next year's budget process.
Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties said, “Whether it was leading testing, tracing, and vaccination efforts, or helping residents and local businesses get back on their feet, this last year proved that strong local governments are essential to our communities. This legislation is a critical first step toward re-balancing the county relationship in funding this program and reversing the dangerous trends to force counties to pick up the state’s share of AIM for towns and villages, putting increased pressure on essential county services and property taxpayers. Counties applaud Assemblyman Rivera, Senator Cooney, and the leadership in both houses for their commitment to building an equitable and sustainable system for supporting the local governments that impact the lives of New Yorkers every day.”
Jason Cozza, Village Administrator for the Village of Hamburg, said, “AIM funding is a critical source of revenue for New York municipalities, including the Village of Hamburg. Here in the village, AIM funding supports our general operations and service delivery to our community. Finding a way to update the AIM formula to ensure stable increases for this important funding source would be a boon to many small communities in our state.”
- Establish an AIM Task Force that would examine, review, and recommend changes to the current AIM formula and allocation system, in order to create a more fair and equitable distribution of these much-needed funds.
- Provide an analysis of available alternatives to the current formula, including models from other states, provided, however, that such alternatives will not include the allocation of funds to any municipality which is not currently receiving AIM funding.
- The task force must submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature within one year.