Westfield mayor to be in Albany over AIM reductions

Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde will be in Albany this week to join The New York Conference of Mayors for its annual Winter Legislative Meeting. Mayor VandeVelde, along with 175 other mayors and municipal officials from across the State, will be working to advocate for their state budget priorities, including urging the Legislature to reject the governor’s proposed elimination of $59 million in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities — AIM funding — for 1,300 municipalities, and instead provide the first increase in municipal aid in a decade.

Additionally, VandeVelde and other members of NYCOM will be advocating for additional state funding for municipal infrastructure, particularly highway funding, as well as an equitable share of the increased revenues resulting from the collection of Internet sales tax.

Mayor VandeVelde and other members of NYCOM will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Hilton Albany, the meeting location.

“The New York state Senate passed a bill this week to make the 2 percent tax cap permanent at the same time that the governor is proposing to eliminate our local state aid,” VandeVelde said. “The object of having a tax cap is to help limit increases in local property taxes. The village of Westfield has averaged budget increases of less than 1 percent a year the last six years, well below the tax cap. The proposed elimination of our AIM Funding will only increase the likelihood of raising property taxes or cutting services. The reason villages were incorporated to begin with was because local residents wanted to band together to encourage those services.”

“Our Winter Legislative Meeting is an important opportunity for local leaders across the state to make their voices heard in Albany and advocate for the issues that matter to millions of New Yorkers day-in and day-out. That includes fighting for long overdue increases in state funding like AIM, which helps local governments provide vital services while managing property taxes. The coalition of mayors here in Albany demonstrates the commitment that these public servants have to making their communities, and the state of New York, a better place to live and work,” said Peter Baynes, NYCOM executive director.