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Politics and Government

New York's mayors try new way to get more state aid

Karen DeWitt

The state’s mayors are moving away from a state aid program for localities that they say has not been well-funded in recent years and trying a new way to get the governor’s and the Legislature’s attention as the 2019 state budget season approaches. 

For decades, mayors have received state aid for their cities through the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities program, or AIM. But funding has been flat in recent years, even though cities’ expenses have been steadily growing, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to hold the line on state spending increases.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, who is president of the New York State Conference of Mayors, said it’s time for a change.

"We can take a hint after a while," McCarthy said. "There does not seem to be a willingness to adjust that formula in a manner that myself and my colleagues would like."

The mayors propose a new program that would be based on one of the governor’s favorite initiatives, the Regional Economic Development Councils. The mayors want a $100 million fund that would be awarded to cities who are, among other things, following the economic development goals set out by the councils.