ALBANY. N.Y. (NEWS10) – Sixty-two cities and more than 500 villages in New York all came together with one goal on Monday, to secure state funding for their communities.
Mayors all over the state joining forces to ensure their cities are not forgotten in this year’s executive budget
Without permanent state funding, they claim their cities are being held hostage.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says a $12.5 million gap persists in the city’s budget, despite cutting costs over the last four years.
“If we eliminated our entire department of recreation, if we eliminated all of our special events, we still wouldn’t even get to a quarter of what we would need to cut to make up that $12.5 million,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.
The city secured the funds last year, but it is not included in this year’s executive budget.
Mayor Sheehan finds herself back in front of the legislature making the same case for permanent state funding.
Without it, lies an uncertain future for city employees and taxpayers, according to the mayor’s office.
“The City of Albany cannot continue to be held hostage by this year after year.”
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul notes the opportunity for funding through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiatives and Economic Development Councils but that permanent state aid may not be plausible.
“We have to budget every year and this year we have a major deficit,” Hochul said. “We had surpluses a few years ago so it’s a little hard to predict the clarity of what the future is going to look like. Having an annual authorization is appropriate.”
Local officials are also feeling that pressure of a stressed budget.
Mayor Gary McCarthy is urging the state to allocate an extra $5 million to the City of Schenectady.
At the end of the day, he says it’s about leveling the playing field.
“When you compare us to some of our sister cities in upstate New York, they get a lot more money on a per capita basis. We’re also looking to eliminate that inequity in the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) formula.”
If lawmakers want an on-time deal, they have to approve a budget by the April 1 deadline.