NT officials working to have AIM funding restored

Edwin J. Viera, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
·2 min read

Feb. 15—NORTH TONAWANDA — The mayor and Common Council are calling on the state legislature to restore Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding.

During its Feb. 2 meeting, the common council voted to send letters to state officials asking that NT state aid to be restored. In response to the pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed cuts in AIM funding to municipalities throughout Niagara County. North Tonawanda's aid was sliced by 20 percent, $867,022, to $3,468,089. Mayor Art Pappas issued a press release detailing how he and the council have gone about trying to get the funding back.

"(We had a) teleconference with Assemblyman (William) Conrad's office on Jan. 28 requesting our assistance with letters of support with North Tonawanda associations based on Governor's Cuomo proposed cuts to North Tonawanda's AIM funding," Pappas wrote. "There was never a discussion of a missed file report. We followed up this discussion speaking directly to Senator Ortt and Assemblyman Morinello."

Alderman-at-Large Austin Tylec raised issue over a document that wasn't submitted by the city's accounting department. He said this document is part of the reason North Tonawanda was placed on a list with several other cities across the state to lose 20 percent of their funding.

Plenty of city agencies were called upon by Council President Robert Pecoraro to send letters hoping the AIM funding would be restored since budget cuts would result.

Pappas spoke about what could end up happening should the funding not be restored in full. A lack of funding would drive potential cuts in services and personnel and impact resident's quality of life, he said.

"This could include all departments including health and safety, which police and fire are impacted and therefore the state government must reconsider the governor's current budget proposal of these drastic reductions to the North Tonawanda's AIM funding."

Pappas closed his remarks by saying New York state has given municipalities until May to file their missing reports, with North Tonawanda's filed on Dec. 1.