By Nadya Nataly
The Nassau County Legislature held an emergency meeting on Nov. 13 to allow the State Comptroller’s office and NIFA to restore Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding. AIM funds come from state sales tax revenue, which is collected by the state comptroller’s office and sent to villages and towns. State law requires that a fiscal control board receive all AIM funding in a given county, which initially left no mechanism by which the money could be distributed to villages and towns.
Now that an agreement between NIFA, the state and the county has been reached, villages and towns across Nassau are expected to receive $7.6 million in AIM funds that they were due to be paid by the state by December.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said he was relieved. “This would have been a million dollar hit in [Freeport’s] budget,” he said. “I’m glad that they ironed this out and that they continue to provide us those funds. Let’s see what happens next year.”
In Freeport, AIM funds have traditionally gone to street repair and cleaning, and fire and police department salaries. With the village now receiving more than $900,000, Kennedy said he is relieved that he will not have to raise taxes to make up the funds.
“We stepped up to address this problem because our towns and villages rely on this funding to balance their budgets and to continue delivering important services to county residents,” County Executive Laura Curran said. “Nassau County has taken action, and I’m hopeful that our quick response enables the state comptroller to make timely 2019 AIM-related payments as required by Dec. 15.”
According to Curran, NIFA will remit the remaining balance of sales taxes that have not been distributed as 2019 AIM payments to the county. The county, by law, has no right to the sales taxes required be withheld and distributed as 2019 AIM-related payments, so this agreement is cost-neutral to Nassau, meaning that it neither gain nor lose funding.
Curran also expressed confidence that the state will ensure municipalities in both Nassau and Erie counties receive these critical payments going forward by passing legislation to address the matter next session in Albany.