Dedicated funding for water and sewer infrastructure; increased state aid, increased highway aid, and public safety considerations in bail determinations are part of the New York Conference of Mayors‘ legislative agenda for 2023.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, who sits on NYCOM’s Finance Committee, said the last time the state increased aid to municipalities was 14 years ago.
He said the City receives about $4 million in that aid, “Think about the cost of living, think about how our own pocketbooks have changed across the years, and so we’d like that to be more equitable and we’d like the state to share some of its resources with the cities on the ground doing the work.”
Sundquist said NYCOM is requesting a 38% increase, or a cost-of-living adjustment, to the current $715 million AIM program. The equates to an increase of $270 million.
Sundquist said mayors also would like to see the state create an annual dedicated funding stream for water and sewer infrastructure costs, similar to the Consolidated State and Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS.
He said currently municipalities have to apply for grant or loan funds through the State, and that they’d prefer to see a dedicated fund that’s coordinated with the CHIPS fund, “Often times water repairs don’t coincide with your road repairs. So you may have just completely redone a road, and trust me, I get this from our residents all the time. They’re demanding to know why we just did this great new road, now we have to tear half of it up because we have to replace the water main, right? And so we’re saying, let us as a city help better coordinate those things by just creating this fund we can draw down from and apply it at the same time as CHIP funding if we need to do road repairs.”
Sundquist said another agenda item is to amend bail reform to increase the number of offenses that are bail eligible and to allow judges more consideration when assessing the “dangerousness”as a fact when making bail determination.
He added that lobby days will be held in February where mayors from across the state will meet with state legislators in Albany to encourage them to pass legislation in the NYCOM agenda.
To read the full legislative agenda report, visit nycom.org