Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Mar. 29, 2017: If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way, local governments will have to consolidate their purchases of services and materials in order to receive state aid. The state legislature must approve a referendum next November for Cuomo’s plan to be approved by voters.
The amount of state aid Bronxville currently receives, according to Mayor Mary Marvin, is approximately $87,000, or 1.5 percent of the village budget.
“We already consolidate almost all our purchases,” said Mayor Mary Marvin in criticizing the governor’s shared-services plan. “We and our neighboring communities have been doing this for five or six years already.” She cited consolidated purchases of blacktop for street repair and resurfacing as a prime example that saves money for the village.
According to Marvin, the governor’s plan will reward municipalities who are coming “late to the game” in sharing the costs of goods and services. She added that Cuomo seeks basically “to reward people who have never done anything.”
Marvin also pointed out that, overall in New York State, approximately 70 percent of local property tax revenue is allocated to schools, while 30 percent goes to municipal governments. In Bronxville, an even greater percentage of local property tax revenue collected (over 80 percent) goes to fund the school budget. The governor’s plan, Marvin said, targets only that 20 percent. “The village would have nothing to work with,” she said.
Governor Cuomo’s proposal would not affect the property taxes allocated to school districts. Marvin noted that, at a recent mayors' conference in Albany, several of her colleagues also criticized the plan, saying that the governor is challenging municipalities that have already consolidated as many things as they can.
Mayors are easy to pick on, Marvin said, because they are elected by a disparate group of people and do not have a constituency, like teachers. She added that the American Federation of Teachers told the governor to “leave us alone.”
“Everyone at the conference said that if the governor is looking for real money, they’re going to the wrong people,” Marvin stated.
Marvin went on to say that the governor’s idea of saving money (by not paying state aid) is disingenuous and that the prospect of enacting a chapter of laws to amend the municipal home rule law amounts to taking budgeting powers away from local governments.
“The governor, in my view, is looking beyond New York,” the mayor said. “This might be good for a nationwide platform, but this is not good for our state.”
Marvin feels that the proposal to have a referendum will not pass in the legislature. Local officials have criticized Governor Cuomo for attempting to delay state aid to municipalities in order to promote his own agenda.
Village officials continue work on the Bronxville budget for 2017-2018. They will hold a budget workshop session on Thursday, March 30, at 6:30 pm at Bronxville Village Hall.
Pictured here: Bronxville Village Hall (top) and Tuckahoe Village Hall.
Photos by N. Bower