DANSVILLE — Aid and Incentive for Municipalities (AIM) might not be lost, but it seems like it could turn into a great big mess.
In a follow up to last week’s article on Dansville Mayor Peter Vogt’s attendance at an Albany mayor’s conference, Vogt expressed his concern to the village board and later to The Express over the governor’s new proposal of municipalities obtaining AIM funding through counties.
For the past decade, the Village has regularly received about $40,000 annually through the state-funded AIM, which the Village usually places in its general budget. Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo had proposed putting AIM on the chopping block, presumably to help handle the state’s $2 billion loss in tax revenue. But mayors collectively expressed their concern for the loss in aid. Vogt said that Cuomo is now proposing a compromise with municipalities, which would involve receiving the aid through county sales tax from online sales.
“It’s a smoke and mirrors effort for [Cuomo] to get out of paying for anything. He’s going to give us something he doesn’t have. That’s his proposal,” Vogt said. He also wonders how counties are supposed to collect and distribute a myriad of online sales.
“When you go to a store, you know right where it’s been bought,” Vogt said. But since many people purchase from online stores outside the county - like Amazon, for example - Vogt said having a formula that would adjust for online sales and filtered to municipalities is “tricky and unknown.” In addition, if someone within the Dansville zip code buys online, it would not necessarily mean that they live in the Village of Dansville or the Town of North Dansville or even Livingston County.
“There are just too many unknowns in this, rather than just giving us state aid,” Vogt said. “I just don’t trust government at a higher level that is really out of touch with the communities that it oversees.”
In other business:
The Village is finishing up its codification process, which hasn’t been done in more than 50 years. The Village hired Rochester-based General Code to help the Village compile its many local laws and codes into one cohesive binder and on one simple online search. The Mayor said he is hoping the Village will approve the final document at next month’s board meeting.
An app for a Dansville historic walking tour is up and running, though it has not been officially approved for its final stage. Mayor Vogt said he is waiting to see if there are any glitches or last minute changes that need to be made before its official launch scheduled for Dogwood week. The app, called “Dansville Historical Tour,” was created by Pittsford-based OnCell. It has 10 stops throughout the village with historical information on each stop, read by local storyteller Chris Reidel. Local musicians were also used. The app and the tour was an effort of a committee of 10 local people who each contributed a site to include.
Dansville was recently made aware that the sign and facade grants for businesses through Livingston County Economic Development has added a public art component. According to the press release, “Villages may apply for funds to supplement public art projects in their commercial district,” and that public art committees are to be established in each community with the mission of developing a plan for permanent public art installations throughout the downtown. Projects must cover 50 percent of cost. Deadline to apply is May 15.
Dansville hosted “A Taste of Dansville” Feb. 20 at Battle Street Brewery. The effort was a gathering of members of The Association of Village Boards of Livingston County to come together to meet, exchange ideas, socialize and find a way to create a common voice for matters such as AIM and others. The event included a special presentation from Bill Bacon, a Dansville native and county economic development director. The event was catered using an array of food provided by local restaurants, which included a buffet and dessert, plus a cheese platter by Nunda Mustard, coffee from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters (provided by Dogwood Trading Co.) and popcorn from Star Theatre.
The board approved to do away with the name of Henrietta Drive and append it as an extension of Sylor Street.