ONEONTA, 04/03/18 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref – Oneonta) announced today that the recently adopted 2018-19 New York State budget includes, at his insistence, $200,000 for the City of Oneonta to help offset public safety costs generated due to being a SUNY host community.
“For a third consecutive year, the City of Oneonta will receive special state budget funding to help offset public safety costs related to hosting a SUNY campus,” said Senator Seward. “Our SUNY schools are a real asset – educating our future leaders, and helping drive the local economy. However, there is a financial trade-off that goes overlooked and local taxpayers should not be left holding the bag. The SUNY Impact Aid funding is genuine mandate relief.”
While developing legislation to deliver aid to all SUNY host communities, Senator Seward was able to start the process by instituting a pilot program beginning with the 2016-17 state budget and continuing this year. This year’s award will bring the three-year total for the City of Oneonta to $594,500.
Significant student populations present several public policy challenges for local governments, one of which is providing adequate public safety services to both students and the public while striking the appropriate balance between other municipal needs and available resources.
City of Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said, “This special state funding is real relief for the City of Oneonta. Senator Seward understands our needs and his continued advocacy is greatly appreciated. Moving forward, our shared goal is to ensure permanent, sustained relief for property taxpayers.”
“I continue to advocate for a long-term, permanent solution to provide SUNY host communities with consistent mandate relief. My legislation would shift a portion of the police, fire, and code enforcement burden away from local governments – and in turn, off the backs of local property taxpayers,” Seward concluded.
Senator Seward’s legislation (S.3967), which includes a formula to distribute state aid to municipalities hosting four-year SUNY schools, has received the backing of local officials as well as the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM). The bill been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Companion legislation (A.1920) has been introduced in the state assembly by Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.