By STEVE JONES Staff writer
The state’s Aid for Municipalities amounts to communities statewide will not change in 2012 compared to the current year’s amounts.
Rome received $9,083,340 from the state under the program this year. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal for 2012, released as part of his budget proposal Tuesday, is for the same amount. Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. said today that he’s "very pleased" at the decision to hold the line on the funding. "They could have taken money away. I told one of the governor’s aides that we will use every penny wisely."
Elsewhere, Utica will continue with $16,110,473 and Oneida can expect $1,700,877.
Fusco and City Treasurer David C. Nolan were at the state capitol Tuesday to hear details for Cuomo’s proposed spending plan, which will remain essentially flat at $132.5 billion. "His overall plan looks like he’s being very aggressive with the big dollar problems — mandates and pension relief," said Fusco.
Uncertainties remain on how plans such as infrastructure upgrades will impact Rome. "We hope that some of these things become more region-specific. He’s doing that by reaching out to Buffalo, as a starting point in western New York. I’ve very satisfied with that."
Fusco added, "as time goes on, he’ll make more commitments to the Utica-Rome area." Of the governor’s plan to invest statewide, in part through private-public partnerships, Fusco said the key for Rome is to make a convincing case to those who make the decisions. "It’s up to us to plead our case and to get to know his people so they can see our situation," he said, noting that the trip to Albany, like his trip earlier this month for Gov. Cuomo’s state of the state address, was also a chance to meet with officials from the State Comptroller’s Office and the governor’s regional contacts. The governor’s plan to bring private investment to New York State bodes well for Rome "in the long run, because we have a lot to offer in our area for those with investment capital." The budget would use $1.3 billion to encourage private sector investments to create jobs and bolster the state’s infrastructure.
Fusco said he was also impressed with Cuomo’s intentions for "stopping the redundancies in government. He’s looking to reorganize how government functions top to bottom. That was the message I was putting out in my campaign."