ONEONTA The city of Oneonta is in a minority of municipalities statewide that has not seen reductions in the amount of state revenue-sharing aid since the late 1980s.
A report released Monday by state Comptroller Alan Hevesi shows revenue-sharing aid for towns, villages and cities has declined by 26.5 percent between the 1988-89 and 2004-05 state fiscal years.
But according to Chamberlain David Martindale, the city has seen a slight increase during the 16 years of the study.
In 1988, Oneonta received $1,398,000 in revenue-sharing aid. The city is projected to receive $1,466,000 this year, Martindale said.
The report shows that at the revenue-sharing aid programs peak in the 1988-89 fiscal year, the state distributed $1.1 billion. The program bottomed out at $532 million during the 1992-93 fiscal year before reaching $792 million in 2004-05.
Otsego County has seen a 33.5 percent decrease in unrestricted state aid during the years covered by the study, according to the report.
The report shows Delaware County has had a nearly 73 percent reduction in revenue-sharing as it fell from $1,267,000 to $345,281.
Only five counties in the state Westchester, Onondaga, Erie, Monroe and Oneida saw overall increases in revenue-sharing aid for their towns, villages and cities, the report said.
Martindale said the citys share of revenue-sharing aid represents about 15 percent of the $10.85 million general fund. The city has an overall 2005 budget of $14,632,000.
"Its a good portion," Martindale said.
Martindale said that, unlike distribution of state school aid, there is no set formula for doling out revenue-sharing aid to municipalities.
In his January budget proposal, Gov. George Pataki announced revisions to the revenue-sharing program that include promises of $164 million in additional overall aid to municipalities that keep their budget increases under 3.5 percent.
But Martindale said that in an era of increasing expenditures on health insurance, pension costs and other items, it could be very hard for municipalities to stay under a 3.5 percent spending cap.
"Most recently, pension costs have gone up a lot higher than 3.5 percent," Martindale said.
If the governors proposal is approved by the Legislature, and the city meets the spending cap requirement, Oneonta could see an additional $183,330 in revenue-sharing aid. City officials have said those extra funds could be used to stabilize taxes.
In a statement released with the report, Hevesi said cuts in revenue-sharing aid in the 1990s came at a time when pension costs for municipalities were being supported by "the robust market performance." If revenue-sharing aid had kept pace with inflation and state revenue growth, he said, the state program for municipalities would be more than double its current funding level.
Martindale said competition for state aid, especially in light of the successful Campaign for Fiscal Equity school-aid lawsuit, is likely to be very stiff.
"Everybody wants more state aid," Martindale said. "Its a real challenge for New York."