Syracuse's newly minted city auditor Alexander Marion is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to devote more money to Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, or AIM funding, and commission a task force to redesign the formula.

In a letter sent to Hochul on Thursday, Marion argues “funding for municipalities needs to be a priority for New York state.”

Despite calls for additional funding, AIM funding has remained flat for 12 years. Gerry Geist, executive director of the New York State Association of Towns, told Capital Tonight in January that localities are struggling to “keep up with health insurance, cost of supplies, cost of personnel because we're not getting any increases,” despite increases in inflation.

A report released by the city auditor’s office earlier this year found that the city of Syracuse has been receiving just under $72 million from the state in AIM funding since fiscal year 2012. According to Marion, that aid accounted for nearly 65% of the cost of core city services in fiscal year 2012, but that number has dropped to barely 40%.

In a statement to Capital Tonight, Marion said “Governor Hochul, as a former Town Board member and County Clerk, understands local government deeply and I encourage her to support the State Senate’s proposal to increase AIM funding and create a task force to modernize the formula for a new generation of communities.”

Earlier this week, the state legislative chambers released their one-house budget proposals. In the Assembly, the chamber provides an additional $100 million in AIM funding. In the upper chamber, the Senate adds $210 million and proposes an AIM Redesign Task Force.

Lawmakers and the governor have a tight turnaround to agree on a funding plan with the budget due by April 1.