Mastic Beach Village can thank the experience of Sagaponack Village Clerk Rosemary Winchell for the fact it is $75,000 richer.
As the former village clerk in Sag Harbor, Winchell knew where to look in Sagaponack’s village budget for state aid, and noticed that something was missing in one special category. “I saw we were getting zero,” she explained.
The category — the state’s Aid and Incentive for Municipalities Program — provides funds on a per capita basis for villages, but only those formed before 2005 when the legislation enacted. Sagaponack incorporated in 2005, and Mastic Beach was created in 2010.
The amount in question was not a lot for tiny Sagaponack — its $2,000 will not cause significant change in its $789,612 budget. But, since the money was going to almost every other village in the state, “It was a matter of principle,” Winchell said.
She pointed out the problem last year to Legis. Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), but it was too late to change last year’s budget.
He tried again this year, and found that the Village of Mastic Beach was in the same situation but losing a lot more. Thiele urged Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to take up the issue, writing that the two villages “currently do not, and will never be eligible to receive AIM funding” because there was nothing in the AIM legislation that allows new villages to be added to the program.
The change was approved, and now four new villages in the state — including the two on Long Island — will get a special grant equal to the money they would receive under the AIM program.
Mastic Beach, which has more than 12 times as many people as Sagaponack, will get $75,000 — more than the village has budgeted for its village justice, court clerk and court officer combined. The total village budget is $3.6 million.
The two upstate villages, South Blooming Grove and Woodbury in Orange County, were formed in 2006.