Being a host community for a SUNY campus is a mixed blessing. Economic and cultural activities are increased, but there are expenses as well, which are not directly recouped for municipal treasuries. Last week, leaders of the town and village of New Paltz learned that $200,000 in what’s called SUNY impact aid is headed this way.
Emergency services are where the impact is most clear in New Paltz: 20% of fire department calls are on the campus, and the town police department is larger than would otherwise be needed. With property taxes being the primary revenue source for town and village governments, and SUNY New Paltz being exempt from those taxes, it’s an issue which is compounded generally by declining levels of state aid.
During last week’s press conference, New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers talked about the connection he developed with the college growing up in New Paltz. “I have clear memories of waiting in the computer lab for my mom as a young kid because she was taking computer science classes on Radio Shack TRS 80s,” he said, calling them the “3D printers of their day.”
Rogers praised current leaders of the school for the generosity with which they share resources with local officials, but added that “it is incredibly helpful that we’ve received additional support from Albany.” It will be put to good use: a fire truck is being purchased for the village department, and the funds will also be used to support the town police department.
Among those the mayor thanked were Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, State Senator John Bonacic and Governor Andrew Cuomo. None were present for the ceremony, but Cuomo did send a representative.