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MAYORS PUSH FOR MORE STATE AID

Mayors statewide Monday lobbied the state to use its billion-dollar surplus to beef up revenue-sharing aid to local governments for use in cutting village and city property taxes.

"It would have a significant impact on numerous localities across the state," said Plattsburgh Mayor Daniel Stewart, a Republican.

The lobbying priority was the talk of Monday's gathering of the New York Conference of Mayors and Other Municipal Officials, which heard from State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.

Neither predicted that the mayors would get what they want in the budget for the state fiscal year that will begin April 1.

Francis Wassmer, mayor of Haverstraw in Rockland County, said revenue-sharing aid increased 15 percent in 10 years while local governments' costs increased 20 percent.

The Conference of Mayors cited a "desperate" need to restore revenue sharing to its 1988 levels -- $1.02 billion, twice the current amount. The group also called for making the aid consistent to help local government plan budgets and local taxes months before state budgets are passed.

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