By Paul Cifonelli, Bridgette Babb, Hannah Danielski and Alaina Jonathan
Barely two-square miles, the Village of Brockport is greatly impacted by the people who live here. In the fall and spring, The College at Brockport plays a large role on how the village functions. Brockport virtually doubles in size. But with this influx of students on a state campus which doesn’t pay taxes, the village board finds themselves in a funding dilemma.
The College at Brockport and UR Medicine Strong West are two institutions that take up significant space in the village. State institutions such as these are not required to pay taxes. This includes things like churches, schools and hospitals which Brockport has an abundance of.
Village Treasurer Dan Hendricks oversees all fiscal matters and keeps accounts of all money that is spent in Brockport. This is especially important because of how meticulous money must be spent in a place with very little funding to account for people who are living there.
“I make sure our budget is followed, create monthly reports about our budget, and work with department heads to make sure that the money is being used properly,” Hendricks said.
Mayor Margaret Blackman approves all purchases the village makes and is the final person to decide what the village spends money on. She has been fighting for the SUNY Impact Aid for the last three years to help better equip Brockport with what it needs to function properly.
According to the New York State Senate website, the SUNY Impact Aid is money put aside by the state government to help offset public safety expenses. With Brockport finally receiving this aid, the decision on where to spend it comes down to the village government.
“We [the village] received 210,000 dollars in Impact Aid to help keep our village functioning and as long as we stay in the tax cap, we will continue to get this aid,” Blackman said.
This aid would provide pay for overtime village police officers. This includes extra patrol on days there are sports games and other parades, along with overtime on the weekends because of the activity that the college brings. The funding has also helped ensure that all buildings in the village, including the college get checked that they are up to code.
“The village requires that all buildings get a code enforcement every three years,” Blackman said.
Brockport is not the only place to have received funding aid. The cities of Cortland and Oneonta, which are similar in size to Brockport are two other places that received the aid and reaped the benefits. According to Senator Seward’s legislation any municipality that hosts a four-year SUNY school can apply for this aid.
A small community needs an active government. Brockport is lucky that the government cares and tries to continue to better the place that everyone calls home. The College at Brockport keeps the quaint village next door filled with life for people who live here, and the aid will help secure a future for the village.
Headline Photo Courtesy by Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com