TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Included in the City of Troy’s 2021 proposed budget is a “Pay-As-You-Throw” program that would charge residents for garbage disposal based on how much trash they get rid of. It was also created with an anticipated $1.5 million decrease in state aid.
The city is still paying for a deficit in the general fund at the end of years 1993, 1994, and 1995. A provision in the New York State Local Finance Law requires proposed budgets of municipalities to be reviewed by the Comptroller’s Office until deficit obligations have been paid off.
Upon review, the New York State Comptroller’s Office said revenue and expenditures in Troy’s 2021 proposed budget are ‘reasonable’ but cautions expected state aid and revenue from parking/traffic fines may not be reliable.
However, the Comptroller’s Office said in the event of unforeseen expenses, the city does not have much flexibility in the budget to cover them. It also said two expiring collective bargaining agreements could increase wage costs if they are settled in 2021.
“Two of the City’s six collective bargaining agreements (CBA) have expired and another CBA is set to expire at the end of 2020 which could result in potential increased salary and wage costs in the event that the CBAs are settled in 2021”, according to the Comptroller’s Office.
“We’re pleased with the findings contained within the Office of the State Comptroller’s assessment of the proposed 2021 budget,” said Troy Mayor Patrick Madden. “Like many communities, the City of Troy is adapting to unprecedented budgetary challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including shortfalls in revenue and state aid. In the coming year, we will continue to exercise strong oversight of Troy’s finances to ensure the continued delivery of essential services to Collar City families and protect Troy taxpayers. We appreciate the diligence of OSC (Office of the State Comptroller) staff who reviewed this year’s budget proposal, and the City Comptroller’s office for their work in developing next year’s annual spending plan.”
Key recommendations from Comptroller’s Office
- Monitor estimates for state aid, traffic/parking fines through 2021 and develop a plan for any shortcomings in revenue.
- Close monitoring of the 2020 general fund and make sure the appropriated fund balance in the 2021 proposed budget is available to cover 2021 operations.
- If the City Council approves the “Pay-As-You-Throw” program, changes to the city code should be done before the new fees are implemented.
- Close monitoring of the refuse fund through 2021 to make changes as needed.
- Consideration of the possible financial impact of settling collective bargaining agreements in 2021.
- The City Council should keep in mind the legalities of proposing and passing a tax levy higher than the tax cap.