TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Cities and towns have lost millions and spent more than they were expecting to try and contain COVID-19. Troy Mayor Patrick Madden says city leaders are still trying to work out how they’ll keep things going on a tight budget that might last years.
“It’s not as though on December 31 everything is going to go back to normal,” he says.
Madden estimates Troy lost around $6 million this year in sales tax, departmental revenue and state funding. He also says keeping things safe meant overtime for law enforcement and EMS, PPE, and closing local offices, which cost even more than keeping them open. He says almost every department has downsized on resources and staff.
“Which is difficult when you have thin budgets to begin with, so what it really means is you’re deferring expenditures until a later time,” he explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
Civil unrest this year lead to calls around the nation to strip additional police department funding to reallocate to community programs and services. Madden says that can’t happen right now in Troy, as they also deal with the nationwide spike in crime since the pandemic.
“Every shooting requires detective work, it involves overtime for the police to come in, secure the scene, et cetera, et cetera. So at this point in time, our Police Department is extremely busy,” he explains.
“It is a constant conversation, you hear folks on both sides calling for more police, less police. We try to balance that with the needs of the community,” Madden goes on to say.
He says one line in the budget groups actively called for over several years is officer body cameras. He says they’re finally in the process of choosing where to spend the funding granted to Troy in 2018.
“There’s a couple of competing vendors, we’re evaluating pros and cons of each system, and I expect the police department will make a recommendation on that to me within the next couple of days,” he says.
Madden also adds around $2 million of Troy’s losses would come from the about 10% funding cut thrown around as a possibility by the federal government.
“Congress really needs to get their act together, step up and deal with this. They’ve been delaying for 10 weeks now. That’s 10 weeks of lost time. That’s 10 more weeks of layoffs, and if we don’t get some resolution here, municipalities and school districts around the country will be insolvent,” he says.
Mayor Madden also says a crucial factor in how fast Troy recovers could be filling out the census.
“It takes five to 10 minutes, it requires no special research, it’s just information you already have in your head. I would encourage people to do that, because it will impact the level of resources we can access from the federal government for the next 10 years.”
There will be a regularly scheduled Troy City Council meeting where several budget items will be discussed Thursday night at 7 p.m.