Troy mayor discusses proposed 2021 budget

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Government officials and state agencies throughout New York have been calling on the Federal Government to provide more financial assistance to the state struggling with revenue loss related to the coronavirus pandemic. Troy City Mayor Patrick Madden says there has been no official word on how much the city will lose in state aid but the proposed 2021 budget was created with an estimated $1.5 million decrease in state aid.

The budget includes a property tax increase below the tax cap, 1.69%. It will cost property owners approximately $3.10 more a month, says Mayor Madden. Nevertheless, the mayor says there will be no cuts to services such as the police or fire departments, and city staffing levels will also not be cut.

A “Pay-As-You-Throw” program is also included in the proposed budget. The aim of the program is to encourage residents to recycle and reduce the amount of waste. The city says this will help by “aligning costs with utilization rates.”

Troy is seeing revenue loss from sales tax and because the state has yet to disclose how much financial aid will be cut to the city, Mayor Madden says some routine upgrades will be put on hold until 2022. He says a conservative approach was used in the creation of the proposed budget.

2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant stress and strain on our residents, families, and businesses while simultaneously impacting City operations in unforeseen ways. This recommended 2021 budget recognizes and balances the need for fiscal discipline while investing in our neighborhoods, parks, and other areas to address important quality of life issues for our residents.

Mayor Madden

Mayor Madden says he isn’t placing blame on the state with regards to how much in aid the city will be losing out on and a lack of communication regarding the actual figures. He says he understands this is new territory for all levels of government. “This is all as much an unknown to the state and the federal government as it is to the City of Troy,” he says.

2021 budget highlights from Mayor Madden’s office

  • Funding in the 2021 Capital Plan for investments in Prospect Park, Frear Park, and the Golf Course, Kinloch Park, Beman Park, and several smaller neighborhood pocket parks.
  • Creation of Youth Services Specialist position to oversee programming and coordinate with our partners in the city to ensure that our children have access to after school and summer activities in our community. Additional funding was also allocated for youth programs in our Youth Bureau to provide more opportunities for young people in our community.
  • Creation of a Health and Safety Coordinator to improve employee safety, training, and policy creation to create a safer workplace.
  • Demolition funding to address blighted properties impacting the quality of life in Troy neighborhoods.
  • Decreased reliance on transfers from the water fund for recurring operational expenses.

“I am happy to see that the mayor has presented us with a fiscally responsible budget that not only stays within the tax cap but also has no reliance on phantom federal aid. I am further encouraged to see some innovations in the way that we provide city services, especially the long-awaited implementation of a Pay-As-You-Throw system,” says Troy City Council President Pro Tempore Ken Zalewski.

City Council President Carmella Mantello says she isn’t ready to comment on the specifics of the mayor’s budget until she’s had a chance to review it more thoroughly. “I’m pleased to see that the proposed budget is under the state-mandated tax cap despite the COVID-19 economic shutdown. However, we must keep in mind that over the last several years under the current administration property taxes, garbage fees, and bulk rate fees continue to take over $6 million each year out of the taxpayer’s pocket.”

When asked if taxpayers will be accepting of the proposed tax increase, Mayor Madden says he understands 2020 has hit people hard financially and the city could not put the burden of making up budget shortfalls entirely on property owners. He also says he thinks the tax increase is modest and that the city will continue to look for other means of revenue.

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