COUN­CIL HOLDS HEAR­ING ON BUD­GET PRO­POSAL

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Gwiz­dala mg­wiz­dala@dig­i­tal­first­media.com Re­porter

TROY, N.Y. >> The Troy City Coun­cil on Thurs­day ac­knowl­edged it re­ceived the mayor’s 2019 pro­posed bud­get.

The 2019 bud­get is slated to be adopted in late Novem­ber.

Mayor Pa­trick Mad­den pre­vi­ously said the pro­posal looks to fo­cus on lim­it­ing a prop­erty tax in­crease to 1.402 per­cent for 2019.

The mayor also pre­vi­ously said the pro­posed $73.5 mil­lion bud­get plan will re­main un­der the state-man­dated tax cap for 2019 and doesn’t in­clude any lay­offs. The pro­posed prop­erty tax rate is about $14.15 per $1,000 of as­sessed prop­erty value, ac- cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the mayor’s of­fice.

Deputy City Comptroller An­drew Piotrowski noted a net tax over­lay or ad­just­ment for those who won’t pay prop­erty taxes. Piotrowski also said the Col­lar City is un­der the tax cap by $61,000 dollars.

Ac­cord­ing to Piotrowski, lo­cal rev­enues make up 38.77 per­cent of the pro­posed bud­get, state aid accounts for 19.61 per­cent and re­mains the same.

As for in­creas­ing rev­enues, Piotrowski laid out pro­jected in­creased rev­enue from sales tax of $250,000; pi­lot pay­ments, an in­crease of $175,000; park­ing fines and fees — $125,000; am­bu­lance billing — $125,000; $105,000 from the school dis­tricts for the school re­source of­fi­cers pro­vided by the city; and $101,655 dollars in em­ployee con­tri­bu­tions to health in­sur­ance, based on data from the past three to five years.

As it was with the ini­tial re­lease of the bud­get pro­posal, the garbage tax was at the fore­front of de­bate on both sides.

Ac­cord­ing to the Mayor’s of­fice, the Solid Waste Man­age­ment Plan in the bud­get also im­ple­ments an ex­ten­sion of the $160 an­nual solid waste man­age­ment fee with an in­crease of $4 per unit per year.

City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Carmella Man­tello re­it­er­ated her stance on the garbage tax stat­ing, “folks weren’t pay­ing for it and this year it’s set to ex­pire and it’s in­cluded in the leg­is­la­tion; but tech­ni­cally the leg­is­la­tion has not passed, so there’s a rev­enue close to $3 mil­lion dol- lars that is un­ac­counted for but is in the bud­get as a pro­posal, but it is set to ex­pire De­cem­ber 31.”

Deputy Mayor Mon­ica Kurze­jeski re­sponded stat­ing, “The garbage fee is out­side of the gen­eral fund, so the gen­eral fund has it com­pletely gone ex­cept for what the city uses mu­nic­i­pally with the fire­houses and po­lice sta­tions, the $4 dollar in­crease per unit en­com­passes CSEA in­creases, all of those kinds of things, the es­tab­lish­ment of the fee does sun­set but the leg­is­la­tion put for­ward elim­i­nates the sun­set clause and ad­dresses the re­cy­cling fee.” Kurze­jeski also noted ad­di­tional costs prompt­ing the in­clu­sion of the fee, “The cost of busi­ness in­creases, you never see in­fla­tion

go down, you al­ways have con­trac­tual raises, so as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity if we want to see those things stay flat, we have to in­crease our ini­tia­tives, we have to in­crease our us­age, we have to in­crease our us­age of re­cy­cling and other non-tra­di­tional meth­ods, in­stead of just throw­ing ev­ery­thing out in the garbage.”

Man­tello re­sponded by stat­ing, “folks from Troy were not re­ceiv­ing ad­di­tional ser­vice with the added fee.”

Other items of dis­cus­sion in­cluded a re­quest for a part-time staffer at $30,000, in the City Assessor’s Of­fice, which is more than the $4,800 cur­rently al­lot­ted for the po­si­tion.

Mayor Pa­trick Mad­den stated his case for a $70,000 dollar full- time grant writer, cit­ing “bet­ter fol­low up, track­ing and re­port­ing on grants and con- ti­nu­ity.”

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Man­tello coun­tered, stat­ing, “I would pre­fer po­ten­tially a part-timer or a re­tiree or some­one from the out­side. I do think for that money, from my ex­pe­ri­ence in agen­cies I’ve worked with, can cer­tainly get a bet­ter value at a much less dollar amount and ob­vi­ously get re­wards.”

City Coun­cil mem­bers also ap­peared to be in agree­ment on the po­ten­tial of adding an as­sis­tant clerk to the City Clerk’s Of­fice.

MICHALE GWIZ­DALA - MG­WIZ­DALA@DIG­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM

Peo­ple at the meet­ing.

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