COUNCIL HOLDS HEARING ON BUDGET PROPOSAL
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.
People at the meeting.