State weighs in
City Council must approve trash and bulk refuse fees to support garbage fund
N.Y. approves of Troy budget but says city should find alternatives to borrowing.
The state Comptroller’s Office found in its annual review of the city’s budget that Mayor Patrick Madden’s $73.5 million spending plan was reasonable but that the city should find new ways to pay for buying new equipment instead of borrowing.
“Based on the results of our review, we found the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. In addition, the City’s proposed real property tax levy complies with its tax levy limit,” state auditors found.
The state warned that the City Council must approve the trash and bulk refuse fees to support the new garbage fund. It also said the city should not rely on borrowing to pay for new vehicles.
The city must submit the budget to the state for review as part of the terms for the creation of the Troy Municipal Assistance Corp. to rescue the city from its financial mess in the 1990s. The city has about $24.6 million in outstanding MAC debt which will be paid off in 2022.
Madden, in a statement, said the evaluation confirms the work of his administration to use strong financial oversight and “fact-based budgeting practices” to benefit the city’s residents, organizations and businesses.
“The 2019 budget proposal — our third consecutive year of balanced budgets — implements several initiatives to manage costs, enhance capacity in key departments, and preserve essential services for our residents,” Madden, a Democrat, said.
The budget that the City Council is now reviewing would raise the trash fee by $4, bringing it to $164 per unit.
The property tax would increase by 1.4 percent. The proposed tax rate for 2019 is $14.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A property assessed at $150,000 would have a city tax bill of $2,122.
Madden encouraged the council to adopt his proposed 2019 budget and it is scheduled to meet on Nov. 29 to decide on the plan.
Council President Carmella Mantello, a Republican, said she had issues with aspects of the proposed budget.
“As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, my concern for the over $4 million garbage fund, that is permanently being proposed for Troy taxpayers, is that it is no more than a hidden tax being used to circumvent the tax cap. Troy taxpayers have seen the budget since 2016 increase by at least $11 million or a 16.5 percent increase,” Mantello said.
“I will continue to advocate for ways to run our city government in a more cost-effective manner instead of continuing to put an undue burden on Troy taxpayers,” said Mantello, who wants to see more shared services with Rensselaer County and other municipalities, a public safety fee on higher educational institutions and major nonprofits, LED lighting, relocation of city hall and less use of legal consultants.
trash cans outside a house on east Sunnyside Aug. 7 in troy. the trash fee will rise $4 in the mayor’s proposed 2019 budget to a total of $164 per unit.