LESS TRASH AND CRIME

Cit­i­zens open up at off-site Troy City Coun­cil meet­ing

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Whit­comb kwhit­comb@dig­i­tal­first­media.com @kwhit­com­bjr on Twit­ter

TROY, N.Y. » Sit­ting ca­su­ally with their elected and ap­pointed of­fi­cials out­side the walls of City Hall, the peo­ple of Troy are less shy about say­ing what ails them.

That was the the­ory be­hind the meet­ing at the Pol­ish Amer­i­can Club Wed­nes­day where the City Coun­cil and sev­eral depart­ment heads heard from about 30 Troy res­i­dents on is­sues rang­ing from crime to trash in the al­ley­ways.

Trash and derelict houses

“There’s a few al­leys in south Troy, I don’t want to men­tion the dis­trict they’re in, but they’re a dis­grace,” said Gary Re­marchuk. “There’s leaf bags there that I know have been there since last fall, be­cause they’re rot­ted. And there’s garbage, and there’s busted wheels, there’s a lot of garbage in th­ese al­leys that isn’t be­ing picked up.”

Bill Veronese said he has sim­i­lar is­sues with garbage. One day ear­lier this spring, he went up to two Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works em­ploy­ees and asked if they could pick up some old mat­tresses that had been lay­ing out for at least a year.

“You know what they told me? They’ll pick them up when they get a call. And they got back in the trucks and left,” he said. “How much more do you want us to swal­low down

“You knowwhat they told me? They’ll pick them up when they get a call. Andthey got back in the trucks and left.” — Bill Veronese

here?”

He said there’s a num­ber of derelict prop­er­ties near his own where noth­ing has been done to clean them up.

“The house has sat there for two years with­out a damn thing go­ing on ex­cept for it col­lect­ing ro­dents and garbage,” he said.

He also com­plained of city street clean­ers mov­ing around parked cars and not cleaning the streets.

“Let me know when they’re not do­ing it,” said Deputy Mayor Mon­ica Kurze­jeski.

She said the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works has chal­lenges with its staffing lev­els, but re­cent changes to rou­tines may help with some of the trash prob­lems.

Less crime, please

Crime was the other big is­sue peo­ple had, say­ing they’d like to see more em- pha­sis placed on deal­ing with it.

“I wish we could have more con­ver­sa­tions on pub­lic safety, I wish we could re­ally dive into it,” said Sea­mus Don­nelly. “... I know we talked about a study of hir­ing 20 more po­lice of­fi­cers, do we re­ally need a study?”

The fact that cops are ex­pen­sive and the city is cash­strapped ap­peared to be the core is­sue sur­round­ing po­lice staffing lev­els.

“We could ab­so­lutely use more of­fi­cers,” said Po­lice Chief Brian Owens. “The deputy mayor and I were talk­ing just to­day on how we get there. It’s through the Coun­cil, it’s through the bud­get process, it’s through com­mu­nity in­put.... It’s not go­ing to hap­pen overnight, that’s for sure, but the thought process is there that we need more of­fi­cers.”

Other is­sues and ques­tions peo­ple had were about things like bi­cy­cle lanes, af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ments, build­ing the tax base, and the city’s long­stand­ing is­sues with debt.

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Carmella Man­tello said the Coun­cil plans to hold more in­for­mal ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sions in the fu­ture. The city char­ter once re­quired this, but no longer does.

“The new char­ter says we don’t have to do th­ese, but guess what? We want to do th­ese. Coun­cil­man Mark McGrath wants them ev­ery week­end,” she said.

There are in­deed plans to have one on a week­end where more peo­ple could at­tend, she added.

“We are do­ing ev­ery­thing hu­manly pos­si­ble to hear you, and to bring gov­ern­ment to you,” Man­tello said.

KEITH WHIT­COMB -- KWHIT­COMB@DIG­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM

The Troy City Coun­cil held an in­for­mal meet­ing at the Pol­ish Amer­i­can Club Wed­nes­day to hear from cit­i­zens their con­cerns.

KEITH WHIT­COMB -- KWHIT­COMB@DIG­I­TAL­FIRST­MEDIA.COM

Mem­bers of the Troy City Coun­cil, Coleen Para­tore, Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Carmella Man­tello, Anasha Cum­mings, David Bis­sem­ber, and TJ Kennedy hear from cit­i­zens at an in­for­mal Coun­cil meet­ing held Wed­nes­day at the Pol­ish Amer­i­can Club.

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