LESS TRASH AND CRIME
Citizens open up at off-site Troy City Council meeting
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
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.
The Troy City Council held an informal meeting at the Polish American Club Wednesday to hear from citizens their concerns.
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.