For the second year in a row, the Troy city council has voted down Mayor Patrick Madden's proposed budget.
The Collar City now faces a $2.9 million deficit for 2018 after the council rejected the first-term Democrat’s proposed solid waste disposal fee. "I'm working with my staff to figure out how we move forward from here. This is a council responsibility to present a budget to fund city operations, but I don't have anything from them and it doesn't look like it’s coming, so we'll try to figure out what we can put together and see if there's council members who want to talk about a resolution to this or if we need to talk to the next council about it, so a lot is up in the air right now."
Madden adds a couple of deadlines coming up could have an impact on next steps. "The charter says the council has to pass a budget by close of business, I think it is, on December 1st, so we haven't hit that yet, so technically the council still has time to come back together and present an alternative. You know we do have to get tax bills out by a certain date. We need time to print, we need time to mail, so that deadline is probably maybe the third week of December. We need to have something in place by that point in time."
The proposed spending plan's sticking point would have upped the $29 annual trash fee to $190. Republican Council President Carmella Mantello says Madden has no one but himself to blame for the budget dilemma. "He illegally proposed a trash fee that he was not allowed to do. The code specifically says you can't charge for garbage. That's $2.9 million in the budget. The mayor's budget, because it was voted down by charter, his proposed budget goes into effect, however, it's predicated on that trash fee. So the mayor will have a new incoming Democrat-majority council. That Democrat majority council and myself, and another council member will work with the mayor over the next few months to come up with innovative ways. The Democrat majority council may decide to pass the trash fee. I don't know their feelings on the trash fee. But saying that, I do not support a hidden tax, a double tax."
Mantello says the council and the mayor have worked out budget differences in the past. She believes if worse comes to worst the incoming majority Democratic council will work with Madden and come up with a solution. "There's several ways to close the money gap, but is it really 2.9? We don't know at this point because the fourth quarter numbers haven't come in . But the mayor certainly can amend that budget over the next several weeks, months, to close whatever gap there may be. And the council will be hiring an independent auditor come January. By charter, we're required to do that."
Troy’s new council takes office January 1st.