Troy Budget Process In Turmoil
Troy is wrestling with a proposed $66.1 million spending plan for 2015. The Collar City is trying to keep the books from falling in the red.
The State Comptroller's Office advised the city last Friday that a 2014 budget deficit could lead to the return of a financial control board, which would assume oversight of the city's spending. Officials say such an oversight could occur in 2015 once the city closes its books for 2014.
The unsettling news prompted the City Council to move its vote on 2015 budget ahead one week to allow for some "fine-tuning." Mayor Lou Rosamilia: "For the last couple of years we've felt the effects of overspending and diminished reserves. The budget process right now is moving forward in the right direction, and I expect that a final budget will be voted on by the city council next Thursday."
State oversight takes its place among other concerns: A rumor had spread, perhaps rooted in the recent budget brouhaha across the river, where Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan successfully used a firetruck as a bargaining chip. Residents at a Wednesday night budget hearing were up in arms over word that city officials were considering to think of shutting down a fire station to save money. Gerald Vogt [vote], President of Troy Uniformed Firefighters, told NewsChannel 13 that such a move would be a public safety nightmare: "That firehouse is in a particular spot. It’s a downtrodden neighborhood with a lot of arson fires and a lot of violence.”
City Council President Rodney Whiltshire told the TV station the idea was proposed by one councilmember and has spun out of control. “I think that closing the fire department isn't going to be on the table at all."
With that remark, Whiltshire dismissed the notion. Mayor Rosamilia says he and the City Council are currently reviewing amendments to the financial plan. "I believe that the 2015 budget that I've presented is a strong budget, a balanced budget, fair to taxpayers. It also maintains the general public services that Troy residents deserve."
The Times Union reported that the city was headed toward an $800,000 budget deficit for 2014.
Under Troy's charter, the deadline for adopting a new budget is December 1st.