Troy City Council Moves To Cut Property Tax Hike
In a busy week in Troy politics, the city council is taking steps to alter outgoing Mayor Lou Rosamilia's proposed $68.6 million budget. An effort is under way to lessen a planned tax increase.
The City Council, led by President Rodney Wiltshire, wants to cut Rosamilia's proposed tax hike from 9.3 to 6.3 percent, by plugging a few leaks, to the tune of about $610,000. "So what we're doing is we're going through, after our budget hearings, and we're looking at ways we can cut back on some costs. We're trying to save some pennies and have them add up to dollars. And what I've identified is about $460,000 in simple savings that come from office supplies and more discretionary items. And we've found some other items. The public safety chairman found about $200,000 in savings in the public safety department that he worked through with the police chief, and there will be some other savings as well, that will round it out. And so we're looking at between 3 and 4 percent right now, as a savings compared to the 9.3 percent increase. So that should drop it down somewhere between 5 and 6 percent as far as the increase is concerned."
Trimming the budget would entail canceling some scheduled salary increases, waiting to replace office equipment, and reducing the ranks of the police department from 130 to 127 members, which Councilman Jim Gordon thinks is not a good idea. Three school resource officers positions would be eliminated, and Gordon believes that with gang-associated crime activity a persistent problem in the Collar City, these positions are vital. He added that some good tips have come from those officers.
The city council submitted its proposals Wednesday to the Rosamilia administration. Deputy Mayor Peter Ryan says his office received the list Wednesday night. "They cut a lot of supplies, which, you know we're looking into the supplies they wanted to take most of the supply line items and refer 'em back to the previous year. But that was not nearly enough money to reach $610,000, OK? There were some training expenses that were cut and some police expenses that were cut severely that we're lookin' at but it's a, uh, we gotta talk to everybody and it's a, we gotta vet these things out to make sure that they're correct and we have some serious reservations about the cuts."
Some council members aren’t certain any of the budget alterations will see light of day. Wilsthire is optimistic. "I know we can get it on paper and we can get it to that point that savings is there. I know there's a little bit of opposition from the administration where they feel that some of these cuts are going to hurt and hamper the departments, but again, these are discretionary cuts. These are office supplies, paper, postage, training, travel expenses, things of that nature. And we're just really cutting it back to where the 2015 levels were, so it's a haircut a little bit, but I think it can work."
There would have to be a vote to override the tax cap, which Wiltshire describes as "the biggest hurdle" blocking tax reduction.
The budget maneuvering comes just after Gordon and Wiltshire both fell in Tuesday’s mayoral race to Patrick Madden, who is replacing the retiring Rosamilia.