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Troy Budget Negotiations Continue

Mayor Madden
Composite Image by Dave Lucas
Time is running out for Troy Mayor Patrick Madden's budget proposal.

The day-by-day drama swirling around the Troy budget proposal continues.

"The public should not be misled into thinking that there are viable options on the table to bring the tax increase down to 9.5 percent without cuts in services..."    Troy Mayor Patrick Madden addressed reporters Friday at City Hall, announcing his issuance of a message of necessity to the City Council to pass a local law authorizing Troy to override the state tax cap. Madden, a first-term Democrat, is now looking for a 25.3 percent tax hike, down from the 28 percent in his initial plan released in October.

Council President Carmella Mantello, a Republican, says she and five other council members dashed off a letter to Madden Sunday, expressing disappointment that the mayor reacted negatively to the council's suggested alternative.    "The mayor had promised he would not take this tactic of working through the press. I have been very up front with the mayor. I saw the mayor last week. Just call us, mayor, let's get this rolling.  Unfortunately, I see the mayor taking this tactic, bringing it to the press, Friday having this big press conference, bashing and flashing our 9.5 plan. We met publicly, two days before that, he didn't say 'boo!'"

The letter asks Madden to show his willingness to work in a bipartisan and cooperative manner, by entertaining the idea of another alternative plan that would also keep the tax hike at 9.5 percent.  "We have not received a response from the mayor. We feel that this is a great olive branch, working in a bipartisan manner. The mayor, for some reason, refuses to come down from that 25, refuses to really look at our plan as a realistic common sense plan."

Madden's office responded for a request for comment by email, stating "The Mayor will not be commenting until the Office of the City Comptroller’s financial analysis of the Troy City Council Majority Steering Committee’s budget recommendations is completed."

Mantello said  "Even though we have philosophical different viewpoints, the mayor needs to understand we are not going to override that tax cap, and he really needs to respond to our letter, give me a call, I'll get the council together, we'll sit down, we'll hammer this out, anytime, anyday, but the clock is ticking."

When asked for clarification, Madden's office responded with another email, saying it was expecting to get the City Comptroller’s report later Monday and wouldn’t comment until after that. Again, Mantello:   "We have not been notified of any meeting. So I anticipate potentially some type of email, maybe."

Meanwhile, Mantello has requested the mayor respond to the council's letter by Wednesday, so the members can prepare an agenda for a November 29th meeting. The budget must be acted upon by December 1st.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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