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Troy Mayor Patrick Madden On City Issues, His COVID-19 Recovery

Mayor Patrick Madden
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Mayor Patrick Madden

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden says he has recovered from a bout with COVID-19. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with the second-term Democrat earlier this week.

Madden announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus late last month and then spent several days in isolation.

"I think I'm one of the lucky ones. It wasn't fun. But it wasn't horrible. I did not end up in the hospital. I did not run fever for days on end. It was, it presented itself much like a very bad head cold or a seasonal flu. And, you know, at this point in time, my symptoms are well behind me. Regaining strength every day, I'm probably back to where I was before the diagnosis."

Madden says he'll look to get tested for antibodies in the coming weeks and possibly donate plasma. He says, like other municipalities, the Collar City has been hit hard by coronavirus.

"Businesses closed down, we're seeing restaurants closed down. People are aware of the infectious nature. They're not going out. They're not patronizing. So it's only normal that businesses would struggle. You know, I know the schools are struggling with keeping kids in, while fighting the spread of the disease. The city of Troy itself, the corporation, we've had a couple of cases in City Hall. We've had more cases on our police and fire department, which stands to reason they interact with people more regularly, so it creates more opportunities for infection."

Madden says small businesses downtown are trying to survive the pandemic.

"They've demonstrated a real perseverance. They've demonstrated a lot of creativity in finding ways to serve their customers. But I do know that it's getting tough now, you know, the Christmas season is behind them. Certainly the dining outside weather is behind us. So businesses are struggling right now to keep the lights on and to keep going. We're working with them as best as we can, any federal aid that comes for small businesses, we're trying to get it out the door as quickly as possible. "

Reacting to Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State Address, Madden gave the governor good grades for keeping focus on COVID-19 and its impacts.

"This pandemic has exposed some of the inequities in our society, whether it's, whether it's in housing, whether it's in education, health care, etc. And now, as we move through this, and we talk about rebuilding, this is a good time to take a look at how we provide those essentials in our society and make sure that we're doing a better job for equitable distribution."

Madden looks forward to working with the Biden administration in the wake of the stresses that COVID has put on the state and localities’ budgets.

"President-elect Biden has expressed his understanding of the needs for aid to state localities and the House has always been there. So I'm guardedly optimistic. I don't know what it looks like in terms of the amount or timing, but it certainly looks better than it did two months ago."

Madden adds Troy government is functioning despite the pandemic. He recently announced the city is extending the deadline for payment of first installment of 2021 property tax payments for 21 days. The final date for payment of taxes without interest or penalty is Sunday, February 21st.

"You know, it'd be great if we can extend it beyond that. But that's what the law allows. And, frankly, that's about what our cash flow would allow as well. So it's not, you know, it's not a home run. We're not forgiving taxes, we're just giving people a little bit more time to pay those taxes. Hopefully, that'll provide a little bit of relief to people who are struggling financially."

Madden is hopeful that the vaccine rollout will expedite a return to normal by midsummer.

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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