Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello Delivers Annual Legislative Address
Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello presented her annual legislative address Thursday evening.
Mantello, a Republican, began her speech acknowledging that the pandemic tested everyone's patience, endurance and strength.
"This past year has been one of the most challenging years in our lifetime for many of us … Whether it be the loss of a loved one, financial setbacks or emotional distress — COVID-19 has changed our lives forever. However, we have persevered together as a city because we are Troy strong. With vaccine distribution increasing weekly and spring just a few weeks away — we are finally turning the corner on this crisis."
Mantello says city officials saw the financial devastation coming as a result of the pandemic and knew it would take a toll on residents, schools, businesses and government.
"Unlike so many communities, we came together to face the challenges. The City Council, mayor and his administration pulled together as one, putting politics aside and worked together immediately to reduce spending, institute a hiring freeze other than public safety and public health, put various projects on hold, and other necessary budget actions. We met constantly and together and we worked to ensure that the costs of the COVID-19 shut-down would not be passed onto the already burdened taxpayer and resident"
Mantello added the pandemic halted city efforts toward creating a public safety fee for non-profits in Troy.
"In 2018, the New York State Comptroller’s office issued a report stating that the Troy Redevelopment Foundation (the major tax-exempt properties in the City — which includes RPI, St. Peter’s Health Partners, Emma Willard, and Russell Sage) has not increased its $450,000 contribution to the city in over 20 years. This is not acceptable — that is not fair. Tonight, I’m announcing that I will sponsor legislation appointing a bipartisan City Council Special Committee, per Section C-12 of the Troy City Charter, to explore establishing a Public Safety Fee for the Troy Redevelopment Foundation. This is the model we used successfully to advance the city hall relocation issue."
Mantello noted that Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden intends to move forward with a new trash plan for 2022 implementation.
"Yes. We need to encourage and incentivize more recycling, but a pay as you throw plan is not the answer. As I have stated many times, I will not support the ay as you throw proposal; it encourages illegal dumping, results in higher fees and steers more homeowners to private haulers. Another initiative put on hold due to COVID-19, was a study to relocate City Hall. I am pleased the mayor is committed to once again moving forward with this proposal. I have been championing this issue for years — it’s time to finally cut the cord and Troy deserves our own City Hall. I look forward to working with the mayor and administration on this project."
Mantello says she favors establishing a “Quality of Life Task Force” to improve neighborhoods and neglected properties.
She also noted the city's police reform and reinvention collaborative's plan will be passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo's April 1 deadline, while the reform initiative will continue for the foreseeable future.
"Our goals continue to be building trust, respect, inclusiveness and transparency. These are common goals we all want. I promise to continue to listen and moving forward we will and can be one Troy."
A city hall spokesman said Mayor Madden was not available for comment.
Mantello's address is posted below.