Troy Mayor Patrick Madden discusses ARPA spending, why he’s backing Hochul, and more
As 2021 winds down and the nation continues struggling with the pandemic, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden is looking ahead to the new year.
Mayor Madden, a second-term Democrat, says he's been busy ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. The city recently announced the proposal of $13.6 million to support a variety of projects and initiatives in the third round of funding through the Troy Now Initiative. Funding would go toward the construction of the Knickerbacker Pool and neighborhood improvements in South Troy, Hillside and Lansingburgh.
"Our overall objective here is to make sure that we invest this money in the neighborhoods in a way that has a sustained impact, as opposed to a one shot that is spent, and then a few years later forgotten," said Madden. "What I remind people of is, I think it was a little over 20 years ago, we received the settlement, that tobacco money settled settlement, remember that? Some $16 billion was awarded to New York state. And I've yet to find anybody who can point to something and say, 'this is a result of that funding.' I don't want to see that happen to the ARPA funds, I want to see them invested in a way that it creates a longer term change a longer term improvement in the community."
Madden says Troy Now investments will support significant investments in revitalizing the city’s parks and recreational infrastructure, business and workforce development efforts, increasing home ownership, expanding youth programming, fostering tourism, and invigorating public art projects.
"So we've created these, these various buckets," Madden said. "And what we've done is made an initial allocation into each of those. And then in each of those focus areas, we'll be pulling together a team of people who are either experts in the field or consumers, or you know, have a particular skill in that area. So they can develop programming that's responsive to the community.”
The funding appropriations were recommended by the ARPA Steering Committee and received City Council approval last week.
Madden has been watching the rise in COVID cases and has his fingers crossed that the worst of the lingering pandemic is over given slowly increasing vaccination rates.
"I know the county has seen an increase in infections and hospitalizations, said Madden." I don't think it's been as dramatic as other areas. My sense is that we're fairly well protected. I think we're above 70%. I'd like to see that higher. And I'd certainly like to see that 70% also move into the stage where they get their boosters. But you know, our schools are operating, our businesses are operating, our churches are operating. And our hospitals are not at a place where there's dire circumstances, but there's always room for improvement and I do encourage people who have not been vaccinated to get the vaccine. I encourage those who are vaccinated to get the booster."
A Siena College Research Institute Poll out Monday finds New York Governor Kathy Hochul leading the Democratic primary field, having the support of 36 percent of respondents, with other candidates far behind. As she runs for a full term, Hochul has the backing of several Capital Region mayors, including Madden.
"I think it's fair to say that New York State is only as successful as its localities," Madden said. "So it counties, its cities, it's towns, villages. If they don't succeed, New York State doesn't succeed. And Governor Hochul understands that and she appreciates that and she works on that supposition. To have somebody in the governor's office with local government experience is outstanding. Being the governor of New York is not about changing the world. It's about making sure that New York's communities work for all of its residents. And she's solidly behind that. I unequivocally and proudly support her."
Madden was asked about Democratic New York State Attorney General Tish James’ case against Republican Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in campaign contributions while serving in the state Assembly.
"I think we all hope that it's not true," Madden said. "And it's going to take some time to sort it out. But you know, it's just another situation that undermines people's confidence in government, and hopefully, it'll be proven not to be the case. But it will take time for us to, to get to that point."