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City Of Troy Begins Budget Work

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Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, a first-term Democrat, held his first of three public workshops on the 2017 budget process this week.

The mayor says the workshops are a way of getting more people involved in city government.

“I want the public to know why we need to make the difficult decisions, again, what the constraints are on us in terms of what decisions we can and cannot make so that they’re aware of what’s coming, so that they’re part of the process,” said Madden.

Troy faces a number of financial problems including sewer and water issues, shoddy bookkeeping, and a lack of a long-term comprehensive plan, as outlined in an audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli last February. DiNapoli said the city’s finances are in a “precarious position.” His office also issued a critical report in November of last year.

Taking recommendations from DiNapoli’s audit, as well as an independent audit, the Troy City Council Thursday approved a new Corrective Action Plan to submit to Mayor Madden for inclusion in his 2017 budget.

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello.

“I am very pleased to announce that we received bipartisan, unanimous support. The reform package passed 9-0 and so now it will be delivered for the mayor to sign,” said Mantello.

The mayor’s budget proposal is due October 10th.

Mantello said she appreciates that the mayor’s budgeting process includes citizens. She also mentioned that there will be numerous public meetings, workshops, and hearings on the city’s finances before the end of the year.

Items in the plan address revenue estimates, reviews for permits and fees, a reduction in costs for overtime and consultants, an analysis of public safety options, a fund for sewer and water infrastructure, and a “realistic” comprehensive plan, to name a few.

“We have to work together, obviously, with the mayor. But right now the mayor is working on his budget and what we’re saying is ‘You have to incorporate and demonstrate that city hall is going to change the way it’s been operating as it has been over the last 4 or 5 years,’” said Mantello.

Madden said he appreciated the effort by the city council.

“I think some of the suggestions in the Corrective Action Plan are a little bit light on detail but I do appreciate their embracing the Office of State Comptroller recommendations,” said Madden.

For example, Madden said he finds a recommendation to analyze the potential leasing of golf operations at Frear Golf Course a bit “late in the process” with the budget proposal due in three weeks.

After the mayor’s budget recommendation is submitted, it will be up to the City Council to review.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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