© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Schenectady City Council will try again to agree on budget that was due Nov. 1

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Council President Marion Porterfield at a November 13th budget meeting.
City of Schenectady
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Council President Marion Porterfield at a November 13th budget meeting.

Schenectady City Councilors plan to meet Saturday in an effort to agree on an overdue budget they are hopeful could pass Monday evening.  

A number of special meetings have been held since the November 1 deadline came and went. Councilor Doreen Ditoro says a finance committee meeting Saturday morning could break the deadlock:

"I'm hoping that there's a deal in sight," said Ditoro. "The numbers that they've presented to us have not been numbers that that I'm personally willing to work with. So I'm hoping that their presentation will be something that's acceptable to all of us."

Trash, water and sewer fee increases have held up approval of Democratic Mayor Gary McCarthy's $111 million spending plan, along with $1.1 million in cuts the all-Democrat council proposed to police and fire overtime funding.

Council Finance Committee Chair John Mootooveren says he's OK with McCarthy's trash and sewer fee hikes for commercial users, but he wants proposed water and sewer increases slashed 50% for residential users. In a text, he says he's hopeful the revised spending plan will move out of the finance committee for a full vote Monday. Council President Marion Porterfield echoed that.

Councilor John Polimeni doesn't share the optimism. "They have cuts for both the police and fire time overtime budget, which I understand, to try to keep things under control. But right now, both departments are significantly understaffed. And you have the issue of water, sewage and garbage collection, where we are running deficits, in particular, your garbage. But we also will be upgrades that we've done in our water and sewage. You're looking at a million dollar payment for the pump station down in the stockade. That has to be paid back, even though it's a 0% interest loan. We still have to pay it back. We need the money to do that. So I think there's potentially significant impacts there."

 Fire Chief Donald Mareno says the budget his department submitted back in May for inclusion in McCarthy's spending plan was not a "budget of wants, but a budget of needs."

"Whatever they decide that the final budget for the Fire Department will look like we're gonna have to work within those parameters. I work for the city. I've worked for them. I will work with the budget that is given to us. We'll do what we need to do to provide the best care for the community," said Mareno.

Ditoro says a new budget must be in place by January.

"At this point, it's not like the national budget, you know, where you hear, you know, the, or the state budget, even where there's going to be a short, you know, a shutdown or employees won't get paid," Ditoro said. "None of that will happen. So we need to get it done. And we need to decide on a budget and vote on a budget, but I don't think it needs to be done by this weekend. And I'm hoping that it is Saturday. I hope we can all come to terms with what they present, what Mr. Mootooveren and Miss Porterfield present to us on Saturday."

McCarthy did not return calls for comment.

The next full council meeting is scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m.


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.
Related Content