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Troy City Council President concerned over late quarterly financial report

The city of Troy's Corporation Counsel Dana Salazar, Mayor Carmella Mantello, Comptroller Dylan Spring, and Deputy Mayor Seamus Donnelly discussing 2023's fourth quarter finances with the council in May 2024
Samantha Simmons
The city of Troy's Corporation Counsel Dana Salazar, Mayor Carmella Mantello, Comptroller Dylan Spring, and Deputy Mayor Seamus Donnelly discussing 2023's fourth quarter finances with the council in May 2024

Troy's City Council president and the mayor’s administration are battling over finances.
After the whirlwind first few months of Mayor Carmella Mantello's term, the city's comptroller office missed the deadline to file first quarter financial reports.

Just weeks before Mantello took office, the prior comptroller resigned, but worked with the city and third-party accounting firm ProNexus to close the 2023 books and fill the vacant comptroller position.

In mid-February, Dylan Spring was approved by the council.

The first quarter report was due to the council April 30th, a month after the quarter ended. Council President Sue Steele says on behalf of the entire council, she requested the report a day later and was told it was not finished and would be provided before the council's May finance meeting.

Speaking with WAMC after the meeting Thursday, the Democrat says she is worried the administration is not being cautious enough, considering the city only recently climbed out of historic debt that required decades of state oversight.

"It's scary to me that we are in this situation, because we've done so well with our finances," Steele said. "And I think they are in over their head."

The administration was unable to provide the council with the first quarter report, and instead provided 2023's fourth quarter report that ended December 31st.

Spring sat before the council with other members of the administration and an employee from ProNexus who assisted in the transition to go over 2023's financial report, delivered to the council a day before the meeting.

Spring says the numbers are incomplete and unaudited because some entries have yet to be finished. Spring says what was presented to the council did not provide a clear financial picture of the city’s finances. He adds reconciliations were not completed for January and June of 2023 and need to be entered into the city's accounting system.

"What didn't occur was the fact that the stuff that's in our bank account wasn't reflected accurately in our financial system," Spring said. "It was in other documents, including spreadsheets and other documents like that. But that is not something that we can rely on specifically. We need to have a financial system. And that's why most cities have financial systems to track those kinds of costs and reconciliations."

An audit of 2023 is expected later this year. First quarter reports should be ready for the June finance meeting.

Moving forward, Spring says he plans to further train employees on updated accounting software and complete reconciliations every couple of weeks rather than every month, which is how the former comptroller operated.

"Our biggest goal for the next couple of months is trying to find an ERP [enterprise resource planning] financial system that will replace our current one and bring us up to the 21st century," Spring said.

Also Thursday, the council's minority and Republican majority disagreed on a resolution that would recognize the Congress and Ferry Street corridor is a type II action, meaning it would not have a significant adverse effect on the environment. Councilmember Katie Spain-McLaren is a Democrat from District 3.

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable determining that this is a type II action because I can't say that it's not going to cause a significant environmental impact when we haven't seen plans,” Spain-McLaren said. “We haven't. There hasn't been any public input.”

The council agreed to a recess to discuss the matter. The project, which has been in the works since 2018, would widen the roadways and enhance gutters, drainage, and landscaping.

Earlier this month, a resolution authorizing the issuance of more than $1.3 million in additional serial bonds for the project was withdrawn after councilors and residents sought more information.

Returning minutes later, the council was informed the resolution was written by the city’s former corporation counsel and bond counsel. Republican Councilor Irene Sorriento of District 5 says she is confident the action is correct.

“I'm trusting the expertise of our bonding counsel and so, I am voting for this,” Sorriento said.

Fellow Democrat Aaron Vera from District 4 agreed with Spain-McLaren.

“It appears as though we are making a SEQR determination on the project and not the bonding and I'd like some clarification,” Vera said

The legislation passed in a 4-3 vote.

Samantha joined the WAMC staff after interning during her final semester at the University at Albany. A Troy native, she looks forward to covering what matters most to those in her community. Aside from working, Samantha enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and cat. She can be reached by phone at (518)-465-5233 Ext. 211 or by email at ssimmons@wamc.org.
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