Troy Asks Feds For Financial Help | WAMC

Troy Asks Feds For Financial Help

May 8, 2020

The City of Troy has adopted a resolution urging the federal government to provide emergency financial aid to municipalities.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden provided a snapshot of Collar City finances to members of the city council Thursday night.

Right now, the Democrat explained, the city’s finances should hold steady for the next few weeks, but things could change in June.  

“The month of May should be good. And we shouldn’t need to make drastic moves prior to that,” said Madden.

The city is bracing for a reduction in state aid as the COVID-19 crisis drains state coffers. Madden said Troy’s departmental revenue is expected to take a $1.3 million hit. Through a hiring freeze and other budget cuts outside of personnel, the mayor predicted the city can find $1.1 million in savings, making up for much of the departmental loss.

Madden told WAMC before Thursday’s council meeting that cuts would be prioritized as necessary. Worried about how cuts will affect summer youth programs, he’d like to see the opening the of South Troy pool, which underwent extensive renovation last year.

With the future unknown, the city, like dozens of other Northeast municipalities, is asking the federal government for help.  

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello drafted a resolution that was unanimously approved Thursday night asking the city’s federal representatives in Washington to enact a “COVID-19 Federal Funding Relief Stimulus Package directly to local governments regardless of population size.”

“Believe me, I don’t like begging for aid or assistance, but other groups or organizations are receiving stimulus monies due to this health crisis. And municipalities, we’re on the front line. We’re protecting our folks day-in-day-out through public safety, drinking water, you name it. It’s obviously something to protect not just us, more importantly the residents of our city,” said Mantello.

Though there appears to be deadlock in the U.S. Senate over bailout funding to state and local governments, Madden said he was “guardedly optimistic” that a deal would be reached as pressure builds.

“And I know there are conversations occurring right now. They’re not all public, they’re not all reported on. But that’s the way the Senate works. And then ‘boom’ all of a sudden, in three days’ time you have agreement.”

But, Madden added, whether a bailout would provide Troy complete relief is “probably doubtful.”

Democratic city councilor Sue Steele said a divided Washington could learn something from a united Troy.

“I would just like to say that it would be nice if the federal government took a lesson from the Troy City Council. Tonight we did things on a bipartisan basis. It would be nice if the U.S. Senate could act accordingly,” said Steele.

“I agree, ditto. Absolutely,” said Mantello.