Troy Mayor Patrick Madden delivered his State of the City address last night.
Days after announcing his reelection campaign, the Democrat is optimistic for the Collar City’s future.
Mayor Patrick Madden looked back on his last three years in office and called Troy stronger, more resilient, and more optimistic.
After acknowledging the work of city officials, regardless of party, city employees, and the people of Troy, Madden opened his State of the City address by discussing the city’s fiscal health. He said Troy has maintained “rigid discipline around spending and budgeting.”
“As a result, Moody’s improved our credit outlook again in 2018 from stable to positive. That’s the second increase they have given the city in two years.”
The first budget passed under Madden included a 14.5 percent tax increase. Republicans on the city council have also criticized the implementation of a new trash fee. Madden said the city has added to its reserves and expects a modest surplus when the books close on 2018.
“Though we are not out of the woods yet, we are on the right path and we are headed in the right direction. The process of kicking the can down the road has stopped.”
On infrastructure, Madden highlighted major projects completed or begun in the last year, including the replacement of two sewer pump stations, new water lines, including the engineering for replacement transmission lines from the city’s Tomhannock reservoir, and the beginning of work on the city’s Hudson River seawall.
But he warned of issues that continue to loom over the city.
“This neglect has passed the buck from generation to generation with no quick or easy solution. Although we cannot correct these omissions overnight, we have set ourselves on a path of deliberate improvements.”
In the year ahead, Madden says he expects construction to begin on a new marina, the long-awaited South Troy Industrial Roadway, renovation of the South Troy pool, and demolition of the vacant Leonard Hospital in the city’s Lansingburgh neighborhood, among other projects.
Planning will begin for projects including a replacement of the Knickerbacker Park Pool and Knick Ice Rink, Mount Ida Dam, and Campbell Avenue Bridge.
Development in the city continues. With the recent addition of 101 apartments downtown in the former Troy Record building, another 358 apartments across several building projects are expected to open or begin construction in 2019.
Homeownership is also on the rise.
“The average price of a single family rose again in 2018, up 9.3 percent over 2017. That’s the sharpest increase in the Capital Region.”
As property values rise and more people move to Troy, Madden said public safety is also improving.
In 2018, Troy named Brian Owens its new police chief. Madden highlighted neighborhood meetings and the creation of a Community Relations Board to build trust between police and city residents.
Violent crime decreased 21 percent last year from 2017, while property crime decreased 17 percent.
“This is a strong indicator of the efficacy of our police department and their focus on keeping communities safe.”
However, the number of shots fired last year stayed the same as 2017. Madden said his administration is working new Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly and faith groups to begin an open-ended gun buy-back program this summer.
Also on public safety, Madden made news by announcing his appointment of a new city fire chief after Thomas Garrett announced his retirement in January after 20 years as chief.
“Tonight it gives me great pleasure to announce that I am appointing Eric McMahon as the next chief of the Troy Fire Department.”
Other goals: purchasing electric vehicles and charging stations, replacing city vehicles, some more than 20 years old. The city has also issued an RFP to upgrade streetlights to LED technology.
Looking back on his three years, and the city’s industrial past, Madden credited the people of Troy with creating community. Looking ahead, he said he was “boldly optimistic.”
“I see and I hear that optimism on a daily basis from residents and non-residents alike. It gives me great confidence in our future. I am proud and humbled to be your mayor. It is my goal to make you proudly proclaim that Troy is your home. We are Troy, New York and we are in this together.”
Reacting to the mayor’s message, City Council President Carmella Mantello, a Republican, said the projects highlighted by Madden, particularly infrastructure, have had unanimous bipartisan support.
“When it comes to infrastructure, you can’t play politics. So on that front, I was really pleased to hear about those projects that we’ve been a part of. And at the same, I wanted to hear a little more about the neighborhoods in terms of a lot of the development that you’re hearing is happening downtown.”
Mantello said she wanted to hear more about the redevelopment of One Monument Square, which has been the subject of several public meetings and failed starts over the years. She also wanted to know how Troy would find new ways to raise revenues.
“I didn’t hear any efforts to try to lessen the burdens on the back of the taxpayers. Another area, creative revenue. Our water in the Tomhannock: we’ve talked about it a number of times, selling that water to more customers.”
Mantello will deliver her own legislative address in March.