Taxes could be going up in Troy under the mayor’s budget plan for 2020.
Democrat Patrick Madden's $74.7 million spending plan comes with a 3.4 percent tax hike the mayor says is necessary to pay off debts and meet mandated obligations. One key component is infrastructure: $250,000 has been earmarked for phase one of a street paving program along with $100,000 for sidewalk improvements. Madden says there's also funding to operate and staff the newly renovated South Troy Pool.
Madden is seeking a second four-year term in November’s election. "I've often spoken of the fact that we're not out of the woods yet, that we have made some great progress, and this budget is a good example of that. It doesn't do everything we would like to do yet, but we're trying to live within our means. It does include a few new things including staff for, two new staff members for parks and recreation. A new staff member in the building code department and the acquisition of a second set of turnout gear for the firefighters. It also includes in our capital plan, a five-year plan to add to the amount of paving we do here to address some of the street conditions in the city, but the lion’s share of the increase the budget increase is about $1.2 million over last year. The lion's share of that increase is the result of contracts that we've settled with several of our unions."
Madden says his plan fosters economic growth. Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello, also running for reelection, worries about increasing taxes and fees. "I did notice a $16 per unit increase in the garbage fee, disappointed in that. And I did notice though, turnout gear for the firefighters. So I think there's some wins and losses. We need to remember that over $6 million the taxpayers of Troy have paid for over the last four years and that's including the 14.5 percent tax hike and the bulk fees and the garbage fees so, you know, $6 million is coming out of taxpayer's pockets. That certainly is alarming."
Madden says he's not "thrilled" with his budget proposal. "I would have loved to have had more resources. I would have loved to have had more money to address more issues in our parks. I would have loved to have had more public safety dollars to spend. What I'm trying to do is that sweet spot, that balance between what we want and what we can afford."
Mantello says city councilors will be getting to work on the document. "Over the next several weeks the city council will be reviewing the budget. We have dozens of public hearings, budget meetings and various other meetings to interact with department heads to ask them, you know, where they came up with their budgets and what's needed, what's not needed maybe, and see if we can bring the 3.4 percent increase down while continuing services. So the next several weeks we encourage folks to come out and hopefully participate in the budget process. Certainly a very accessible and transparent process."
The city council has until December 1st to act on or adopt the budget, which can be viewed here.