Troy Mayor urging city council to pass law to override state’s tax cap

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For the first time, Troy’s mayor is speaking publicly about his proposed 2017 city budget.

Mayor Patrick Madden is urging city council to pass a local law that would override the state’s tax cap. His proposed budget would now increase property taxes by 25.3 percent.

City council members suggested a budget with a 9.5 percent tax increase but Mayor Madden says that would bring deep cuts in city services like snow removal, trash pickup, and other city maintenance.

“It’s not a comfortable position to be in. If we can’t afford it though as a community, then we have to talk about reducing the services we offer,” Mayor Madden said.

Mayor Madden says he will not make cuts to public safety.

Some people spoke out at Thursday’s hearing that they didn’t want to see cuts to public safety or IT Department.

“What Troy needs, which is what most places need, is to strengthen the community police presence,” a Troy resident said.

The City Council has until mid-December to pass a law that overrides the state’s tax cap.

Statement in Response to Troy Mayor Madden’s Remarks Regarding the City of Troy Proposed 2017 Budget by Carmella Mantello:

“It is ironic that a year ago then Mayor-Elect Madden was lobbying Council Members to vote in support of a local law to override the City’s tax cap. Based on the Mayor’s lobbying, the Council voted to override the tax cap last year and adopt a budget for 2016 that the Mayor now says is a junk budget. The Mayor is as wrong today with his budgetary analysis as he was in November 2016.

The Majority Steering Committee has offered a detailed and well thought out plan to reduce the City’s proposed tax increase from 28.2% to 9.5%. The Mayor throughout the course of 2016 has never approached the Council about necessary expenditure cuts due to loss in revenues. Rather the Mayor’s game plan has always been to solve the fiscal problems by putting the burden on Troy taxpayers. We as a Steering Committee feel this is unfair and unjust, and we will not support a tax increase in the magnitude that the Mayor is requesting.

We are prepared to pass the requisite local law to exceed the tax cap if the Mayor respects the interests of Troy taxpayers and supports our plan of a 9.5% property tax increase for 2017.

The Mayor has had ample opportunity through sixteen City Council budget committee meetings and preliminary hearings on the 2017 budget to offer specific suggestions regarding the budget. Instead he has steadfastly stood with his game plan of overwhelming Troy taxpayers with a 28.2% property tax increase. Additionally, at the same time the Mayor is asking Troy taxpayers to pay 17.5% more in sewer rates.

We are always ready to work together with the city administration regarding Troy finances. However, we are equally committed to protecting Troy taxpayers from unprecedented tax hikes.

There’s a Council Meeting to vote on the Troy city budget scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th at 7 pm. This meeting was scheduled in late September and at no time since then has the Mayor objected to the budget adoption date.”

Attached is a memo from the Steering Committee sent yesterday to the Corporation Counsel regarding the tax cap override.

Thank you for the attached memo, Kevin regarding the General Municipal Law and the tax levy override. I did find it interesting in your analysis of section 3-C of the general municipal law regarding a tax levy override,  you left out any mention of resolution #91 which passed unanimously by the City Council on September 2016. This resolution was approved as to form by yourself, and required the Mayor to demonstrate compliance with the City Council’s 16 Point CAP prior to approval of any authorization to override the state tax cap. This 16 Point Plan would have reduced city expenses in a meaningful manner and help mitigate any tax increase for 2017. Instead the Mayor basically ignored a good share of this plan and presented a budget with a 28.2% tax increase. Such an increase would be detrimental to the residents and businesses of our community, and have a major negative impact.

In a plan submitted by a 4 member GOP Steering Committee, it is recommended that the Mayor’s proposed 28.2% tax increase be reduced by 9.5%. This plan does not affect any essential core services and allows the city to provide necessary services for all its residents in 2017. In fact, the plan would provide the Mayor with almost $2 million more in revenues in administering city services throughout 2017.

The tax cap would currently limit any increase in revenue for 2017 to $184,089. The 4 member steering committee is prepared to support an override in the tax cap based upon the plan we have submitted.

I would respectfully request that the administration support our plan and continue on with the process of moving Troy forward.”

To pull the city out of its financial hole, Mayor Madden says the community must choose between department cuts or higher taxes.

“We’re acting as we did in years past, with indiscriminate spending of expenses without regard for whether that makes sense or is even viable.”

There is a council meeting to vote on the budget scheduled for Tuesday, November 29th at 7 p.m.

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