Troy Mayor on 2017 Budget: 'We as a Community Need to Make a Decision'
TROY, N.Y. -- Speaking out Friday morning, following a night of emotional testimony from Troy residents weighing in on plans to balance the city's 2017 budget, Mayor Patrick Madden says he is frustrated with common council members.
"I'm angry that we're so many weeks into the process and we have not had a substantive dialogue that we need to have," said Madden.
Friday morning, Mayor Madden announced he has lowered his proposed 28 percent property tax hike for residents in 2017 to 25.3 percent, and is pushing city council members to authorize an override the state's tax cap. He says if that doesn't happen, the city won't be able to gather enough revenue from residents to run smoothly.
"We would have to figure out where to remove $5-plus million out of our existing budget, and that would be very ugly," said Madden.
Wednesday night, Carmella Mantello and other city council members released their plan they say would lower the tax hike to 9.5 percent by not filling vacant positions in fire and police departments, and eliminate some filled positions. Mantello says one of the biggest issues of the mayor's budget is allowing city workers overtime.
"He refuses to cut overtime; he put more money in the budget for overtime; we're 40 percent over-budget in the fire department alone," said Mantello.
But Madden says the common council's "solutions" violate city rules.
"They are not solutions," he said. "The public should not be misled into thinking there are viable options to bring the tax increase down."
With fewer than 12 days left before the budget is scheduled to be voted on, both sides hope for some kind of compromise.
"I do wish the mayor has some kind of epiphany or some wake up moment," said Mantello.
"I can't create services without revenue," said Madden.
Both sides say they are willing to speak with each other in the coming days, but they don't have long: A vote on Troy's 2017 budget is scheduled for November 29.