Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian's penchant for raising taxes is well-known. In fact, he's never met a tax hike he didn't like. This year, property taxes rose 2.49% A modest hike. Where Harry also likes to get people is in the sewer and water rates. Those have gone up quite a bit in recent years. Those taxes (also called rate hikes) don't generate the same passion as property tax increases.
This year, Tutunjian's water rate hike passed by a vote of 5 to 4 (the Democrats and Marge voted against hitting the Troy taxpayers). The problem was, the legislation didn't get to Council members until the night of the vote. Therefore, six votes were required for passage.
ÃÂ§ C-38. Purposes and adoption of ordinances. [Amended by L.L. No. 1-1984, ÃÂ§ 1]
The Council may, by ordinance, provide for the government of the City, the management of its business, and the protection of its property; for the preservation of good order; for the protection of the public health; for the safety and the welfare of its inhabitants and the protection of their property; for the construction of public and local improvements; and for such other purposes as the interests of the City and its inhabitants may require. No City ordinance shall be adopted at the same meeting at which it is introduced or until seven days have elapsed since its introduction, except by the two-thirds vote of the Council members present.
Well, they tried again last night. Again, Dems and Marge voted against whacking the tax payers. Bauer, Wojcik, Collier and McGrath voted for the tax hike. Council Krogh was absent. The vote was 4-4.
The result means no increase. Since the vote had no majority, no reconsideration is possible.
Â§ 2-32. Motion for reconsideration.
A. No motion for reconsidering any decision of the Council shall be in order unless made by a Councilperson who voted with the majority, nor unless such motion shall be made at the same or next regular meeting after such decision shall have been made.
B. A motion for reconsideration being put and lost shall not be removed, nor shall any vote be a second time reconsidered without unanimous consent.
Harry now knows this because he sent a memo to CSEA President Paul Caroll proposing the termination of 15 Water Department employees to close the budget gap created by GOP incompetence. In the memo, Harry once again resorts to the blame game. Apparently, because the Democrats and Marge didn't vote for the tax hike, they will be blamed for the termination of 15 employees.
Introduce the initial resolution within the appropriate time frame;
Based on the previous vote, you may want to ensure that your other votes are available;
Read The Charter, Harry, or have someone read it to you.
Is this an example of the fiscal health of Troy? One utility rate hike is not passed and the Mayor threatens to terminate 15 employees a few days before Christmas? Is every dollar in the budget accounted for? What about the Federal Grants and the money saved by cutting loose 99 retirees from their benefits? Or was that set aside for next year. Maybe pave a few streets before election day?
Given Troy's fiscal situation, perhaps layoffs will be necessary. That's a debate that should be had, in full view of the public. That's what a leader does. A leader makes tough, unpopular decisions. A leader does not patch together budget after budget with ever-increasing tax hikes because he or she lacks the guts to confront those tough decisions.
More importantly, a leader leads by example. Stop blaming others for your failures. The HUD money? You had the memo in January of '04 outlining the issues. Carignan? You knew you were screwing over a local business and when confronted with the consequences you allowed another business to pay for your mistakes. You hired Spargo despite the obvious ethical issues surrounding the disgraced judge. The list goes on.
Now, just days before Christmas, you'll let employees toss and turn, worrying about their future because you do not know what you're doing (and blame others for your screw-up). Merry Christmas, Troy.
Another great Album Cover (featuring a future GOP At-Large candidate):