The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, June 30, 2008


The dispute between the City of Troy and the City of Rensselaer is resolved.....almost.

According to the Times Union:

The City Council agreed unanimously Thursday night to a deal proposed by Mayor Harry Tutunjian to get the city of Rensselaer to settle its unpaid water bills dating to 1999.

The proposed settlement of Troy's lawsuit against Rensselaer over the unpaid water tab is $2.1 million including interest, with $400,000 to be paid immediately followed by annual payments of $175,000 until the debt is paid. Rensselaer will pay interest annually on the amount owed.

The article almost makes you believe that reporters were present at the meeting.

The real story is that no plan was proposed by Mayor Tutunjian. Unless, it was Plan Nine. In fact, the Council attended the meeting with the expectation of reviewing a proposed plan that would settle the dispute. In reality, the Council was handed a fill-in-the-blanks proposal and plugged-in the numbers that will form the basis of the settlement.

Tutunjian had no plan, no deal and failed to participate in filling-in his own blanks. Corporation Counsel David Mitchell, who did participate, offered vague number ranges as to money owed.

It was ultimately agreed that approximately $1,950,000 was owed by Rensselaer. Approximately $500,000 of that total was interest. However, $168,000 in interest was forgiven at the recommendation of the Administration because the Administration couldn't establish whether that interest was owed by Rensselaer of East Greenbush.

Approximately $200,000+ in interest and penalties was also forgiven. This is the Brown deal, with some minor changes.

So what happened?

It's apparent that the Administration had no idea of the dollar amount owed by Rensselaer to Troy. If the Administration did have an exact dollar amount, the trial is a mere 6 weeks away. Why not wait and prove your case? Because....

....the recording keeping during this Administration and the last, on this issue, was poor. If they had an exact amount that they could prove, why didn't Mitchell make a motion for Summary Judgment so we could avoid the trial all together? We listened to the typical bluster from the Administration since they wouldn't settle for anything less than the entire amount, paid in full. But, now, even the three GOP Councilmen voted to a reduced amount.

Also, it's fresh cash. Money they will need to off-set potential tax hikes this fall.

We said this case would and should settle. That the settlement would involve a payment plan. If Rensselaer doesn't sign off on this ASAP, they're committing governmental malpractice.

The fun part of all this is to fondly remember the bluster earlier this year. GOP Councilmen, Tutunjian and Crawley all balked at Rensselaer paying a penny less than was owed. In fact, Councilman McGrath said that if Rensselaer paid less than the full amount, he would tell Troy taxpayers to call Brown's home if they had problems paying their own water bill. Well, Rensselaer is paying less than is owed and McGrath voted yes. So we guess those tax payers can phone McGrath's house now instead of Brown's.

Full of sound and fury in May but by June they go gentle into that good night.

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