The Troy City Council withdrew legislation that would settle Rensselaer's water debt. The legislation was withdrawn because of a procedural error: The legislation was not discussed at the most recent Finance Committee meeting as mandated by the City Charter.
This is another in a string of procedural errors that have plagued the City Council. Are procedural errors a big deal? Yes and no. They can be corrected and are inevitable from time to time. Governing in a democracy can be a messy business. The former Council was also plagued by procedural errors (many pointed out here) but since they did the Administration's bidding, such errors were rarely an issue.
Still, the Council has had time to settle in and it's about time they get their shit together and not give an impotent mayor ammunition.
That said, Rookie Councilman John Brown deserves much of the credit if Troy does get some or all of it's money from Rensselaer. Brown raised this issue during the campaign and has worked towards settling the debt since elected. One thing forgotten in this debate is that no matter what the Council does, it is our reading of the City Charter that they Mayor must sign-off on any agreement. If the Mayor vetoes the legislation the Council can override that veto but we don't believe the settlement would be valid. We could be wrong (not likely) but that's our read on the Mayor's powers under the Charter. A settlement would be a contract and the Mayor must execute any contract on behalf of the City.
Brown's actions have lit a fire under the Administration. Four years ago, the Mayor promised to collect this debt. Instead, he hired Rensselaer's Corporation Council and did nothing. He seemed more content to raise our taxes than collect the debt. Councilman Brown comes along and in 2008 the City finally files a lawsuit. Brown put the issue center stage and got the ball rolling.
The Administration's line in all this is to call Rensselaer "dead beats." They insist that Rensselaer should be treated like the Troy citizens that don't pay their bills. We'll be taking a look at how this Administration treats certain residents that don't pay their bills and the amount of those bills.