BEGGING FOR DOLLARS
How do you know budget time is just around the corner? The City goes begging for dollars:
The city wants Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pay a public safety fee per student that could generate as much as $1.26 million annually to cover police, fire and ambulance coverage provided to the campus.
City officials want RPI to pay to offset additional demands placed on city emergency sources due to the school's massive building program that includes EMPAC, the acronym for Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and the East Campus Athletic Village.
The City would like RPI to pay $200.00 per student, per year.
City Council President Clement Campana said RPI needs to recognize that it places a lot of demands on city services.
"The public safety fee is something that is long overdue. Given the number of calls we make up there, it's fair to assess something," Campana said.
Campana would prefer the fee isn't directly assessed on the students by RPI. But he said a payment for public safety would improve RPI's image among city residents.
"It's always been the feeling RPI doesn't do enough for the city," Campana said.
And, of course, we have the trademark diplomacy of Deputy Mayor Crawley:
"RPI is noted for saying we're having a grand opening and inviting everyone before they have a CO," Crawley said. "If the invitations go out for October and their place is not completed, they're not going to get a CO."
One rarely sees that caliber of sophisticated diplomacy on the local political level.
The fact of the matter is that RPI benefits Troy directly and indirectly. The opposite is not true. Theoretically, RPI could move to North Adams and flourish. RPI does not need Troy.
As for a fee, why single out RPI? Why not Kennedy Tower as well. Why not assess a fee on students at Doyle Middle School? The police are up at Doyle quite a lot. Why not charge every resident a $200 fee and use it for public safety? We understand that attacking an institution of higher learning plays to the lowest common denominator and that's what the Administration does. There's just better ways to get money from RPI than veiled threats.
Going once, going twice....
The Troy Downtown Collaborative plans three meetings to gather comments and suggestions before the proposal goes to the Troy City Council for approval. Owners in the proposed district and the state comptroller’s office also must sign off on the plan.
Clearly, the BID is an important.....we believe it will....screw it. We really don't care.