The first budget hearing to discuss the proposed 9.3% tax increase was held last Thursday evening, October 15. This story got kicked down the road due to the earth-shattering 'push poll' scandal that rocked Troy last week.
What did our Council have to say?
Councilman Doherty (D-4) and Council President Wiltshire (D) both acknowledged that the Council must work together to help the citizens and their political careers.
Mayoral candidate Jim Gordon (R-1) passed-the-buck and "blamed Rosamilia's administration for not dealing with the city's distressed financial situation when the state issued its warnings a year ago."
While the Mayor has to shoulder much of the blame, this is not a time for the standard answer used by 5 year-olds the world over: "He did it, not me." That is not leadership. Good leadership is like a good detergent, you can use the gentle cycle but you have to be able to tackle those tough stains. Where was Gordon for the past year. He knew about the tax hike.
Last year, during budget time, the Council requested that the Mayor slash each department by 3%. The purpose of those cuts was to find savings to mitigate a $1.8 million shortfall the city will face in 2016, as a result of deferring pension payments in the 2015 proposed budget. Gordon's response to the cuts:“At this point in time in the city, to entertain any of the reductions that were stated in both the police and fire departments for a 3 percent rollback… would be asinine." Gordon did not offer an alternative and voted for the budget.
No need for dismay, however. You can find Gordon's economic plan right here.
Councilman Doherty also said something telling (yes, we know, but it's still true). "We are going to have to reach out and work across party lines." What party lines, Councilman? Last we checked, the Council had a 7-2 Democratic majority. Of course, Bodnar (R-3) and Gordon (R-1) should have input on any potential solution but what exactly did Doherty mean? We think he meant Democrats working with Democrats. That is, the WFP faction working with Democrats. Sad, really. There is one reason for this factional split: the ambition and ego of Council President Rodney Wiltshire. So, there's two reasons, really.
Now, what to do? The City needs more revenue but taxes can only be raised just so high. The best proposal we heard was a City of Troy Gift Shop. The prices might be high but purchases are voluntary. This idea has gained steam and we can give you a sneak peak at some of the merchandize that may be offered to residents and tourists alike.