Last night the Troy City Council overrode the State's real property tax cap by a vote of 8 - 1. The nearly unanimous vote paves the way for tonight's budget vote. The proposed tax increase will be 4.9%. Ken Crowe II has the story.
District 1 Councilman Jim Gordon (R) was the lone nay. Previously, four councilpersons had rejected an override when the tax hike would have been 9.3%. This time, Councilpersons Wiltshire (At-Large), Anastasia Robertson (D-2) and Ken Zalewski (D-5) voted to override the cap. Those three, along with Gordon, will not be returning to the council next year. Robertson was defeated for reelection, Wiltshire and Gordon chose to run for mayor and Zalewski was term-limited out of office.
Frankly, were shocked that Wiltshire and Zalewski changed their minds. Wiltshire kept his promise to consider an override if the tax increase was 5% or less. Zalewski took to social media to ask the voters what they wanted.
According to the Crowe story: "Councilman Jim Gordon, a Republican, was the only council member to vote against the override at both meetings. He condemned the revised budget as built on one-shot revenues and the raiding of city funds."
He ain't wrong.
Mayor Elect Patrick Madden said the proposed budget was a "wing and a prayer."
He ain't wrong.
Council President Elect Carmella Mantello said, "we'll make it I swear, oh, oh, living on a prayer."
If you go back and look at the old budgets, including the Mayor's message to the council explaining the budget, you come to the realization that most of these budgets are built on one-shot revenues, optimistic revenue projections and slight-of-hand. We'll live and will forget all about this until next October. Then, we'll act shocked when we're told there may be fiscal difficulties.
Budget cuts will include limiting the use of vowels at the new Try City Hall and reduced paper clip consumption. Employees will be asked to bring their own writing implements to work and the city will be limited to only three fires a year in order to reduce Fire Department overtime. Any serious crimes will be confined to regular business hours.
Some perspective: the proposed 5% increase is less that Mayor Tutunjian's 6.5% increase for 2005.