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

Friday, January 08, 2016

PROGNOSIS NEGATIVE

Moody's will hold the City of Troy's bond rating at A2. The rating effects the cost to governments of borrowing money. This might be a good thing as Troy shouldn't be borrowing money any time in the near future.

The rating outlook is negative because the last two mayors have almost depleted the reserve fund. Mayor Tutunjian used about $12,000,000 in reserve funds to offset needed tax hikes and Mayor Rosamilia dipped into the reserve fund for about $4,000,000.

The first thing the new majority on the City Council did was spend money on an independent audit. Well, the city already has an independent auditor and there is nothing terribly wrong with the city's books. True, you can always find a cut here or a cut there but it all ends up being nickels and dimes in the long run.

Mayor Tutunjian and Mayor Rosamilia often times announced "this budget is a bare bones budget." Even then, there were items here and there that could be cut but again, nickels and dimes, nickels and dimes.

Fiscally, the city is not a mess. East Greenbush is a mess with poor record keeping and people not knowing where money went or when it went. That is not Troy's problem. Troy's problem is the same as most old, industrial northeast cities: rising costs and falling or steady income; aging infrastructure and aging population. Then there is the public sector benefits issue. The fact that budgets have to be based on estimates instead of cash-in-hand only adds to the problem. When you want to minimize a tax hike, just make the estimates a bit more optimistic, right.

Budget cuts are not a permanent fix because ultimately they are one-shots. You can't cut what was already cut. This incoming council, like all the others, thinks they can cut their way to fiscal health. However, we would invite you to collect the Times Union and The Record articles on the budget for the past eight-ten years. What do you find? There are times when the mayor (Tutunjian or Rosamilia) offer a budget with a tax hike. The Council trims the tax hike with cuts. There are times when expenses have gone up and the mayor admits to using the reserve fund to cover that increase and not raise taxes. You see where this is going, right? Don't fill the auditors position, in the long run that savings is meaningless. We are using a spoon to bail out the boat.

Not helping this is perhaps a unique aspect of Troy's more vocal population: an odd mix of civic pride and utter provincialism. This vocal population love their city and see it as a special place. They end up making perfection the standard. Well, Troy is not a special place. It is just a place. Everybody thinks their town or city is special and therefore, no place is special.

If Troy could get a Target or a Walmart and increase the tax base, half the city would complain about traffic or 'box stores.'  A not-for-profit wants to open up shop in Troy in an empty building - complaints. Empty buildings - complaints. Pot holes - complaints. Increase budget to fix pot holes - complaints. 

So, if someone has an idea on how we can increase the tax base (not just maintain it), really increase it so cash flow is positive, let us know. Yes, corporate parks (ie. Corporate Woods) is an aesthetic abomination but don't we need something like Corporate Woods? A multi-building, modern, easily accessible home to solid, white-collar businesses? Until politicians start talking big and bold, we will fight these same battles year after year.

Or maybe another coffee shop or saloon would do it.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the Seinfeld reference

Anonymous said...

The bonding by the previous city council was probably not the most prudent move for a city like Troy. Taking on more and more debt with a tax base that is eroding, or shrinking is not a smart move. Most would agree that the tax base has to be expanded in order to generate additional revenue. Perhaps a corporate woods is exactly what the city needs as opposed to more low income housing and the associated costs that accompany that.

Anonymous said...

Boy where do you start commenting on this bullshit story? You have officially jumped the shark. At least it will now be easier to spot who rights this shit. It's the person walking downtown with bag of cans mumbling to himself over and over again Harry Harry Harry ......... Oh and by the way I think Harry's an asshole also but come on man.

Anonymous said...

You must have failed reading comprehension in school. I don't think he/she is blaming anyone or maybe he/she is blaming everyone. I think the point is we will only solve a systemic problem with big ideas, not a nip and tuck here and there.

I think a corporate park where the jail is would be great. I don't think it will happen. Why the built the jail on prime, waterfront property is beyond me.

Democratus, are you saying we're fucked either way?

Anonymous said...

This is quite a raw analysis. Depressing too.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the bad school building report. That will need attention soon and our school tax bills will get rocked.

Anonymous said...

Troy needs to rein in the amount of money given away to IDA's, PILOTS & tax abatements to political cronies. It is just another form of Corporate welfare. Economic development w/o tax revenue increase does spit.
How about going after the absentee land lords who don't pay their taxes or water bills, yet take in section 8 money, and house public assistance folk who use the schools and all the other public services. There are far too many free rides in Troy.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Just the facts

Anonymous said...

Potential savings idea: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2016/01/6/saratoga-county-new-road-salt.html

Anonymous said...

You don't seem to understand budgeting very much. Cutting your way to fiscal health is actually a thing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous @ 8:46 - Who rights this shit?
I'm sure that Mantello will fix everything.
That's why she wants the City to spend money on an independent audit when it is already being audited by the State.
Thank you, Seabiscuit! What would the City do without you?

Anonymous said...

Really 12 million? You must be using Steve Dworskys calculator

Anonymous said...


I would have to say that your remark about Troy not being a financial mess is troubling. Any city having to make five pension payments this year instead of the normal four raises a red flag. As far as your comment about the city having their own auditor you have to understand that that is just a political hack appointment that does nothing to examine finances.







Anonymous said...

Was surprised that the entire Council voted for the independent audit. Why not wait until the state report comes out and also see what the Mayors panel uncovers and recommends? Seems like a duplication of efforts.

Anonymous said...

People, read what your Shepard has written. Troy's financial problems are shared with other northeastern cities (under democratic rule), you ungrateful residents should stop bitching, do not be proud of Troy or for you long time residents get over your love and pride in Troy and fucking Harry did it. whewwww This is a dem blog with a past and current administration with a dem council over several years and the answer to the city's crisis is ....stop bitching. Welcome to Rock Bottom.

Anonymous said...

Carmzilla has decided that she no longer likes the order of the days of the week, so she has hired an independent auditor to examine closely the days of the week and in what new order she wants to place them. When pointed out that the days of the week have been that way for quite sometime Carmzilla pointed out that she was not in office when the order of the days were set and that if she was she would have made Sunday Wednesday, Tuesday would have followed Thursday and Wednesday would be the new Sunday. She has also started a petition to change the way the letter S looks. Mrs Ed (Carmzilla) will not be available for comments she has to hit the ground running regarding the letter S issue.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that you can't rely on cuts forever. You need to build the tax base and until that happens we'll talking about budget problems forever. Each of the last two mayors had one big tax increase, Harry's was over 6%, Lou's was under 5%. The city and County got a lot of help from Bruno as well. So, Harry was awesome and Lou terrible?

Anonymous said...

10:06 Did you even read this? We do have the same discussions year after year after year. If you're content with that fine. Some have recognized that the problem isn't one party or the other, its bigger than that and involves demographic shifts that have gone on for the past two decades. Bitching and being proud isn't working to stem the problem. But we know you're a partisan hack who makes everything political so go back to your county job.

Anonymous said...

My secure county job under republican rule and sound budgeting compared to Troy city democrat rule where the employees will not be getting paid after August? I'm off today.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Democratus. Every point you make plays out in the comments. Too funny!

Anonymous said...

More or less

Can't wait to see Louie out at price chopper. Does he realy think he did a good job. I'll set it straight

Anonymous said...

Guess some people can't handle the straight truth. You can only cut your way to fiscal health when your bloated, like Harry. After a while, there's not much left to cut and you need new revenue streams. It's not that controversial a position. Why the Carmelites and Tutsters get so angry about the truth is beyond me. So bitter, even when they win.



Anonymous said...

Carmelites, like that one. I have spoken with Carmella and she absolutely thinks she can look at the books and find enough cuts to balance the budget. There are cuts to be sure, but Democratus is correct. What happens when you have a so called "bare bones" budget and costs continue to rise. Collect garbage every two weeks? Eliminate fifty city jobs? Seventy? Then what?

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Neil Breslin helping the city of Troy out, he is totally non existent. Same goes for Marchione

Anonymous said...

Harry and Carms people get mad when.You point out the truth because they live in a fantasy land. They believe they did no wrong, but when their corrupt actions are put into words they then realize what scumbag they are and attack to deflect!

Anonymous said...

It's the fire department that needs to be cut. Close 2 station the one at RPI and the one on river st. Get ride of the ambulance and stop hiring. Now this will wake up all the "Heros" so they can start to post now. Dinners over.

Anonymous said...

@3:01 " their corrupt actions"? can't speak for Carmella but Harry brought the city back to fiscal responsibility and Lou, Lynne, Rodney and the council failed to do their jobs. Is that not a fact?

Anonymous said...

4:11pm,

As is the case with every one trick pony, alas, your act has become tiresome.

So there will be no posts, no reactions, no anything.

Just... Yawn

Anonymous said...

No 3:01, that is not a fact. Harry decimated the reserve fund and left the equipment in terrible shape for the next mayor. Lou had to clean up Harry's mess---much like Obama had to clean up the mess left by Bush.

Anonymous said...

Troy can not afford the police and fire department union contracts.
Let's see how Mantello handles this endless pit of cash flow. "Dworsky the bankrupter" controls her and he is known for giving blank checks to those two departments during his reign.
Mantello's father was a cop and her allegiances to them is obvious.
Good luck Troy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but by hiring 11 cops next week think of all the money that will be saved! I'm glad they are hiring the cops son with cured stage 4 cancer that wears the superman T shirt , he seems really nice.

Anonymous said...

Is it fiscally responsible to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

Each mayor has had good points and bad. The economy waxes and wanes and that is often reflected in the fiscal health of the city. I think each mayor, no matter what you think about them, is still living with the disastrous reign of Steve Dworsky to some extent.

Anonymous said...

Please don't compare Lou's debacle to Harry.

Anonymous said...

This week the financial crisis takes a back seat to more democratic corruption. Perp walks this week.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh- is that what happened? Thanks for the civics lesson on distorted reality

Anonymous said...

Go pay off your tax liens, loser.

Anonymous said...

Perp walk? Been hearing that for months now. Get some new material.

Anonymous said...

Why not? Do you live in a dream world?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Lou is also the field goal kicker for Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the firemen have been told to stay away from this blog or at least sit on your hands when reading it. Think they are catching on. This budget isn't going to be good for them and all the toys. Time to have real conversation about the money they cost us. The fire plays the dead people card when they are exposed for there expensive clubhouses. Talk about a one trick pony.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kevin. We've been hearing about perp walks for months you cute little douchebag

Anonymous said...

The Troy Poloi is officially the Lou of blogs.

Anonymous said...

Madden will save the day. Or most likely not. Yeah, probably not.

Anonymous said...

Can you hear that tune....whatcha gonna do when the come for you

Anonymous said...

7:04 PM,

*Yawn*

Anonymous said...

It will take an individual of outstanding courage and political will to accomplish what must be done: put Troy in bankruptcy and then cancel the union contracts with the police and fire departments. How long can you pay for people who don't work for you?

Anonymous said...

If that was an attempt to transfer a coherent thought into comprehensible written form, you failed. Terribly.

Anonymous said...

Troy is not bankrupt or near bankrupt. How exactly do you cancel union contracts?

Anonymous said...

You obviously have no knowledge of municipal finance. But thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

He's got a better shot than Carmzilla, brother.

Phana24JG said...

Read what 1.14 wrote. He/she is suggesting that Troy enter bankruptcy. This allows for contracts to be abrogated and renegotiated. However, Troy would not qualify for "insolvency" as required by law, so at this time, it is not an option. In addition, it would certainly drive away the investment we are looking for.

Anonymous said...

The state did an audit which pretty clearly spells out problems with Troy's books and practices yet the new Council president wants to spend more money which we don't have for an independent audit?!! FIRST MAJOR FAIL for her as far as I am concerned. Just 12 days out of the starting gate too.

Anonymous said...

The city of Detroit, Michigan, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt, estimated at $18–20 billion, exceeding Jefferson County, Alabama's $4-billion filing in 2011.[1] Detroit is also the largest city by population in the U.S. history to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, more than twice as large as Stockton, California, which filed in 2012.

Phana24JG said...

Legitimate complaint, but given that no advice comes with the state audit, and the Council has every reason to question existing budget numbers, an outside opinion is not the most outrageous option. Frankly, I find the "advisers" announced by both the Council Prez and Mayor more troubling. The same old govt insiders recycled. Nothing wrong with getting input from experienced people, but at least appoint at least a few people who will question the status quo.

Anonymous said...

I believe the council prez has declined to hire a political hack as the legislative auditor as has been done for decades and use the money to hire an outside "independent" firm. Therefore actually saving money and getting real numbers.

Anonymous said...

Carmzilla rocks it bruder

Anonymous said...

Booyah!