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

Friday, March 04, 2016

CARM'S WINDOW DRESSING

City Council President Carmella Mantello offered her views Thursday night on a number of issues in the legislative response to the State of the City address. The Times Union has the story. If there is a bigger erection killer than the State of the City Address its the legislative response. We're not even sure there is such a thing. It sounds like something Mantello made up.

"Working with the mayor, the council will end fantasy budgeting and restore reasonable and realistic budgeting through a corrective action plan," Mantello said.

Mantello went on to outline goals that nip at the edge of the problem but offer no real solutions.

Hit the lights, grab a juice box (which doesn't mean what we thought it meant) and we'll turn on the overhead projector.

- Mantello said the council will consider a local law to require a two-thirds vote to tap the water fund for money.

Why? Why allow it at all? Then again, who cares? There's one pot of money. It is compartmentalized in a bizarre Byzantine labyrinth of bureaucracy but its our money. You can allow or prohibit shifting it around but it does not increase the tax base. Don't forget though, when the new Charter hits, any tapping of the water fund will require the vote of 4.6 council members.

-The council also will review the Troy Industrial Development Authority, Local Development Corp....

The IDA is  a separate legal entity that self funds through fees. It does not cost the city money. Troy's PILOTS, unlike some other municipalities, do not shrink the tax base. Some may not expand it, but they do not cost the City money. We are not fans of all the local and state authorities. There are far too many. They do not have to be responsive to the voters in the same way as State agencies. But, there is little to no savings here. Wiltshire liked to blame these entities and now McGrath, who has displayed complete ignorance about the IDA, wants it as a scapegoat. They will be disappointed.

-"We must look to streamline and consolidate city government, and through this method reduce our expenditures and non-essential and discretionary areas. This would include such expenditures as overtime, not filling vacancies, and other discretionary types of spending," Mantello said in her speech.

Yes, there are modest savings to be found here. If you really try, you can probably find $500,000 to cut without effecting services to any noticeable degree. In the end, weak tea. Why? It's a one pump chump.

- A special committee will be formed to study relocating City Hall to the heart of downtown, Mantello said."I believe that the cost of renting city hall space is very expensive and leaves us with nothing in return. Rather, the people of Troy should own their own city hall and be proud of this facility," she said.

Yes, too bad we didn't have a city hall in the heart of  downtown, rather than in the pancreas. We had one. It was butt ugly, but it was structurally sound. It was torn down on New Year's Eve without appropriate asbestos abatement measures. And before you talk about Harry's great trade for the Verizon Building, he was legally prohibited from making that deal based on the status of a portion of the City Hall site being State property. It's complicated. You won't understand and even if you did, you'd deny the facts. Like Harry. On the bright side, we love us some special committee action.

So, why the skepticism? The problem with Mantello's pedestrian ideas is that if they were all implemented, we'd still not cover the deficit. Even if they did, it would be for a year, at most. In 2011, for instance, 85% of the budget was already spent. That 85% is slated for debt service, salaries and benefits. So, we are not talking about shaving a few million from $65,000,000. We are talking about shaving a few million from a few million. On top of that, more realistic estimates will further reduce what can be cut.

Furthermore, not considering a mid-year tax increase is irresponsible. You don't have to pass a tax increase but why leave anything off the table. 

So, where are the big ideas?  Privatize sanitation. Refinance the debt. Garage sale. Lemonade stand. paper route. Maybe we can sell remainder t-shirts that celebrate the Green Island Bridge falling into the Hudson.

We are done with this topic for the foreseeable future. We know many will deny it and many won't believe it. We will not cut or streamline our way out of this long term problem. Some of what Mantello proposes can be an adjunct to a real plan but it will not address rising costs, contracts and benefits.

We are not trying to be Debbie Downer but lets put an end to the fiction that the taxpayers will not, ultimately, have to open their wallets.


Good night and good luck.


44 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was a total food fight last night. I can't believe Madden and Monica thought they would somehow make a difference.

Carmella wants to cut, but buy a City Hall and an audit?

Mark, seriousy? It can't be that small, can it?

Anonymous said...

More grandstanding for the press. Blogger hit the nail on the head: debt service and personnel costs. Mantello hits the little points to save money comparable to reducing number of paper clips per employee.
The first real savings is to renegotiate police and fire union contracts which are breaking the backs of Troy taxpayers. She won't address this problem due to her special connections with police and firemen.

Anonymous said...

When the IDA negotiates lower taxes for any business coming into town, it does cost the city in the long run by giving substantial long term tax breaks. In many cases the IDA stays with the property even after a subsequent sale which adds to the value of the real estate but adds NOTHING to the future tax revenues. We have seen just in the last year, articles in the TU which that there is little oversight after the initial promises have been made. Dinosaur BBQ got one of the best spots in downtown after big tax breaks and has not produced the number of jobs they promised. The city gets short changed, the local economy gets short changed and the fat WEALTHY owner(s) of Dino/BBQ rakes in the dollars. That's just one example. WE NEED TO STOP GIVING AWAY THE FUTURE TAX REVENUES OF THE CITY.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Carmella for a permanent city hall. But where will we get the money Or location to do this? The Troy Record would have been the perfect spot.

The Verizon building could be an option and using the property next to it (that was purchased for police chief) for an addition.

Anonymous said...

The City may have had the money to purchase The Record building, but it did not have the revenue to pay for the massive rehab needed to turn it into a functioning city hall. The Record's owner let that building fall into disrepair for two decades.

Anonymous said...

Let the city stay right where it is until the financial mess is settled. We don't need to move now.

Anonymous said...

Over $300k a year. She has to start to look for something. Its fiscally prudent to try and look at what is potentially available. We need to have a plan. Her putting together a committee cost us nothing not like a $750k master plan.

Anonymous said...

The flood gates are opening again at the PD. Two more people are leaving for other agencies. 10 gone in 3 months.

Anonymous said...

#SnooooozeFest

Anonymous said...

Get her a double-wide, put a tiara on her noggin and call it a day.

Mrs M said...

It's exactly that small.

Anonymous said...

$300k is cheap. What do you think a 40,000 sf building would cost? And we did the Verizon building thing already.

Anonymous said...

Another left on Friday not on his own choice.

Phana24JG said...

I thought the most interesting event of the evening was at the Council meeting where the Mayor and Council majority went at it over the "independent audit." I'm not sure of the requirements for purchasing professional services, but I find it curious why both sides are digging in their heels over this issue. I'd like to hear from anyone who has some ideas of their actual agendas.

I find it hard to believe the Reps really think Cusack is going to find some magic bullet in this audit, and I doubt the Mayor is actually losing sleep over a minor deviation in purchasing procedure.

Anonymous said...

We had a state audit. WHY spend more money on another one?!

Anonymous said...

I think we need to get an independent mental health evaluation of ZILLA, McGrath, and Madden.

Anonymous said...

What is being done to collect the $1 million in outstanding fines, back water bills unpaid, back taxes, etc. that have been owed to the city ? Why doesn't either the Mayor or the Council President report on this ?

Anonymous said...

Mantello is a nickel and dime political mediocrity. No bold ideas or vision. Cuts are a small part of the equations and make for a good press release but she's not even saying how much her cuts will save. In fact, we don't even know what she wants to cut.

Anonymous said...

Start by cutting those 911 tape stealing cops.

Anonymous said...

This blog is dying a slow death

Anonymous said...

A slow death like McAzzwipez tax warrants?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much doesn't make it past Democratous on to this blog. I'm not talking about vial attacks I mean good comments that prove you dem's wrong. It's also amazing the radio silence you people go into the hen one of your own gets caught. Nothing about the cops suspension. Thank god for Franco.

Anonymous said...

Can I get the $100 back I donated to colaneris kid?

Anonymous said...

8:50 I have heard this before. Reading through the comments on multiple posts I conclude you are full of shit. There are a lot of comments that are anti-Democrat, anti-Rosamilia... I don't think you're posting shit about proving Dems wrong. You just want people to think that.

Go post it on the Republican site.

Anonymous said...

You're not trying to equate what the cop did to what Jim Gordon did? The GOP Mayoral candidate's wife is scared enough to call 911. She says he 'held me down' and she just wants him to leave.

Who is the real bad guy here?

Anonymous said...

Bill Dunne's fault. He held her down, not Jimbo.

Anonymous said...

9:29 we do go to Franko blog. He post thing from both sides. Not the disgusting things Bob Cox has posted that have past your "high standards". Your a phony who when called out you will not post. I suggest you go back and read the "high standards" you set for yourself back in that great story you wtote about another one of your standard bearers "Hanging with Cooper". You giggle like a school girl when you read Cox disgusting post and giggled all the way to your computer all excited about putting that on your blog. Your a phony that's the bottom line. Troy police suspended. Assistant DA fired.Cops running to retirement. Several others under investigation A cell phone controversy that's in the courts and you lost your keyboard. All orchestrated by disgruntled Democrates and a man hell bent to get his son on the police force. Now you can all divert your time to asking all of us to pray for Gordon's wife.

Anonymous said...

Low blow for the comment about the son.

Anonymous said...

10:32 Why so angry? Why so bitter? Democratus has posted on those events and I'm sure he will post on the latest developments. Please tell us all about the issues you'd like to discuss. Just make it more coherent next time.

Anonymous said...

So, if the blog administrator posts a comment it is an endorsement of that comment? So, the blog administrator has endorsed your comment?

Your comment is so nonsensical. This blog has, much to my distaste, defended Bill Dunne. Cox loathes Bill Dunne and McGrath and Tutunjian. Where's the connection. Take your meds and get some rest.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what that psycho Cox says? He's an uncouth, ignorant,vile little Allen Guluski wannabe.

Anonymous said...

Guluski has an excuse. A TBI that changed him. Very sad. Cox is just a miserable human being.

Anonymous said...


English Teacher says:
10:32 I'm sorry to be harsh, but your post is so full of grammatical errors that it's pretty much incomprehensible. At the very least, proof-read your posts before you click publish. Having a less than 3rd grade grasp on the English language doesn't make you very credible. I hope you weren't educated in the Troy schools.

Anonymous said...

Bob cox will always disapoint

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lucy and Drew for bringing to light mr coxs past indiscretions. Now we know why he bounces from state to state

Anonymous said...

Please. Galuski didn't have a TBI. Hez always been a dumb scumbag

Anonymous said...

I think you need to actually have a brain to get a traumatic brain injury.

Anonymous said...

Poor Jimbo. When you tick off K-Jim you're cooked, pal.

Anonymous said...

Your vary corect

Phana24JG said...

After four years of ineptitude, I will gladly settle for a nickel and dime pol. I do have to wonder how she can promise no additional taxes when we are so early in the year and neither the Council nor Mayor have said a word about expenses to date. I assume the relatively mild winter certainly helped, but given the water main/sinkhole I have to imagine the budget is already stressed.

Anonymous said...

Did someone actually say "Thank God for Franco"

Anonymous said...

School 12 for city hall

Anonymous said...

No one reads the Republican blogs

Anonymous said...

Yes, Shitunjian