TROY, N.Y. -- The Troy City Council has approved the 2017 budget.
Members first voted 6-3 to override the tax cap, then passed the proposed budget with a vote of 6-3. The approved budget proposal includes a 14.5 percent property tax increase.
Mayor Patrick Madden originally proposed a 28 percent hike, but members of the Council Member Majority Steering Committee did not support it.
"I'm very pleased that a bipartisan majority of the council has approved my amended budget, but make no mistake, this budget erodes our ability to provide the services our taxpayers want," Madden said. "It increases our financial risks and it continues to kick the can down the road."
Councilman Mark McGrath was the deciding vote. He originally voted against overriding the 0.68 percent state tax cap, but said he would approve a tax increase of 14 percent at most.
"This was almost like a gift because, by March or so, if things haven't changed and I start to see things going the same way they're going, then when it comes to budget time next year, they'll get nothing," said McGrath.
Like Councilman McGrath, Council President Carmella Mantello originally voted "no" and ultimately stuck to her guns because she said the 14.5 percent increase comes with a cost of losing eight CSEA union jobs.
"How do I vote for a 14.5 percent hike with eight layoffs when we don't even know who those people are?" asked Mantello. "We do not have to lay those people off."
Madden did not disclose who the employees are or what departments they work in.
"We'll disclose that once we've spoke to the employees who are going to be impacted, but it cuts across five departments," Madden said.
The 14.5 percent increase also will result in some operational challenges not limited to a reduction of community policing initiatives and eliminating Troy's Emergency Response Team. Municipal pools will be closed and season pool staff will be eliminated from the budget. The marina will not be operational, and seasonal staff will be eliminated from the budget as well.
The city's summer recreation programming will be eliminated, as will community events such as youth sports support, parade support and neighborhood programming. There will also be an elimination of school resource officer positions after the contract period ends.