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Friday, April 19, 2024

Schenectady council meeting ends with potential budget agreement on the horizon


Schenectady Mayor⁢ Threatens Legal Action Over 2024 Budget

SCHENECTADY — Following a tumultuous Monday night meeting during which Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy​ threatened to sue the City Council ⁣over the 2024 budget, a deal finally appears in sight in advance of a​ special Thursday‍ night budget meeting.

After McCarthy raised the possibility‍ on Monday ​of filing an Article ‍78 legal proceeding⁢ in state court against the council​ in⁤ order to get his ⁢original 2024 spending⁤ plan proposal‍ enacted, negotiations with the council‌ continued and the sides left the ⁢Monday meeting⁢ with a potential deal‌ in place.

McCarthy⁢ said on Tuesday that he would support the budget deal being considered ⁢by the council, if it’s passed Thursday. The mayor vetoed⁣ the council’s first two ⁤approved 2024 budgets.

Proposed‍ Budget Deal

The​ deal ⁢currently on the table would⁤ adopt the mayor’s‍ proposed water‍ and sewer rate increases for city residents, while halving McCarthy’s waste fee increase.

The proposed deal ⁣would‍ also ⁢reinstate a code enforcement ⁤position and an assistant corporation counsel‍ slot, two of nine vacant jobs cut in the council’s ⁣first two budgets.

City Council President Marion Porterfield said on Tuesday that the‌ council was provided new budget numbers from the city finance department that reflected the latest council proposal, noting that the proposal will be up ‍for a ‌vote on Thursday.

“We came together on the numbers and it’s going to be‌ a budget that we’ll present to the mayor and‍ he’s very much in agreement‍ on what we came to,” Porterfield said. “I‍ expect we’ll​ be able to⁣ pass a​ budget and have it in place for the beginning of the year.”

Remaining‌ Concerns

McCarthy said during Monday’s council meeting that he ‍hopes the seven-person council will ​pass a budget unanimously, but Council Members Carmel Patrick and John Polimeni noted on Tuesday that they ‍would not support the current deal on the table.

“My ⁣guess is that⁢ a budget will be passed, but I don’t think it⁢ will be passed unanimously,” Patrick said. “I can only speak for‌ myself, but I still have concerns ⁤about several items. Obviously I’m not happy about the ⁣police and fire overtime being reduced from what the mayoral budget was ⁢asking for.⁤ I also feel that not raising the [waste] fees to the⁣ extent that they are in the mayoral budget is going to put us​ in a‌ bad position next year.”

Consequences of Missing⁣ the Deadline

The⁢ city charter states that ⁢the council must pass a ⁣budget on⁣ Nov. 1 each year, but does not detail the consequences of missing that deadline or what would occur if the city does not have a budget⁤ in place by ⁣Dec. 31.

McCarthy told⁣ the⁣ council on⁤ Monday ⁣night that city⁣ Corporation Counsel ​Andrew ​Koldin had researched ⁤the matter and determined⁣ that, since the council had failed to ⁤pass ​a ⁢budget by the Nov. 1 deadline specified in the city charter, the council no longer had the right to make amendments to the $111 million budget proposal McCarthy submitted‍ to it ⁢in September.

Call for Charter Amendment

Williams said⁣ on Tuesday that ‍he would like‌ to see the City Council adopt an amendment ‍to the charter specifying the‍ next steps if the‍ council were ⁤to miss a ‍budget‍ deadline.

Schenectady Republican Party Chair Tom ⁣Kennedy criticized the all-Democrat council​ for cutting funds from the police and overtime proposals in McCarthy’s original budget. The proposed ⁢third⁤ budget includes a pay raise ​for council members, with their annual stipends increasing from $14,100 per year to $16,356.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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  1. Disagree: This budget agreement is just a temporary band-aid that won’t address the underlying issues facing our city. #LongTermSolutionsNeeded

  2. Disagree: This budget agreement is merely a short-term fix, failing to tackle the root problems that plague our city. Long-term solutions are imperative for lasting progress.

  3. Disagree – This budget agreement falls short and fails to address the crucial long-term needs of our city. #SeekingLastingProgress


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