As I See It

In response to the Letter to the Editor on April 22 and the City Income Tax increase and Parks Projects: Mr. Stiticher’s comments need to be put into perspective and context as to the reality of city finances and projects.

All projects the city enters into are for the betterment of Troy not just neighborhoods they are in or border. All projects are funded by taxpayer’s money which the city administration and council have done an exemplary job of keeping Troy on an even keel and functioning with all services, which many cities do not provide at our level.

We (residents/taxpayers) fund all aspects of city operations with income tax, property levies and user fees (water/sewer/garbage) along with leveraged state and federal tax money. Private funds also have been infused and leveraged for projects within our city.

The city has a great record of leadership and honesty with residents in the need and benefit of projects in our city. Troy would not have the outstanding reputation of fiscal responsibility and great place to live if we were irresponsible, frivolous or did not exhibit financial restraint and control.

Without the investment of the funds from the sale of the city’s electric plant, many decades ago, the city would not be able to continue to be in a secure financial position and have an outstanding bond rating for low interest rates to finance opportunities. Once that fund is spent it cannot be recreated. The principal from that sale has grown but the interest, that is in the millions, has paid for extensive projects over the years. Prudent use of taxpayer money for the future, indeed. It would be irresponsible to gut this fund for a “one time spend” on any project.

As to particular projects such as curbs, streets etc. The city’s annual streets and sidewalks program this year is over $800,000 for street paving projects and neighborhood sidewalks and curbs are also in process. Most sidewalks and curbs are an individual property owner’s responsibility. Some projects, such as the Adams Street bridge, are primarily county projects with a portion funded by the city. Troy City Council stopped the Permissive Tax three years early saving taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars. Due to low interest rates Troy is able to secure, because of our financial standing, Treasure Island and Hobart Arena have been a great success.

The city’s support of the Lincoln Center and Troy Rec are tax payer dollars along with other donors such as the Troy Foundation.

Mr. Stichter is correct, Economic Development is Troy’s Priority No. 1. Without amenities such as our parks system, bike paths, restaurants, golf, swimming, Hobart Arena, to name a few, we wouldn’t have the reputation as a destination nor have the facilities to entertain Theatre on Ice, Troy Strawberry Festival Soccer Tournaments, GOBA, Gentleman of the Road or other large scale events. And with these park projects and the activities surrounding them hotels, restaurants and other businesses grow and prosper. Activities which keep residents and attract visitors to Troy assist in growing our economy, workforce for the employers that desperately need them and increase property values.

In 1947 the voters of Troy approved a levy for a city park, Troy Memorial Stadium, Treasure Island Park, Hobart Arena and an 18 hole golf course. The residents of yesterday paying it forward for the residents of today. We are now in the position of following that example.

A 0.25 percent income tax increase is a short term 10-year investment that will pay huge dividends in short order.

John Schweser,

Troy City Councilman – 3rd Ward