Troy city budget approved, criticism of North Colonie schools vote, that actually wasn't the tax cap, tax breaks sought for Nipper Building

Troy budget crunch
The Troy City Council voted to override the tax cap and approve a budget with a 14.5 percent tax increase Monday evening in 6-3 vote. Republican councilman Mark McGrath switched his vote, opening the way for the approval. Council president Carmella Mantello again vote against the override, citing the eight layoffs in the budget. Madden after the vote: "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." [TU] [WNYT] [News10] [TWCN]

Ahead of Monday's vote, Mark Robarge commented the whole political drama "truly has been a theater of the absurd." [Troy Record]

North Colonie building plan vote
Albany County comptroller Mike Conners criticized the timing and setup of this week's North Colonie school district vote on the $196.4 million building plan: "It creates a tremendous problem, with the appearance of voter suppression." A school district attorney was at the Conners press conference and asserted that state law requires the vote to be at one location because the district lacks voter registration -- a rule it apparently it had been breaking for years when holding votes at multiple locations. And district superintendent Joseph Corr pushed back on speculation about the district's motives: "What is concerning to me to ascribe arrogance and to ascribe a lack of concern for our voters as our motive is just a completely false mischaracterization of what happened." [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]

State education funding
The state Board of Regents is pushing for a $2.1 billion increase in state education funding next year. About 70 percent of that increase would be "foundation aid" -- the state's main school aid formula -- which still be $4.3 billion short of the total amount owed under the formula. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Saratoga County tax cap
Saratoga County leaders talked about the county's tax cap this year as if it were 0.68 percent -- but it wasn't, it was actually more than 2 percent. [TU]

Momentive strike
Chris Churchill: "At heart, the Momentive strike is a fight between Main Street and Wall Street." [TU+]

Manufacturing jobs
Using an Altamont company to illustrate what employers say is a lack of interest in modern manufacturing jobs from potential employees. [TU+]

Schenectady car smoking ban
The Schenectady City Council approved a ban on smoking in a car when kids under 16 are also in the vehicle. Council president Leesa Perazzo voted "no" and Vince Riggi abstained, both citing concerns about enforcement. [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Albany County Democrat drama
The latest turn in the internal drama involving the Albany Democratic Party leadership: a judge has ordered party committee chair Jack Flynn to submit current election commissioner Matthew Clyne to county legislature for reappointment. [TU]

Chris Gibson
Talking with Chris Gibson as he exits Congress, about what he feels he accomplished, Donald Trump, and his future plans. [TU+]

Caroline Street building demolished
Demolition started Monday on the Caroline Street building seriously damaged by the Thanksgiving fire. The process had been held up because of concerns about how the demolition would affect surrounding buildings. [Saratogian] [TU]

Tax breaks for Nipper Building
The developer planning to convert the Nipper Building into apartments and retail space is seeking a package of tax breaks from the Albany IDA, along with a property tax exemption through a state program. [Biz Review]

Cafe NOLA has been seized by the state Department of Taxation and Finance. [Daily Gazette]

Letters from Santa
Stopping in to see the GE employees who answer the letters sent to Santa at the company's 12345 ZIP in Schenectady. [TU]

Stuff going today

The Front Parlor storytelling series is at The Ale House in Troy. This month's theme is "Luck." Tuesday 7:30 pm

Tuesday-Sunday: Capital Rep continues its production of Camelot.

Holiday: Live From WVL Radio Theatre: It's A Wonderful Life radio theater show at Proctors
"This fresh new adaptation of the film is set in the fictional studio of WVL Radio Theatre, which is struggling to stay on the air one snowy winter's night. The professional voice actors are unable to get to the studio, but the show must go on--and so a small but intrepid band of employees manages to create the story's dozens of characters and scenes using just their voices and some everyday household items for sound effects." 7:30 pm -- $30

Holiday: A Christmas Story at Cohoes Music Hall
Screening of the classic Christmas movie. 7 pm -- $5

Music: Dan + Shay at Upstate Concert Hall
Country. 8 pm -- $20 ahead / $25 day of


Re: manufacturing jobs
A job market is a market after all so the laws of supply and demand apply there as well. If they cannot find staff then it's time to raise salaries.
$17.50 per hour is 35k per year. This is a salary of a janitor at SUNY who also gets benefits, labor union protection and whatnot on top of that.

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