I was asked today about my vision for the City of Troy. It's a funny word- vision. Anyway, as you head to the polls tomorrow, keep my response in mind. Thank you for all the support, and we will see everyone tomorrow night!
The question is, do I have a vision for Troy.I do, and it is one that is clear and precise. I will continue to dowhat it is we have done for the previous four years. I am sure thatfor some people, that will immediately turn them off, and that is fine. I am an honest person, and will not pander because it is election time.
My vision for Troy is to succeed on two fronts- improving thequality of life and creating a climate of growth. Ten point plans toreduce crime are useless if just four years ago youpromoted "voluntary compliance" of the law as a way to deal with theissue. Ten point plans are useless when nine of the points arealready in place, everything except for cameras on our streetcorners. We do not need them, nor do I think the majority of thepeople want them.
My vision for Troy is to continue to make sure that the people wholive here, the people who pay taxes here, are treated with thehighest of respect, and receive what they are entitled to. For those new to Troy, it was easy to look back at this past winter and saythat the City could do a better job plowing the streets. I myself am often frustrated with plowing, and get out into a plow and help out.What the people who are new to Troy do not know is how we suffered in Troy for years because of an inability to plow our streets. I will never forget reading a quote in the paper from my opponents administration saying that "We will get to Emerald Greens tomorrow,"when a day had already passed from a storm. It is one of the reasons I decided to run for Mayor.
My vision for Troy is to provide affordable housing to people in theright manner. We have accomplished this already through federal funding. Next month we will welcome 5 new families into a home theyown for the first time. We took some heat for bringing federally funded programs in-house last year, but for the first time they are being used correctly. They are strengthening neighborhoods.
My vision for Troy is to make it a welcoming municipality for developers. I understand that a lot of people like Troy the way itis today- I do as well. But we can only survive this way for so long. The taxes on our residents are high enough; they should not be higher. We need business and tax base in Troy so that we can move away from just surviving, and instead thrive. We have a proposed$400 million redevelopment on Hudson River that will bring hundreds of new jobs, improved housing, and access to the waterfront, and we have done that by telling people around the region, the state, and the country that Troy is willing to listen to what you have to offer. Those who can- do. Those who cannot- meet and talk about it. A $22 million hotel on Hoosick Street that is bringing 150 jobs toTroy is not something to scoff at. It is an improvement to the City.
My vision for Troy is to keep the progress moving forward. My opponent has made many claims that he wants to finish projects he started. Like the Congress-Ferry Street corridor, which we have turned into a $160 million venture that will begin in 2008. My opponent wanted to put 190 units of public housing on that site, the last thing we needed.
My vision for Troy is to take advantage of our waterfront. We tookthe steps necessary to secure more than 35 acres of land in SouthTroy on the Hudson River, and an additional 2+ acres of land inNorth Central on the Hudson. Within ten years, these parcels will be a boon to the City of Troy, creating jobs, public spaces and viable tax base. The City of Troy could have owned the King Fuels parcel of land for nothing years ago, but did not foreclose on it. Why? I wish I knew.
My vision for Troy is to continue to stimulate economic growth. We are in the best fiscal condition in more than 20 years. Just this year we have received two bond-rating increases, increased our fundbalance, and paved more than $2 million streets. The paving was done after three years of saving money, and building up reserve funds sothat we could do it without borrowing money. My opponent proposed borrowing $10 million in 2003 to pave roads- a time when we were already more than $80 million in debt. In the last four years we have reduced our debt by $27 million, using every penny we budgeted for that cause- something my opponent never did.
My vision for Troy is to continue to create, support, and endorseevents that build a community. Before I became Mayor, the ArtsCenter decided it did not have the staff to continue a Riverfront Arts festival. The City let it die. When we took office, we started a new one, not by hiring people, but by increasing job duties, and this year that festival brought 20,000 people downtown. We have wonderful business owners that created a Troy Night Out, which is beyond successful, and we do all we can to support that, and enhance it when possible. We worked with restaurants to create a ChowderFest- another success. And next month we will announce our next venture- another summer festival that will take place in Troy. These events are important, and despite not having the money to hire people to put them on, we get it done.
I use the comparisons of the past because to me this election is all about what you have done. I, and my opponent, have been in positions of power in the City of Troy, and the people that have been here for a long time, know the records of each. They know who abused power in the past for the benefit of their family, and they know who has not.
Our campaign for re-election has been honest and positive. My opponent cannot say the same. He has presented one idea in the lastfour months, and that was a public safety plan in which 90 percentis already accomplished by the City.
I give credit to some of theDemocrats running for City Council, which have actually put forth new ideas in their run for office. It's a novel idea, and one that I am happy to see.That is my vision for Troy. It is honest, and it is true, and I hope to have your support.
Thank you everyone and we shall talk later.