TROY — An annual town meeting that started with several dozen people in the gym of Troy Central School March 19 dwindled after a fierce first hour or so as people trickled out, leaving a noticeably smaller number to pass the second half of the warrant with little comment.

All articles passed, several with amendments. As amended, the overall budget went up 9.5%, from $642,874 for fiscal year 2022 to $704,010 for fiscal year 2023. However, the amount to be raised from taxes declined by 13%, from $312,854 in 2022 to $272,229 for the current fiscal year.

The theme of the meeting seemed to be to spend down what some residents felt was an oversized surplus. The amendments offered all took more money from surplus and/or non-property tax revenues, either to reduce the amount to be raised from property taxes or simply to spend more from other sources. Some townspeople complained that the Select Board was not as transparent as it should be.

From the get-go moderator Greg Rossel had his hands full, with people talking out of turn across the room instead of addressing remarks to him. The most contentious item was the one dealing with roads. Consistent with the onset of mud season, many residents had complaints about the condition of their own roads and others around town. After a good deal of back-and-forth, including amendments to amendments, the article passed as amended.

Voters listen at town meeting in Troy March 19. Photo by Sarah E. Reynolds

The final article appropriated $49,672 from taxes, $84,000 from surplus, $31,500 from state Local Road Assistance Program funds and $200,000 from excise tax to be distributed as follows: $76,500 for road improvements, $94,000 for road maintenance and $194,672 for winter road maintenance, for a total of $365,172. As a result of amendments, the budget for this line item went up by $30,000, taken from excise tax. All of the additional money was put into road maintenance. Also, the amendments reduced by $30,000 the amount to be raised from taxes and increased by the same amount the allocation from surplus.

Other amendments included appropriating $10,000 from surplus to the Fire Department’s New Truck Fund instead of $5,000, taking $5,000 from surplus instead of $3,000 for Fire Department general expenses, and putting $12,700 from surplus toward cemeteries rather than $10,700.

Most of the rest of the warrant passed without controversy. However, the final article was also amended to alter the process for disposition of tax-acquired property. Rather than simply giving the Select Board the authority “to fix the terms and conditions” of sale, the amendment required that the property be advertised in three local newspapers, and that the minimum bid must be the total of accumulated taxes, administrative fees and any other encumbrances. Any money realized from a sale over and above that total would go into surplus. The article passed as amended.

In other business, it was announced that Tom Byron won reelection to a three-year term on the Select Board March 18 and Bret Irving was elected forest trustee.

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