Friday, March 19, 2010

New Federal Lead Safety Rules

New federal lead safety rules for Renovations, Repairs, and Painting (“The RRP Rule”) take effect on April 22, 2010.  If you work on a house or building built before 1978 that is occupied by a child under the age of six or a woman that is pregnant this rule could apply. The RRP applies to housing, schools, hospitals, churches and childcare facilities.  In general, the rule requires that after April 22, 2010 all renovation firms must be certified by EPA to continue doing renovation, repair or painting work.  There are certain exclusions including:
  •  renovations performed by homeowners in their own homes
  •  emergency renovations (requires verifications)
  •  renovation activities where affected components do not contain lead-based paint
  •  minor repair and maintenance activities, including interior work that disturbs less than 6 square feet per room of painted surface and exterior work that disturbs less than 20 square feet per side of painted surface.  This exclusion does not apply to window replacement, demolition and certain other prohibited practices.
Furthermore, a homeowner may choose the “Opt-Out” provision, meaning that she chooses not to use lead-safe work practices.  She would have to certify certain conditions in writing including that:  
  •  she and her family reside in the home and
  •  there are no children under 6 years old and
  •  there are no pregnant women residing in the home and
  •  there is no child-occupied facility in the home and
  •  the owner and residents have been educated about the dangers of lead and received the Renovate Right pamphlet.
In early May, TRIP will be hosting a free 8-hour training class for contractors, landlords, maintenance workers, painters, etc. to receive certifications as required in Lead Safe Work Practices and Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP).  Contact TRIP at to secure a seat now. You will be informed of the date and location shortly. 

TRIP will also make more information available about the RRP Rule on its website at  To view a handbook about the RRP Rule, go to

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Reassessment?

The City of Troy has not completed a comprehensive reassessment of its tax roll in thirty-four years.  As a result of this, many homeowners in Troy are paying taxes that do not accurately reflect the values of their homes.  The City is currently attempting to build support for a citywide reassessment in order to remedy this problem.  The reassessment is a very complex and controversial undertaking, especially in this difficult economic time.
A reassessment will examine every single building in the city of Troy in order to determine its value.  Since it has been so long since the last citywide reassessment, many of the values recorded on the books may not necessarily be accurate anymore. The role of a reassessment is for every Trojan’s tax bill to reflect their share of the tax burden according to their property’s value as accurately as possible.
Another important reason to reassess is that many businesses with the resources to challenge their assessments are winning, costing the city money in legal fees and reimbursement of taxes.  It is difficult for the city to defend itself in these disputes because the assessment is so far out of date, meaning the city loses and must repay taxes the courts determine were unfairly collected.
The assessed value is used to calculate the owner’s property taxes by showing the portion of the tax levy the owner is responsible for.  The actual amount of taxes is determined by the amount of taxes the city chooses to levy.  When the city determines how much it will collect overall in taxes, it uses the assessed values to determine how much of that each property owner will pay.

A reassessment does cause some problems for Troy, however.  It will cost the city at least $1 million to complete a reassessment, which is not easily affordable in this time of declining revenues.  Also, there is concern that some senior citizens living on fixed incomes may be forced out of their homes by unaffordable taxes if their assessments are raised by a reassessment.

The city will be conducting informational meetings throughout the city throughout March, and the City Council will vote on the measure at their April 1st meeting.  A list of informational meetings is below
  • Monday March 22, 6:30 PM, Franklin Terrace Ballroom, 126 Campbell Ave.
  • Tuesday March 23, St. Mary’s Church, 196 Third St.
  • Wednesday March 24, 6:30 PM, Troy YMCA, 2500 21st St.
  • Thursday March 25, Sacred Heart School Cafeteria, 310 Spring Ave.

What is Troygle?

Troygle is a group of Troy citizens committed to bringing Google's ultra-high-speed broadband to Troy to transform the way people play and do business here, and to catapult Troy into the future. Google will be test-piloting ultra-high-speed broadband in select communities around the United States, and Troy has the opportunity to apply to be a part of this trial. With cities across the nation vying to stand out and attract Google’s broadband network, local citizens have been hard at work trying to attract the company to the Collar City.

Your help is needed! It takes just a few minutes to fill out a very simple application to let Google know why Troy is a great place. The more residents who apply, the better the chances of winning the bid. Applications are due March 26th. Click here.

Not only is Troy the “All-American City” – the official home of Uncle Sam – Troy is the birthplace of countless innovations, the place where history, culture and technology meet. It has an educational environment, with excellent infrastructure and modest costs for housing and commercial space. It is time for Troy’s next innovation – to lead the way with Google by bringing ultra-high-speed broadband to a diverse, creative, historic city.

A number of meetings have been held by the Troygle group to discuss the application for Google to use the city as one of its test sites for its upcoming ultra-high-speed broadband network and  to discuss the many community and technology-based details which must go into the city’s application.  With the help of resident Lisa Graham, a video shoot was also held during the Waterfront Farmers market in the Troy Atrium to interview local residents about why they want Google broadband and how their lives and businesses would benefit from such technology. The group is hosting a face-off in Monument Square on March 23rd, from 5-7pm called "The Need for Speed" between the Hellions of Troy roller derby league and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team while  incorporating Google tools and technology into the event.

Google's ultra-high-speed broadband will benefit Troy and the community in countless ways:
  • JOBS - The greater efficiency and speed will facilitate the ability of its citizens to better do their jobs, to find a job, and will spur private enterprise. It will lay a foundation for job creation by helping to attract private companies to base themselves here.
  • CONNECTION - It will help connect all institutions to the community - including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hudson Valley Community College, Russell Sage College, and all of the schools, nonprofits and private sector businesses. It will serve as a bridge to bring Rensselaer's advance technological innovations to all of Troy.
  • COMMUNICATION - It will allow nonprofits to better serve their constituents, bringing high-speed wireless to lower-income residents and families who might not otherwise have access, thus opening up their worlds and creating more opportunities.
  • ACCESS - It will allow more access to broader collections of digital archives, multi-media and medical and biotechnology innovations, among other things.
  • VIRTUAL TOURS OF TROY - It will enable the city to better market itself to the world - bringing the world to Troy, and bringing Troy to the world.
Google announced in February that it would deliver download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second through fiber-optic connections, which the company claimed would provide an Internet experience more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today. According to Google officials, the company plans to offer the service “at a competitive price,” to between 50,000 and 500,000 people to provide speeds which would allow them to more easily download high-definition video, stream three-dimensional images, and perform other tasks which require massive data transfer rates. Google has not said how many cities it intends to serve, or how much it is willing to spend to do it.

Consolidated Plan for Troy

The City of Troy has released its proposed Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) for 2010-2014 as well as its 2010-2011 Request for Proposals (RFP) for CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Program applications and several other programs.  Applications for funding are due to Tim Mattice at City Hall by Wednesday, March 24, by noon. The Con Plan, the RFP and the application may be found at  

The Con Plan serves as a planning guide to the City in the areas of housing, homelessness, community development and economic development.  Furthermore, it helps the City prioritize how to spend its federal allocations of CDBG, HOME, and Emergency Shelter Grant funding, which together are estimated to be $14.5 million over the next five years. 

In a departure from past Con Plans, where a variety of community service programs were funded to meet the varied needs of Troy’s residents, the City proposes to target its investment by stabilizing “its most challenged neighborhoods as a means to create citywide cohesiveness among al its neighborhoods” To accomplish this, funds would be targeted to infrastructure improvements such as streets, curbs, sidewalks, and trees, parks, greenspace, housing programs and commercial opportunities initially in several focus areas in South Troy, then in several areas in North Central. 

The City Council will hold another public hearing on the Con Plan and the proposed One Year Action Plan on Thursday, April 1st at 5:30 PM. at Christ Church at 35 State Street.  The Consolidated Plan and the One Year Action Plan must be approved and submitted to HUD by mid-May so that funds can be appropriated by the start of the City’s fiscal year beginning July 1st