Mantello discusses lack of ARPA fund transparency, hints at potential 2023 Troy mayoral run – troyrecord

Mantello discusses lack of ARPA fund transparency, hints at potential 2023 Troy mayoral run – troyrecord

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  • December 25, 2022
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TROY, N.Y. — Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello took some time to speak with The Record recently and discussed some of the successes seen in 2022 and what she’d like to see happen in the city moving into 2023.

The Council President also voiced her concerns regarding American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds not getting out the door, remarked on her potential mayoral aspirations, and touched on whether she believes her beloved Buffalo Bills will finally win that first elusive Super Bowl.

Mantello spoke glowingly about the council’s Neighborhood Improvement Programs (NIP) projects.

“What I feel [is] the beauty [of the program] is the partnership with our neighborhood organizations. We have so many more neighborhood organizations who are partnering with us,” Mantello said.

To that end with improving city neighborhoods, Mantello said she wished the mayor’s office would implement the council’s quality of life task force, to help clean up the city, as well as make Troy more accessible to those ably challenged.

“One of the things I wanted to see the mayor [Patrick Madden] move forward with is the quality of life task force. Unfortunately, the mayor decided not to move forward with that despite the council moving forward with that program, which is really getting our departments to put aside their boundaries, put aside their silos, and working together to tackle block by block, so I was disappointed,” Mantello explained.

Looking ahead to 2023, Mantello also expressed her bewilderment at ARPA funds not being translated into shovel-ready projects at the ground level.

“I’ve been pleased with the actual process, minus a blip or two on the ARPA projects through 2022. I’ve not been pleased, fast forward, with getting the monies out the door. The council approved monies back in December of 2021, going into 2022, monies to this date going into 2023 are not out the door,” Mantello remarked.

“That being parks, business grants, home improvement grants, these are no-brainers going out the door. I have overseen many millions of dollars going out the door from a statewide project program, I’m not happy, I let the mayor know, I’ve asked the mayor for an actual spreadsheet, tell us where you are. They would only verbally tell me. I’m not happy now, a year and a half later with how the monies are going out the door,” Mantello continued.

“I’m concerned. I bit my tongue, I’ve been very hesitant because these dollars, they are not about politics, they are over $40 million dollars of transformational projects that are going to live long after me, 10, 20, 30 years. I don’t wanna look at these projects as political, whatever, I’m not happy how the monies are going out the door. They need to be transparent, they need to ensure that the monies are making sure that they’re going into our neighborhoods and really making a difference,” Mantello explained.

The Council President said that those dollars should be going to projects such as improving city parks, constructing the Knickerbacker pool, home improvement projects and she noted that she’d yet to see an RFP for a new city hall, funds for additional firefighters and she added that despite agreements with Proctors and funds being made available through the DRI, that the American Theater project likely wouldn’t get off the ground until 2024.

“Out of the $42 million dollars, the only monies we have really seen go into the ground, Taylor [Apartments], and a couple of small projects with the youth services. So, needless to say, ARPA is going to be a huge priority for me in 2023 to ensure that we see shovel in the ready projects, that we see groundbreaking projects,” Mantello noted.

She added that efforts have been made to help expedite the process.

“We put money aside for a coordinator, for an attorney, we put money aside last December knowing, okay, you might now have the staff to get monies out the door, we did everything humanly possible to ensure that these monies start rolling forward. Like the parks, we bonded two and a half years ago,” Mantello explained.

She also called for more transparency in letting people know the status of approved projects and programs.

“I don’t work behind closed doors, I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, [or] Republican, just put it on paper, tell us where you are, and let’s move forward. I’m very frustrated,” Mantello added.

Additionally, with petitioning beginning in February, Mantello commented on her own potential political aspirations and potentially a third crack at running for Troy mayor next year.

“I have definitely seen what can be done for the past seven years. As a chief elected of the city, do I know more can be done? Absolutely!” Mantello exclaimed.

“I’m talking with my family, we will have an announcement in January at some point, stay tuned. Quite frankly I wanna do great things for our city, so I never close the door and the door’s open and lots of folks are asking me if I am interested and will run and I certainly know Troy is capable of much more, so stay tuned!” Mantello added.

Finally, Mantello weighed in on whether her Bills could circle the wagons and bring Buffalo a championship.

“I have been a 40-year plus fan of the Bills and I have endured four Super Bowls straight where we have lost and I have endured many many hardships over the past decades, all I can say, for all of the folks who say, hey we’re heading to the Super Bowl, I take it one game at a time but I will tell you if the Bills are in the Super Bowl in 2023 and they win, look for a new mayor in the City of Troy, as a Republican in 2023!” Mantello added.

A look at the Hedley Building, where Troy City Hall is located. Melissa Schuman - MediaNews Group file photo)
A look at the Hedley Building, where Troy City Hall is located. Melissa Schuman – MediaNews Group file photo)

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