Troy City Council passes budget for FY2023

At the Troy City Council Meeting on Sept. 27, the council passed the City of Troy’s annual budget for fiscal year 2023.

The FY2023 budget is a total of $84,248,470, which councilman Greg Meeks acknowledged was $400,000 less than last year’s budget. Despite that decrease, it includes a pay raise for city employees.

“This budget includes a 2.5 percent cost of living (increase) for every employee,” Troy Mayor Jason Reeves pointed out. “We’re trying to keep up with expenses, which can be difficult, but we were able to have enough growth to do that and still maintain a conservative budget that’s more than balanced.”

The budget includes $36,505,283 in the general budget and $47,743,187 in the utility department’s budget. The FY2023 budget was passed unanimously by the council.

In other business, the council approved the demolition of a dilapidated building in the city and approved the purchase of new waste carts for the sanitation department at the cost of $25,102.80.

The council also approved new “turn out gear” for the fire department at a cost of $18,030. The fire department also received a FEMA grant of $64,000 for the purchase of four automatic chess compression systems. The city will have to match just $8,588.75 in total to the $64,000 received from the grant.

The council also approved the purchase of new radios for the fire department and police department. The purchase agreement with SPC Communications in Opp will also see SPC Communications install two new radio towers in Pike County. The company already has three in Pike County, as well. Fire Chief Michael Stephens said that the city’s radio equipment was dated and the fire and police departments currently have trouble receiving any signal outside of town, which this new system will remedy.

The cost of the radio equipment will see $100,256.20 come from the fire department’s budget and $113,870.74 come from the police department’s budget.

The council’s meeting took an emotional turn as Reeves and council members offered condolences to the friends and family of former councilman Robert Jones, who passed away recently. Jones was also the former owner of Crowe’s Chicken in Troy and a beloved member of the community.

“Robert Jones is as fine a man as I’ve ever known,” Reeves emphasized. “He was a leader a long time before he was a public official. He was not only a community leader but (a leader) in his church and in business.

“He was a dear friend and he did so much for so many people. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his multitude of friends.”

Along with being a former Troy Councilman, Robert Jones is also the former owner of Crowe’s Chicken in Troy. (Messenger file photo)

Councilperson Stephanie Baker got emotional as she spoke of Jones.

“Robert and I came into the council at the same time,” Baker recalled. “I knew him as a child for many years and I grew up hearing the stories about him and my dad told me how smart he was.

“We had a special relationship and he will be very missed. I’m praying for his family and we want to thank them for sharing Robert with us for years and years. He taught us a lot not just about public service up here but what it means to be a public servant in the community long before he ever came up here.”

Councilperson Sharon McSwain-Holland expressed how great of a person and businessperson Jones was.

“I got a chance to know Mr. Robert in the community as a neighbor and loved to see him over the last few months riding threw the neighborhood with that bright beautiful smile he had for everyone,” McSwain-Holland said. “As a businessman he was very special, he always made you feel like he knew you. That made me admire him as a businessperson. He will truly be missed and anything that I can do for the family, please reach out.”

Councilman Greg Meeks echoed the feelings of his colleagues.

“Robert was a true Trojan, a good friend and a good Christian,” said Meeks. “I sat beside him here for four years but I knew him my whole life and he will truly be missed.”

Councilperson Wanda Moultry said while she will certainly miss him, she’s confident she’ll get to see Jones again.

“Me and Robert was like sister and brother,” Moultry said with a smile. “I know he knew God well and that makes me feel alright about it. I will miss him, for sure, but I know God has him.

“Robert did a lot of things that people don’t know about because he was that kind of person. He did everything from his heart. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to have him in my life and I’ll see him again because I know what I have to do to be able to see him again.”

Councilman Marcus Paramore offered his condolences to Jones’ family and closed the meeting, fighting back tears, with a simple message.

“Robert was a special man,” an emotional Paramore said to end the meeting.

The council next meets at Troy City Hall on Oct. 18 at 5 p.m.