Message from Mayor Madden to the Troy Community on COVID-19
March 21, 2020
Dear friends and neighbors,
I’m reaching out to provide an update on the City of Troy’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As many are already aware, last Monday, March 16th, I declared a State of Emergency in Troy which closed City Hall to visitors and directed people to interface with City operations via the website or by telephone. These steps were taken to lessen the potential spread of the virus.
Since that time much has happened impacting the way we and private businesses conduct operations.
We have been directed by New York State to reduce our in-office workforce by 50%. We successfully accomplished that with some minor interruptions to the services. However, we’re planning for greater mandated reductions in the future.
In defining ‘essential services’ we have prioritized four key functions including: police and fire protection, water/sewer operations and solid waste pick up (garbage and recycling). In addition, the back office operations that enable us to deliver these services are also considered essential. We believe we have met the Governor’s mandate and will continue to allocate resources where needed.
At this time City Hall is effectively closed to the public. You may leave messages via voice mail, or email and staff will respond as we are able. Most payments can be made via the City website or the old fashioned way, by mail.
The County of Rensselaer and the City of Troy have not experienced the level of verified infection that some of our neighboring communities have. That, however, should not be taken as license to disregard the advice of medical professionals. It may simply be that we have not had as many people tested. It would be shortsighted to think that local rates of infection will not rise significantly in the days and weeks ahead. The precautions we are instructed to take are absolutely necessary to protect our vulnerable populations, including the elderly or those with existing health issues.
If you are uncertain of the precautions you should be taking the NYS Department of Health has some very good resources on their website. I would urge you to bookmark that site and refer back to it regularly for updates: www.ny.gov/coronavirus
Rumors and Misinformation
During this time when COVID19 is dominating the news, misinformation and rumors can spread online faster than a virus can. Always scrutinize information you read on Facebook and other social media sites. Before you share information you find, always check with verified sources like the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), or County Department of Health.
We’ve established a COVID-19 webpage to help communicate important information to Troy residents and families. Visit,www.troyny.gov/coronavirus to learn more about precautionary steps we’re taking to clean and sanitize city facilities to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in Troy.
As previously mentioned, City Hall and several other city-owned buildings are closed to the public. Wherever possible and appropriate, staff will be working from home to continue to deliver many of the services that you expect of us. A number of non-essential services, however, have been curtailed. I would ask patience as we adjust to this rapidly-evolving environment. Our staff is working under unprecedented levels of difficulty and like you, they have families and children, and may themselves be impacted by the virus. Some services may be unavailable and many will take longer than normal.
Again, we urge you to use online bill paying methods or pay by mail. Messages may be left for staff via voice mail and email, and we’ll work to reply when staff is available
Please see our website for more comprehensive information on our services. Given how quickly change is occurring that information may be evolving on a daily basis. We will do our best to keep it current, and encourage you to visit it daily: www.troyny.gov/coronavirus
This public health crisis illustrates just how interconnected we all are. I am confident that we will get through this, but how well we get through this, and how quickly we recover from this, depends on the actions of each and everyone one of us in the days and weeks ahead. There has never been a more important time to step up for your community.
First and foremost: take care of yourself. You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of your own health and well-being. Mind the precautions and recommendations from the State Department of Health and the CDC. And, be easy on yourself and others during this stressful period.
There are numerous ways you can help relieve the stress and pain of others in the community. Many of our non-profits are offering meals to those who need help. Volunteers are often needed as well as monetary donations. They include the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Area, Unity House, CEO, and Joseph’s House, to name a few. These organizations need your help more than ever right now. Reach out to them via their websites.
Of equal importance: the Red Cross is in desperate need of blood. If you’re healthy, I urge you to consider a blood donation now. It takes less than an hour and each donation can save up to three lives (it doesn’t hurt and they give you cookies when you are finished). Visit https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html to find a time and location convenient to you.
Support our local businesses, they’re hurting. Troy is known for its unique shops, restaurants and brew pubs. They are owned by our neighbors and provide great economic benefit to our city. Please continue to support them during this period of uncertainty. Many are offering special take-out or delivery options!
For more info on how you can support local businesses, please visit the City’s Economic Development Facebook page, or the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Troy Business Improvement District websites.
While much of everyone’s attention is focused on COVID-19, we also need to remember the importance of the 2020 Census. This once-a-decade count of every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories helps determine the distribution of billions in federal aid for local communities. By April 1, 2020, you will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, please respond either online, by phone, or by mail. Having a full and accurate count for the City of Troy and Rensselaer County is critical to ensure we receive our fair share of federal funding over the next decade.
A week ago we could not have foreseen where we would be today, and we can expect more changes going forward. I urge you to regularly check the sites linked above for updated information.
Stay positive, stay compassionate and we will get through this.
We are Troy, NY and we are in this TOGETHER.
Mayor, City of Troy