Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen: Fasten Your Seatbelts

At this week’s Common Council Economic & Finance Committee Meeting it was revealed that the City of Kingston will need to borrow money to get through the rest of the year. Apparently there is a shortage of about $2 million that will need to be borrowed in order to keep the City functioning through 2009. These are very difficult times ahead and like it or not, everyone will need to make sacrifices.

Also on the table was the Homestead/Non-Homestead rate once again. Homeowners could face a potential 12% rise even with a 0% budget increase just from the tax shift alone should the Council adopt the new rates discussed that would help balance the difference between commercial and personal properties. The potential decrease for the commercial sect would be about 2% which was reported at the meeting. We need our local business to keep our City vibrant, yet putting even more financial burden on our homeowners is going to hurt as well. Not an easy decision to make, yet doing nothing doesn’t solve the problem either.

Not For Nothing...I can’t figure how on the City’s website it boasts that Kingston has been designated as a “Tree City USA” yet not much is done to discourage the removal of our beautiful shade trees in our neighborhoods and historic districts. Take a ride up Peal Street & Wall Street and you will find smooth new concrete sidewalks with no trees, shrubs, or green anything along the north side of the street. We have stormwater issues in the uptown area, taking away trees & flower beds and adding concrete can add to the problem. Also removing indigenous bluestone sidewalks which are part of the area's charm is a loss as well. Kind of a Catch-22. Protect the street trees vs. safe even sidewalks. What is a homeowner/business owner to do? Restoration projects are costly and not many individuals would or could spend money like that, at least this owner did something.
The moral of this story is we need a plan. The last Comprehensive Plan was done in 1968. Without a compass you'll be lost.

Ok, with all that we need some happy time. Be sure to check out the Drum Boogie Festival in Kingston on Saturday….great entertainment!

All day Saturday 9/19 at Cornell Park off Wurts Street.


  1. Hi Andi....I did have questions for the Mayor about this project and this is his response. As you know the sidewalk at that corner is very narrow and it was in very bad condition. I'm glad the property owner took the initiative and repaired it. There have been a couple of others on Wall St. including Hudson Coffee Traders and the new restaurant down the street that have done the same.

    -Tom Hoffay

    I had the time today to follow up on your question about the new sidewalks installed on the corner of Pearl & Wall street. As you know the property owner invested over $35,000 of private money to make these improvements. As I stated before the city did provide some additional curbing that was deteriorating so that the contractor could complete the job properly. The installation of the new sidewalk and Handicapped ramps are a much needed improvement at that corner. As you know St. Joseph’s school is across the street. An informal agreement was made with the contactor in exchange for the curbing. The contractor committed to delivering to our old salt shed site the blue stone that could be saved during their removal. I believe this stone was delivered to our city site on Friday or possibly Saturday. The fact that the contactor delivered the stone for us was a great savings to us. I am not sure how the stone was delivered but I think the property owner, making the improvements, provided the truck for the contractor. I know the property owner paid for and replaced some blue stone a number of years ago. I again want to assure you the city did not perform this work as it was a private contractor. The bluestone inventory has been very successful and if you need any bluestone to fix a sidewalk let me know and we will provide it to the property owner. I wish more property owners would invest and make improvements to their property the way this property owner did. It beautifies our community and makes the sidewalks handicapped accessible without the city having the responsibility to perform the work. Let me know if you have any other concerns. Thanks

  2. You started good with the issue and go on to tress?
    How can anyone wonder why we are not tree friendly in the same article about losing our city and houses?
    stick to whats important and try to figure a solution, maybe like attracting a business here with tax breaks and scaring some of the burden off the streets with real business people and families instead of more low income housing!!
    I know they all need somewhere to be, but does Ulster county and Kingston have to have them all?
    Business = $$$$
    Social service = debt
    We are paying for way too many people to sit and watch us go to work everyday

  3. Roberto Rodriguez, Dept of Soc. Services Commissioner thinks that he can make more money by signing more people up for Food Stamps and other services because they are reimbursed by the Federal Govt for this money. This guy needs to go.

    Mike Hein loves to have Section 8 people in his apartments! It's much easier to have the government paying him the rent than people who have to find a job in a town where no one wants to bring their business.

    Mike Hein keeps Roberto Rodriguez as the Dept of Social Services because he thinks he's doing a good job.

    I disagree and think that they both need to go.

  4. I saw the new sidewalk,nice job,but not all property owners have the means,we are taxed to death,everything goes up but our incomes,this city is in big trouble.Uptown is a perfect example,you can give it a pretty facelift but store fronts will still be empty