Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Lets just say it was warm in City Hall this evening, and not because of the lack of air conditioning.

The Mayor and most of the Council attended the scheduled meeting with the representative from GAR Associates and pressed Dave (pictured right) for more answers. Members of the Council, including myself, have been grumbling about the handling of the Reval and the tax shift from commercial to residential.

Everyone having a turn to vent, we finally got some feedback and a window of opportunity to make changes in the process.

We cannot make any percentage changes in assessments across the city in a blanket action as I suggested, but we can set the tax burden shift to a less painful, incremental transition. Those numbers were sent back as a homework assignment for next months meeting.

Robert Senor and I stepped up with a 20% shift model, that readers wont know what I’m talking about, but we have a starting point to a four or five year partial modification to the current tax burden we deal with today.

It’s true, the extreme disparity in the tax burden for commercial taxes is slowly killing commerce here in Kingston, but it took us over 20 years to get here, the Council is not about to remedy the situation with one big bitter pill. Those of us who are on a financial margin of survival wouldn’t make it.

There is another positive, we learned that the exemptions with caps of $30K and $60K have a history of climbing to double and triple those current levels, where the 100% base actually helps the benefits, rather than hindering.

In the end, the process will take years to smooth out and commercial property will still pay a higher rate than residential, but to a smaller extent. It is our acknowledgment that commercial properties use more municipal service than residential and have the additional burden noted as a “cost of doing business”.

In closing, I took a moment to apologize to Dave for being “heated” last time we had a Reval meeting. I did get in his face when the tax shift was revealed to us in May, and I should have kept my cool.


Anonymous said...

Now that was a room full of angry people.
All of you have your hands full with GAR and their handling of the reval. How any of you function in this atmosphere is beyond me. Me. I wouldnt have the stomach for it.

Ghost said...

I Like Your Blogging Style!

Ginger Snap said...

I sometimes think "I could run for Alderman" then I pause, read the paper and say "Don't think so!"

There is no happy medium on this issue. The shift in some way is inevitable for the residential, and the Commercial wont like the slow pace of reconciliation.

8:56 said it right, you have to have the stomach for this sort of public abuse. Did you do something wrong in a past life?

Anonymous said...

Why do the mayor alway's wear the same shirt. everytime i see that fat ass it is the same color shirt.

Anonymous said...

If Tim Russert grew up in Kingston instead of Buffalo, he would have ended up in prison.
His dad would have been unemployed since he had no juice with the politicians and his son would have quite school and joined a gang!


Anonymous said...

You mean Shaft Options - spending more and more - giving away taxpayer funded vehicles and raises while households must adjust their spending is abusive.

Mike Madsen said...

Hey 3:03, as one of the budget handlers, dont you think I would have input on vehicles and raises?

Feel free to criticize me and the rest of the Aldermen when you throw complaints into the blogosphere and Imagine that we also review every expenditure.

There is no fun in having taxpayers angry at any of us when we cut the budget every year.

The costs that continue to rise are as frustrating to us as they are you. All nine of us pay taxes too.