Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So, you’ve all been following the eventual exodus of Empire/Colony Liquors from Kingston to Greene County. What a loss for our Kingston workforce and our tax base.

Empire Merchants North announced plans Monday to consolidate its operations to the dismay of our economic development teams in both Kingston and the county. You know this is a blow to all the families whose bread-winner is employed here.

According to our City Hall personnel, they are moving to a shovel ready Industrial Park in Coxsackie where they can consolidate their two distribution centers into one. I’m guessing no amount of negotiating could have pressed them to stay since the only thing that matters to most companies is the profit margin and not the welfare of the community.

Kingston will be losing over 200 jobs because of this corporate move. The option to commute is open to most of the current employees, but who expects that all of the local staff can do that?

On one side, I know that we shouldn’t expect these bigger companies to play the role of a not-for-profit employment center, but there has to be an incentive to stay on our part. This brings me to the tax burden transfer issue.

As we all know, we have a dual tax system here in the City of Kingston. It has been long overdue for a serious course correction for the overburdened commercial properties that struggle to make a profit. As it sits now, we, the Common Council, are poised to shift a small portion of the disparity away from commercial properties as an incentive to stem the exodus of jobs from the City limits.

In the case of Empire Liquors, it wouldn’t have had any difference. They needed to consolidate their distribution efforts, but for small business in the City of Kingston, this offers a sense of acknowledgement by the administration that business is struggling locally and we are finally prepared to do something about it.

But let me warn you here and now…no amount of magic is going to make this year’s tax increase pleasant. Not for residential or commercial property owners. It’s lookin pretty ugly out there.


Anonymous said...

The unions told you buttheads this months before it happened

Anonymous said...

Im sure you guys will do your best, but it shouldnt have come to this in the first place. If I know there was no other choice to keep the city functioning, i can deal with that, but when salaries take a piece if the additional funds, that when i have a proble with it.

Keep it under 10%

Anonymous said...

Taxes throughout Greene County are significantly less than Ulster, but not for long.
The fact that this type of business has to be physically in the area it serves is the only reason they arent moving to China.

Anonymous said...

lets also not forget about the retail busisness.there has to be a fair and equitable amout of retail busisness too.having too many resturants and nonsales tax paying busisness doesnt help local economy.As a local busisness owner in retail i offen get forgotten when it comes to critical decisions affecting my busisness.but then again why would Kingston want me to stay here,as long as mariner's harbour is up and running there is no need for my services.conoly left i may consider it too

Joe Bubel said...

I can understand the need for the tax restructuring, and it is important to keep businesses in Kingston. My beef is, Sottile was less than truthful before the election. Sottile then wanted to shift the burden in one full sweep. And now, the council supports a plan to shift the burden in smaller ammounts. Who's idea was that originally? Who was criticized by Sottile at the debate for putting this idea out there? Please remind me.

Mike Madsen said...

Joe, I know to whom you refer. It was an issue during the Mayoral campaign.
However, while Sottile was making his points during the campaign, the Aldermen thought we would be part of the discussion.

Aldermen had no idea that the letters that went out to the taxpayers included the full burden shift. Not until a meeting with GAR associates a few days later.

I almost grabbed the guy's thoat from across the table. Its the one point Rich made that ended up being the council's choice of action.

Anonymous said...

Greene County has the act together, plain and simple.

This loss is somewhat about turf control. The City and County did not present one big package.

What Kingston lost was construction jobs too, sales tax on the construction and more. This is not about just 200 jobs but $800k in lost revenue to the City of Kingston coffers in one project in terms of taxes.

Anonymous said...

With the Kingston paid Fire fighters making about $100,000.00 per man the cuts have to start here. There are 63 total fire fighters including officers and staff. They are paid over 3 million regular pay. Longevity $100,000.00, Overtime $130,000, Supplemental time (what the hell is that) $180,000.00, Kelly days (what the hell are they).

The City contributes to 2 pention systems for them. It is time for them to take the cuts.

Close the central Fire station and split the extra man power between uptown and downtown fire stations. This will save on overtime and the rest of the free perks they get with thier manning clause.

Anonymous said...

For the real story go to www.laborreport.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Steve Finkle and co. should move to green county.

Anonymous said...

Hey 3:44 are you sure those numbers are right? Sounds like an awful lot of money. The cuts should start there.

Anonymous said...

It's great to have the security of a paid fire department, but Town of Ulster and the rest of Ulster County do it we all volunteers. At $100,000.00 apiece those 63 men and women should give something up for the tax payers.

Anonymous said...

these are the same people running in when we are all running out,a lot of waste can be trimmed in other areas,leave this one alone

Anonymous said...

Madsen Skews like Blaber - hides comments about the Aaron gift from Hoffay