Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I almost can’t believe how Paul Kirby worded the article from the monday night Caucus. There is a huge disparity in the tax structure that places a business-buster like burden on Commercial properties. We all know it, If you haven’t been subjected to this dialog by now, you must live in another county.

Less than 20% of the city of Kingston is non-homestead [commercial]. Yet they pay more than 50% of the taxes.

The Mayor made the proposal to shift the whole difference so that the tax burden is equal for all properties based on their assessment. We said “Where did you come from?” That wouldhave offered an instant 28% tax hike for residential.

It is much too easy to just say, we aren’t going to make any changes to the tax structure because the people most affected by the increase, are those who are registered to vote. We always look like we are killing business in order to keep our electorate happy.

Here’s the problem. We are elected to create the best City we can. We are placed with the task of making our neighborhoods safe, our seniors and youth secure, engaging our constituents so everyone has their voices heard, and keeping the expenses in check.

Once in a while, a choice is before us that is not easy. You place all your trust in the nine of us to make the right decisions. This is one of those times.

Get ready for a tax increase. There, I said it.

We shifted only 10% of what the Mayor asked for. The letter you received last spring was a mistake. Those numbers do not apply. What has to be realized is the Mayors letter used a 3% increase as the base for 2009. We expect it to be a bit higher. I expect that you’ve all expected a financial tsunami to hit us this year…well, it’s true.

This post has no pretty pictures in it, because this isn’t a pretty picture. With a 0% increase in the 2009 budget, residential taxes will start with a 6% increase. I bet you just screamed at your computer screen.

With Central Hudson and fuel oil costs like they are, you’re already looking at a tight wallet. This bitter pill will not make this any easier. I saw a packed house at the Council Chambers. Thank you for being civil.


Anonymous said...

You're right. This isnt a pretty. You guys do alot to keep that Mayor in check, and thisnios one of those times where you have to fix things in his wake.

The final verdict on this whole tax shift and the Tsunami as you call it, is that anyone who knows any of you personally, knows youre working for the taxpayer thanklessly.

I just dont know if this years tax increase will force me out of my home.

Anonymous said...

Business will not come to Kingston with this plan. People will be forced to leave. Vote for it tonight and every yes vote will be looking for another job come November 09.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

3:47, I agree that this whole thing sucks, but I know what the Mayor tried to do to us. The Council stopped what could have been the end of Kingston; Close the doors, roll up the sidewalks.

That man better go back to Albany and soon.

Anonymous said...

i am very saddened that you have given in again to Sottile and his false reality.

Anonymous said...

Correcting the tax shaft given to businesses is a start.

Anonymous said...

'Nemo dat quad non habet'. Latin for noone gives what they do not have. This is the problem with "shifting the tax burden"
Comments made by Ms. Vetere and others cut to the core of the issue stating that the mayor and council did not or could not anticipate our needs or act in a responsible framework to avoid this crisis.
I heard some very substantive criticism of city government last evening from some very reasonable people.
We all have to make sacrifices in this economy and I for one will be interested to see what the council is willing to do with the budget?
Cahill has already called for your heads, most of us would be happy with a slim fast diet. That includes cutting or deleting the budgets and salaries of non performing agencies and you folks know who they are...smitty

Anonymous said...

I dont envy you. You are the Alderman when this had to happen and people will connect their pain to you, Sottile, Cahill, Larkin and Bush.
Whoever is in office when the sht hits the fan is the one they usually send packing.

Anonymous said...

come 2009 when the dust settles and all the tax increases are in effect(city,state,school,county)the money spent on heat,food,etc.will pretty much dry some of us up.i am not looking for any sympathy or a hand out,i know when enough is enough.i just want to invite the governing body,just on the local level,to witness the last closing of the door to what was once called HOME

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg has been battening down the hatches for over a year. Patterson - for a few months.

We still haven't seen any leadership from the Mayor.

Is he the only governing authority without plans for massive cuts in spending and layoffs?

Why is he insulated from reality while we residents take it on the chin?

Anonymous said...

Economic developement should take a huge hit. Steve Finkle and company should all hit the road. He's been around over 10 years and has done absolutely nothing to bring business into the city.

Major league baseball introduced a luxury tax system a few years ago. Large market teams like the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox ect. would pay a luxury tax if thier payroll exceded a certain amount and give it to smaller market teams so they could afford to compete. Some teams did that, but most just put the extra money in thier pockets.

That's what the business owners in Kingston will do. Take the money they save on taxes and buy condos in Florida.

Peter Mack said...

Mike, here is an excerpt from Governor Patterson's speech back in July... (How soon we forget!)

"New York’s families are already making the tough choices. Every time you fill up a tank of gas or go to the supermarket you are learning to do more with less. New Yorker’s are prioritizing spending every day. The lesser crowding of the New York State Thruway is an indication that too many of you have postponed holidays or canceled your vacations.

Now your government is going to follow your lead. We are going to end the legislators’ vacations and bring them back to Albany to reprioritize the way we manage New York State’s finances. For too long we have done less with more and paid more for less. Now government will do what families have done when their incomes have fallen – we will cut spending. Government will learn to do more with less."

Something the Mayor, the common council, and city hall should take to heart.

Taxes are a part of being a citizen and property owner; however, it is fiscally irresponsible and reckless to...

Pay an outrageous amount of overtime to the head of DPW.

Give the Superintendent of schools a 16% pay raise in a single year based upon the school board's determination that he has done "an outstanding job"

Pay 150,000 dollars of taxpayer's money on an option to build a new high school on designated flood plain property.

This is the time for the City of Kingston government to tighten its belt like the rest of us, spend wisely, and cut the waste.

Anonymous said...

This was a huge mistake by the council. Business will not come to Kingston just because you lowered thier taxrate. You offer PILOT programs and they still won't come. Now its to late the seniors that put thier trust in you just lost thier homes.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame me I voted Cahill.

Mike Madsen said...

City employees, programs and maybe City Bus are all on the table.
Stop the notion that we arent going to DO something.
We get the Mayors budget very soon. The departments that arent bleeding when we get it, will be when we're done.

So stop with the idea that we arent worth our $4/hour salary.

Anonymous said...

At Stewart's this morning there sat a white truck # 69 left running while the 2 employees were inside getting their coffee (I am sure they are entitled to a break), but do something to help the taxpayers. Maybe the Mayor could start by giving up his SUV?

Anonymous said...

All city employees except the firemen. You idiots will believe you can't do anything because its contractual. Fact is you haven't even seen the contract.

Anonymous said...

Shift the tax burden to the people who can least afford it. Come next November we'll see how you can live on $8,000.00 less.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Madsen,if you would,please explain why you voted yes for the shift,i mean no disrespect,but i don't under stand how this is going to help the people of this city already having a hard time,did you base your yes vote by the amount of people in your ward that asked you to vote yes?THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

It costs tax payers $200,000.00 a year for the fire department to oversee the building department.

Anonymous said...

I have both owned a business & a home in Kingston & neither has been affordable...with Central Hudson asking for a 33+% increase also, this "shift" in tax ratios is just too much to bear...to have a 2nd job to pay taxes & insurance is INSANE! I simply cannot afford to pay the "new" taxes on top of an unfair, unwinnable, asesment is almost enough to move away`

Anonymous said...

Right on 6:13 why are firemen in the building dept. they should be out sving lives.

Anonymous said...

The Town of Ulster fire department is 100% volunteer and they have a wider area to cover and any major fire in Kingston is put out by Ulster Hose we should look to down size the KFD starting with the top heavy white shirts.Think of the tax saving it will create.

Anonymous said...

What jerks - first property owners pay way too much taxes in Kingston and get reduced services - no paving, street cleaning - then businesses get to pay double and still get nothing - then a BID(Business Improvement District) is proposed for Mid-Town and Uptown where the BID members get to pay another assessment for services they paid twice for already.