Thursday, November 13, 2008


Well, last month, the City of Kingston residents were ready to crucify the Council members who voted to shift 2% of the total tax burden from Commercial to residential. Myself being one of them.

Under normal circumstances, the shift makes sense and will be studied during the FY2009 operating cycle. However, timing is everything.

The economy, diminished housing starts, evaporating sales tax revenue and a City wide Re-Val that shook the foundation of every home in Kingston, has pushed me and my colleagues to reconsider the shift for 2009.

Guess who’s mad now? That’s right…Commercial property owners. They thought the tide had turned and the lawmakers in this backwards little town were going to steer Kingston away from the proverbial iceberg. Maybe next year.

What we did was revert back to where the tax rate was last year with some minor modifications. Which give the council the starting base increase of 8% to work with as we chew on the 2009 budget.

This should come as a pleasant surprise to many, but it was a difficult vote to cast. The burden on commercial properties has been beating down the owners and sending business else-ware for decades.

We will have to address this issue for the 2010 budget. I hope everyone is ready for it. For one thing, I’m expecting an increase in Sales tax and an increase in Building permits within the city, so we will have this conversation next year, even with the election cycle looming over us. It’s just that we need a year to prepare you, the residential taxpayer, for what should have been easy for the Mayor. But no-one said he had the best communication skills.

So revel in your triumphant lobby efforts as we postpone the inevitable.


Anonymous said...

Great you finally did something that makes sense.

Next step is to put chief Salzman in his place. He should not be allowed to expand his empire at tax payer expense. Down size through attriton. Start with the building department when LeFevre retires next year, saving taxpayers well over $100,000.00.

Anonymous said...

sales tax increse?.you better get used to not getting that. as a retail shop owner in kingston,my sales have dropped by more than 40% so ya better hold on to your sled because your not at the bottom yet,there is still a long ride to the bottom befor we can all climb out.

Anonymous said...

It doesnt really matter what you and the other Council members do, you are what the public sees as government, and people dont like any of our government officials right now.
Its the wrong year to be a Town Board or Council person. Even the County and state reps are in the dog house. So understand where the anger in the street is coming from.

Anonymous said...

You cannot just shift the tax burden and walk away saying we did our job, you didn't. You just took the easy out. If you and the rest of the council don't start NOW to cut expenses, downsize departments, renegotiate union contracts, things will be even worse next year. The state is cutting back on aide to cities, towns and villages. Sales tax revenue is going to be way down. So for a change you guys need to think ahead and stop this managing by crises. One suggestion, you have the public's attention use that to get ideas from the general public on what they feel needs to be done to address some of these problems. Make sure however you get suggestions from the people actually paying taxes, not from the people living in the 50% of property in Kingston not paying taxes. Me as a tax payer really don't care what they have to say. As they will want to keep all the free services that they do not have to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you still need to cut fat out of some of these department budgets. Example, the fire department has it's own mechanic, who only works on FD equipment, thats 8 pieces of equipment (not counting cars). You already have a multibay garage at the DPW headquarters with lifts, equipment and trained mechanics. They maintain all of the DPW equipment and should be able to handle the additional work. So why not eliminate the FD mechanic and send the FD equipment over to the DPW garage for maintenance and repairs.

Anonymous said...

You guys did the right thing last night. The voters in Kingston have spoken, not the business people, many of whom don't live in the city anyway.
We get sales tax revenue from the county not the city, people will spend there money somewhere in Ulster County and we will still get our percetage.
5:58 is right. Let the firemen know that they don't run the city we the tax payers do. Find out how many firemen live in the city and you will know how many to cut.

Anonymous said...

Does the KFD contract actually say that they must have their own Mechanic? If not, then I agree with others...consolidate mechanic shops and dump the KFD mechanic.

Anonymous said...

Saying that the powers that be are rethinking the shift due to current economic times is a bunch of hogwash.This economy took a dive a long time ago,and not one of you stood up and said hey,we need to start looking at what fat to start trimming,ideas and suggestions should have been brought forth back in january.It took a meeting and a protest for the council to say oops,this might not be a good idea.I do wish to thank you mike for info you put out and being open for comments.THANK YOU C.C.

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact.....Over 60% of the "paid" firefighters live OUTSIDE the city of Kingston.

Another interesting fact....UNDER 30% of the City's DPW workers live outside the city limits.

Anonymous said...

Were is Jim Noble? I know he is Sottlie's partner and is with him on every move they make, but he should make his thoughts known because he is going to try to be Mayor next and then act like he is his own man, so let him tell us now how he feels about the tax shift,the reval,the fire department increase in calls,the DPW boss self appointed overtime and the list can go on for ever.

Anonymous said...

Cahill is right. You guys are just trying to save your political asses.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of Cahill's budget proposals?

Mike Madsen said...

Richie has submitted a packet with a long list of cuts and personnel adjustments. Pres Noble has it and will distribute or present it at one of our next budget meetings.

Richie told me some of the points verbally the other night and some have potential, some we discovered already and some arent touchable.

Even here in the comment section of this post, some new ideas are coming up and the Aldermen have been reading.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Citigroup is cutting 53,000 jobs over the coming quarters. So what is wrong with cutting here in Kingston to bring this budget down?