Sunday, November 09, 2008

TAX BURDEN GETTING SHIFTY


I was happy to see so many neighbors going out of their way to wave and smile at me as I drove to the local Stewarts for the Sunday Freeman and dog food. I was thinking, Hmm what’s going on?

So there it is, Paul Kirby’s story about the possibility of the Council rescinding the Tax Burden Shift back to where it started. I didn’t know when it would finally get out there, but we had been discussing this for over a week, deciding who would offer it on the floor of the chamber.

When the Mayor first alerted us that the Assessor Mary Ann Bahruth, had not submitted the final paperwork to the state, I immediately said “Gang, why don’t we rescind Resolution 170?” Bill Reynolds said “YES!” lets have AMD motion it on the floor”

So after several public encounters and emails galore, I offer my support to rescind Resolution 170, with the stipulation that we discuss it and implement the 10% shift for the 2010 budget when the economy bounces back. [we hope]

What I find interesting is the choice of words Paul uses when describing the shift. His quote in the paper: [DiBella said she will make a motion at Wednesday's Common Council meeting to rescind the approved shift and return the lion's share of the tax burden to commercial properties.] Paul injects the term LION’S SHARE in the paraphrased opinion. We merely moved the rate between the commercial and residential a few percentage points from just above 50% to just below. But I guess I’m guilty of this kind of embellishment on occasion here on the Blog so I should give him a pass.
Tom Hoffay is not in favor of the reverse action we are considering and Senor, who participated with the process from start to finish, offered the 10% shift in the first place pointing out, this is the basis of Rich Cahill’s whole election platform, shifting the tax burden 10% at a time to protect the homeowners. Then, he votes NO.

[go figure]

From the Freeman: Hoffay, whose ward includes the city's Uptown business district, said repealing the tax shift "would send a terrible message to our commercial property owners."

We were under the impression for months that the shift could not be rescinded once it was approved. We had no idea that the process was not completed yet.

The Mayor said: "This decision to fix our tax-collection system was not an easy one, and if it is put off, things will only get worse for homestead (residential) and non-homestead (commercial)" properties.

With the “Shift” out of the equation, residential property taxes start at an 8% increase before we cut anything.

*Transfer the City Bus to the County system UCAT with the stipulation that they keep all employees and amenities for the current users and routes.

*Evaluate the need for Kingston to have its own Human Rights office in City Hall. The County has a county wide office that handles some of our case already. We would insist on the placement of our personnel within that county office.

*Review all employee pay rates that reflect those who are working outside of their title to return to the status they were prior to the upgrade. Such grade shifts should be permitted by Council only.

*Rather than upgrade “part time” employees to “full time”, we should evaluate their positions and possibly eliminate them.

*Health Insurance costs and the carriers we deal with must be renegotiated. The Empire Plan is too expensive and the Unions need to come back to the table to discuss other options to reduce costs for the employees and the taxpayers.

*Move Insurance policies in Dual Municipal employee households from “Family Plan” to two “Single” plans. The “Single” plans are 5K+ and “Family” plans are 20K+. Why continue this ridiculous practice?

*Shift 200K from the “Fund Balance” to bring down the tax increase an additional 1.5%.

These are just some of the proposals we have been considering in committee. The Department heads will be filing in with detailed minimum requirements to run their operations. I expect no-one will leave those meetings happy.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

next year is election time. your votes are predicated on the fact that you know you are all going down the toilet. you have sucked up to the mayor and he is not running next year unfortunately. all of a sudden you realize that you have been hung out to dry by his lack of honor.aint it a shame.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you want stipulations not to lay off employees of the bus system and human rights, but you're awfully quick to lay off DPW employees.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

You have not stated my platform correctly at all, Mike.

I said the matter had to be done over a 15 to 20 year period. I never said 10% at a time.

Please redact that inaccuracy from your blog.

Mike Madsen said...

I remember very clearly the post on your BLOG when I stated we should only do 10% of what the Mayor is asking, then you titled one of your posts "Madsen Sees The Light" and you went on from there.

I didnt exactly enjoy your praise or ask for it, but I reflected on what you had offered on the stump as an alternative to what was offered.

And if you read between the lines, you'll see that Robert was using this as his reasoning as well.

Those of you who read the comments in these blogs will see I have given a little back to Rich. Is that ok?

Anonymous said...

CSEA offered percent of salary last year during negotations and the Mayor rejected it.

They had a cap that went up evey year with the consumer price index, and you didn't like that.

You took health insurance for retirees away then gave it back.

CSEA employees retire between 55 and 70, and are probably dead after 20 years.

The police and firemen retire after 20 years service at 45-50. Work another 15-20 years with free health insurance from the city. Then retire with another pension, leave CSEA alone and concentrate on the unions that are bankrupting the city.
Is it true that a policeman just returned to duty after being out on medical leave for 3 years collecting full pay because of unlimited sick time.

Anonymous said...

This is good news for residential taxpayers! With the finacial crisis, our investments out the window, price of gas and goods going through the roof and still no local jobs to speak of, the tax shift couldnt come at a worse time.

If it has to be next year, so be it, but give us a chance to deal with this insane reval ordeal we are suffering.

Smart move on the bunch of you. Nice to see the public hearing process has the outcome we all asked for. We asked you guys to step up and you did. Dont pay attention to the usual suspects on the Blogs. We all know what youre up against.

TRB

Anonymous said...

Sure take the easy way out, don't address any of the issues or make any tough decisions. Buch of cowards if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it took a meeting and a protest for the powers that be to see that this shift idea was wrong.Times are tough all over,but the residents of this city need the people that banged on our doors to do the right thing.This shift might have brought in business,but it might also have residents leaving,not a very good trade off.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

This is the entire post to which you are referring:

"The following appeared in the Daily Freeman today.

'Madsen also said any shift in the tax burden should be phased in over time, not done all at once - something that then-Alderman Richard Cahill Jr., R-Ward 6, suggested last year.'

I am glad to see that once again, I have been proven right. I am also glad that Mike has seen the light. Jimmy's plan is too harsh. It took 15 to 20 years to get into this mess. One cannot expect an overnight fix."

There is no mention of 10% at a time. My position was and is that it should be phased in over 15 to 20 years.

Mike Madsen said...

Since 98% of the readers check on the Blogs for the comments, your personal comment should be enough to clarify your point. Thank you Rich.

Anonymous said...

With Rich Cahill as a former Alderman and you as a current Alderman, I give you two credit.
No other elected officials dare to put their daily thoughts out there for the public like you guys.
Agree or disagree, I give you both sincere respect for giving us this forum.

Norman Rad said...

Sottile's comments about vetoing any legislation that involves touching the fund balance is hippocritical. In his own budget, as reported in the Daily Freeman, he plans to use part of the fund balance for salaries. So by his own admission he would need to veto his own budget.

Mike, just how would that work?

Anonymous said...

You trusted Sottile - really not a good move, huh?

Mike Madsen said...

Someone asked the question regarding the Mayor's and other Department head's take home vehicles. These and other budget issues are scheduled in future budget meetings as we go through the month of November.

Anonymous said...

Remember about the vehicles that Gorsline no longer has a second, personel, vehicle. His city jeep is used for all has personel business.