Saturday, November 07, 2009


A great time was had by all. Seriously, this is what the civic process is all about.
This past Thursday, the Common Council provided a public forum to hear the opinions of those who wish to address the Mayor's 2010 proposed budget. And speak they did!

With attendance exceeding 300, the room was filled with mostly employees of the city with a few civilians mixed in, but all spoke with a sense of unity when each of the 40+ took their turn at the podium.

The theme: Urging the Council to reject the Mayor's budget and return most of the jobs that have, what is considered vital significance to the quality of life, be restored to the budget.
The personnel and programs that were highlighted, would increase the tax burden for every property owner in the city, but when asked if anyone wanted their taxes to go up, only Mary Ann Parker raised her hand, knowing full well that safety comes first and at a price.

The proposed budget, with an increase of 9.6%, has 30+ fewer employees than 2009. As scary as that sounds, the select few who ha
ve looked deeper into these numbers, also know that the average residential property diminished in assessment 8% for the coming year. Puting those factors together, the average home will increase from 1% to 4% in the dollar amount you shell out in taxes.

Did you get that from the local paper? The cost per household vs. tax rate issue had been explained in detail to the Freeman, but hey...that's less scary than just blasting 10% all over the front page. At least the Record got it right.

Want a homework assignment? Look at your City Taxes, increase it say 3%. Now imagine the amount you'd be willing to "take on" to save Police officers and DPW services as well as our Rec Department. Mary Ann Parker may be the only one who sees the bigger picture here.

Oh, don't get me wrong, this council will find additional cuts in this budget. We always do. But the need to negotiate with the Union leadership in all it's forms is far from over.

I will close by saying how truly impressed I am with the turnout for this year's budget hearing. The speeches were eloquent and from the heart. Some even made suggestive offerings, but there's still time and we have many crucial meetings ahead. Review the budget, do your research and know what's legal, mandated and contracted when offering suggestions. The community is a wealth of ideas that should be tapped during these tough times. The Council looks forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

I just did the math Mike. My taxes with this 10% hike would increase $50.00 a year. I would gladly pay 3 times that, less than $0.50 a day to keep all City employees employed.

Will that work?

Anonymous said...

11:42 Is that all the 10% increase is? I have heard that befor but couldn't belive it. I'll call my bank on Monday and if its true, then go ahead raise them a little bit more. If we can keep everyone employed and services remain the same.

The firemen already have said they will forego there raise this year. Maybe some money out of the fund balance, borrow a little, and a little higher taxes doesn't seem that bad.

Does anyone know how much a 1% tax increase generates. What is that Mike?

Anonymous said...

I am hoping that if personnal have to go it will be done on a performance basis and not just seniority. As in every business there are employees that feel "entitled" even though they just might be the deadwood in the office;never contributing anything up and above the job description. This can contribute to hard feelings in the office and discourage the remaining employees to give it their best. Since we need to keep the best and the brightest to do the work of many, if personnel are let go in this budget crisis ,the council and the Mayor need to look at job performances of all employees before deciding who gets cut. But if I had my druthers I would opt to keep the personnel if it only means an increase of small dollar proportion. And NEVER cut police officers in a major economic down turn.Crime has been known to rise ,as it has already in this city, when there are hard times. And when the criminal element take over it affects all citizens especially the homeowner who most likely would not be able to sell their homes at true value if they felt the need to "escape" and escaping would definitely not help the bottom line.
I believe most of the big salaries are at the top of the chain and they need to be scrutinized first.In the private sector people are taking pay cuts just to keep the job and I think that mindset should be present in the council's decision making process.
One last thing, can you explain the longevity bonus of $1000.00 that is listed along side of certain personnel at city hall and other depts? I looked at the 225 page budget report and that is a questionable expense in this day and age. You wanted questions and suggestions so please respond.Be careful what you ask for....You are the alderman up to the date of 12/31 !!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

Like I said it's a whopping 34.00 a year based on my reduced (oh yeah it went down) assessment.

Checked with my bank.. and it's all in order. Even if the REAL tax increase was 10% it was 90.00.. uh, 90.00 per year to not have cutbacks on essential services such as police, fire, DPW?? I will take it..

We still have the problem of the 400K+ of "consultants to whomever" and "assistants to the assistant secretary of the assessor.." THAT we can ALL do without...

If you cut the fat, and not the meat of this city you will have a VERY healthy ANIMAL..

Monday my check goes to the bank for 150.00 for my escrow, to cover and then some to keep payments a bit lower than they are now.


Anonymous said...

Stop all the consulting fees. If our department heads can't do their job then get rid of them.

They use to hide money in unfilled positions. Now they do it with consulting fees.

Raise taxes a little bit more, get rid of the consulting fees, take some of the fund balance, and borrow the rest. NO CUT IN SERVICES.

Anonymous said...

Cut the budget!
Cut the serivces!
and Cut the c**p!
All of us are exspected to do more with less these days and at their current salaries, so should the city and county and school system as well as the politicians.
Please join the rest of us peasants,serfs,,taxpayers, and working stiffs.

Shrek from the swamp...

Anonymous said...

Full time dog catcher, deputy registar. Go back to the part time account Clerk in the civil service office. I am sure many full time positions can be cut back ot part time. They did it in the clerks office why not the rest of the offices in City Hall. DPW NEVER HAD 2 FULL TIME ADMINISTATIVE ASSISTANTS AND ACCOUNT CLERK. WHY NOW.

I agree with 5:57 cut the fat and leave the meat alone.

Anonymous said...

people did you know the DPW works pay taxes too. if the get layoff. some of them will lose their body think about that. they're tax payer too Mr.Alderman.

Anonymous said...

At one time the Kingston Rec Dept was the ENVY of the region--providing safe, fun, affordable means for young people to engage in sports and often by so doing stay out of trouble--mostly in the summer, ie, the off time from school. Today it is a disaster as it is relative to those times and last summer we saw stuff like apartment doors egged by...well it wasn't by Senior Citizens and we can sigh a sigh of relief politically for that fact can we not...aha....
While this police chief goes on the radio and seems to constantly whine about the socioeconomics of the area...which is surely a factor but as usual no supports to alleviate any such factors are ever offered or focused solutions are ever offered...only constant laments....
At no time DPW was the most popular department but there is no arguing it can't be done without. The one employee who seemed the most determined to press forward to improve the dept. and who was harrassed for her efforts was fired by the Mayor--who by the way sports a photo of Bill Clinton in his office---Bill Clinton being it seems I recall, regardless of what one thinks of his Impeachment and Trial, certainly an unsuitable--or shall we say "less than ideal" role model in terms of upholding the high standards against sexual harrassment--which represents laws passed by DEMOCRATS yet not exactly followed to the letter at least in Arkansas nor it seems in D.C. by Mr. Clinton--- and now he wants to take out his anger by firing more employees, when ice remained on the streets longer than in modern history last winter after cuts were already made there, without anyone doing any proper "logical, methodical, and analytical study toward determining HOW to reform DPW beyond the usual political backlash and acting out we see as what this Mayor wants everyone to swallow as a suitable substitute for doing such hard work in doing real reform if any is to be done in a serious manner beyond merely waging a war.....not exactly being "the salt of the earth" as it were last winter....we have no logic, no rationale, no reason, and no real study of such...just endless wars and back and forths....
The police dept. may be able to take one or two position cuts but by no means nine--- that's absurd and insane, and what we find as a result is this Mayor condemning police going around collecting signatures on petitions to combat this outrage that he proposed. The citiens themselves, knowing how imperfect the police are, resent this nonsense for crying out loud!! Who should be intimidated by city police? The citizenry most certainly SHOULD be scared of this Mayor however and his proclivity to take too much too personally!!
This is obviously not actual leadership but governance by decree and fiat a la the emotion and mood of the moment--not to mention skirting the very BASIS the city government is supposed to operate, ie, to wit Charter 110-2 and 110-4, first by this Mayor and then by the council in "doing the dipsy-doodle" on his latest illegal hire against Charter 110-2 of Mr. Schupp. How would the Dems enjoy it if the Revolutionary War Reenactors went to oust the County Executive at gunpoint in using their "historically correct blunderbusses" as a means to express a political counterpoint to such lawlessness--ie, "lawlessness by definition of the term"??! Would it be ok then if Mario Catalano gave such an order? Hanh!! That's another good role model for young people who study among other things in school, "government":that this government has no respect for the rule of its own law!!
5:57 has the most intelligent comment on here. The "budget crisis" is easily solved and mostly manufactured!! Stop the nonsense and do what is right already--despite what this steamrolling Mayor prefers!!

Anonymous said...

"The council 'wants' to hear from us" huh.
No it doesn't. Only YOU Mr. Mike are eager to hear from us;the remainder of the council wants to only listen to its own drummer... and the angry leader of this drumming band....which is the real problem here.
You are fortunate to be graduating from this Nursery School up to Kindergarten Uptown. Good luck and please please please---when you go to THOSE meetings---remember to wear a SMOCK for finger-pointing, er, finger painting class!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the finance committee met on the budget yet, it's Nov 9 and the alderman have had the budget since Oct 15th whats going on here? Only 3 meetings have been scheduled to discuss the budget. Or is the open meetings law being violated by the alderman by meeting in someone's home?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike- As per my brief tenure as an Alderman, my advice is again to make the city into a business that has to establish a budget early in the year and work towards keeping the numbers in place.

No one want to see a reduction in services, nor any layoffs. The one area that can and should be eliminated are the many consultants that appear to achieve some of the taxpayer dollars. As one who has enjoyed a long career in finance, I find it difficult to believe that the city budget is still put together in the final quarter of the year. All other corporations must establish the budget early and work the year utilizing same.

I understand that the law allows the Mayor to put the budget together for the October meeting, review it during November and vote it into legaleze in December. I am not requesting a change in the law, but would again suggest that the numbers be reflected in the daily spending so that when the new budget is finalized it is a non issue.
just my three peso's
take care
Shelly Z

Anonymous said...

Well of course Mr. Zimbler makes an excellent point...that couldn't possibly be done perfectly as attrition, retirement, hiring, and so forth skew the numbers during the year, but the point about trying to stick to your own numbers throughout the year is a good one....most businesses run on a quarterly evaluaton of what is budgeted versus what is actually used per quarter...then reviewed at the end of the fiscal year to try to determine what the budget for the following year's numbers should be. And while no government entity is Chase Manhattan, some overall principle here of minding the store more consistently does seem fitting.
What takes over then is someone getting upset over their own political skin--for either valid or not-so-valid reasons--- and making crazy recommendations during the budget process. The public comes back screaming, and the process remains in chaos. An actual leader would calmly, during the year, define all these issues and then submit a budget that reflects something that makes sense based on whatever reality that remains. That's never done. It's called "more politics than you need" and it's why Kingston remains composed of too much nonsense DUE PURELY to politics.
As for the public "keeping in mind what is mandated", etc, the public is NEVER informed either by its local media or its political leaders for the most part about those issues, so then HOW could the public POSSIBLY know these things to KEEP such IN MIND? Everyone in KINGSTON knows these items are treated as deep dark secrets until headlines appear. That's how Kingston is run, and any assertion to the contrary is of course nonsense. Oh yeah and the city posts its budget once on its website and then vwoooosh it's gone the rest of the year. Hanh!! Here today---gone tomorrow, outta sight---outta mind!!

Anonymous said...

Mike, et al,

I haven't had time to read all of the above, but I wanted to let you know (in case you didn't) that there is more information on the public hearing, along with a number of photos up on my blog at

Thanks for all you do,


Anonymous said...

Hey 7:45,

You made some valid points but you lost me at the end. The city budget has been posted on the web for the last two years. Do you really need someone to hold your hand and help you click your mouse while you're surfing the web?

Anonymous said...

Mike saw you picking up trash yesterday. How was it? Did you get the job done? I see you were helping out the other 2 laborers. How about a story.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1:20, you missed my point, which was they don't leave it up very long. Get a clue--or get better spin(I think you're an elected official , by the way, because you sound like one constantly defending this nonsense).
Now hear this: $69,000 for telephone service for the city. Bingo inspectors...and a nice healthy budget for the midtown neighborhood center while the youth have nothing to do over the summer. Anyone see there are misplaced priorities here?
DPW requested 452,824 for snow and ice removal this winter. The Mayor proposes 265, 286 for that function. Sounds a little short for the need perhaps? Just making an observation...
All the salaries and benefits bloat the budget. If you can cut enough of those, there's no crisis.
I hope this council wakes up and makes some needed changes.

Anonymous said...

Hey 3:22,

The current budget has been posted on the city's web site all year long!! Just because you're incapable of finding it doesn't mean it's not there!!!

Here's a suggestion for you; have someone help you use your computer, and go to the city's web site. When you find the web site select city government from the list of choices on the left side of the screen (you may also need help with that part). Then click on agencies then click on comptroller's office follow the link to budgets and reports. The budget and other reports are all there for you. Hopefully, someone can help you read this material.

BTW...The seniors have lost so much already, why do you want to take their bingo away? Because, as I'm sure you're aware without a city bingo inspector the State of New York will not allow these lovely people to play bingo. Of course I'm sure you're also aware of the fact that the bingo inspector certifies that the games are played fairly so our wonderful seniors aren't ripped off by a crooked game operator.

Leave the seniors alone, and good luck with your quest to find the budget on-line.

Geez... I feel like I just sent Christopher Columbus off to find the New-World!!

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:51:
Of course you now betrayed the fact you are an elected official because no "relatively normal person would kowtow to Seniors otherwise...and by the way, why would you just assume that only Seniors attend bingo?? Have you attended enough Bingo games to determine this? And what have "the Seniors lost" already? A Dinner or something?? Let me say to that one phrase the Seniors taught to me long ago: "Come off it!!"
I also hope you do something for your anger. I hear MHA has an anger management group. You may not have time to get there but maybe they could offer you a class online, because obviously you have a little "pull" around here...

Anonymous said...

Wow Mr. Mayor I guess cat got your tongue already since your knee- jerk comebacks on these blogs have fallen off a bit in frequency--preparing to steamroll the council again to get your way I suppose which takes a lot of time and energy(?!)...well we know you'll come up with more junk to throw at folks at some point because you seem to have to defend your indefensible self at and AD INFINITUM and AD NAUSEUM to some degree...
Wow I just feel like I sent Soupy Sales off to find his seriously soft side in his life--"sans pies in the face"!!!! May he "Requiescet En Pace......"

Sincerely,NonSponsor, "The Nina"(Postupack),"The Pinta"(Al Spada), and the "Santa Maria"(Mike happens to be his first name)."
[Hope everyone had a Happy Columbus Day!!!]

Anonymous said...

Well I hope it is VERY apparent now to all readers that Mayor Sottile just posted a few times on here and has betrayed his generally accusatory tone toward people and his incessant desire to defend himself at all costs even when on certain things he becomes so unpopular it seems he could be run out of town on a rail in the heat of the moment...
Readers might also want to know that he has attacked me personally on another blog and done so in betraying his propensity to violate Federal Antidiscrimation laws...which I know is a harsh charge but he posted those items knowing full well what he was doing in this respect, although I am most certain that he failed to consult an attorney prior to doing so...
Some folks have gone so far as to recently posit that the Mayor of Kingston could use a therapist or a shrink. The above items should speak something to such proposals---and they are both solid facts my friends and as solid as anyone can possibly get!!!