Sunday, November 8, 2009

Public Hearing on Mayor Sottiles 2010 Budget Recommendations... Photos... More Pending...

[Kingston City Hall; Photo by NS]

The following (This is being updated and revised as I go) are some photos from the Common Council Public Hearing on the Mayors proposed 2010 Budget, a couple of photos (pertinent, I think) from a Kingston Uptown Residents meeting (Oct. 2009; Scroll Down for More Information...) and a couple of stock photos. I am covering this (there are also comments and quotes posted) event piecemeal, as I am able - as it is a huge undertaking. I have to be sure (As sure as possible; please correct me if you spot errors!) to have the spelling of names (I will be referring to my notes and otherwise hope to add to this...) and such correct.

[Chambers I (Huge - Approximately 350 People - Turnout!); Photo by NS]

This was a huge turnout for the citizens in the City of Kingston. All of the people that spoke (quoted from 28 to 40+) were opposed in some manner to the Mayors proposed 2010 budget and/or personnel cuts, which includes the projected layoff of 28 city workers, including 6 police officers, three police dispatchers, 15 positions in the Department of Public Works, three positions in the Parks and Recreation Department, one employee at City Hall --- and still involves tax increases for city residents (home-owners). [Two other positions are projected to remain unfilled and two or more full-time positions are projected to become part-time positions.]

[Chambers II (Huge Turnout!); Photo by NS]


[Chart #2 from a Kingston Uptown Residents Alliance (KURA) Meeting (Oct. 2009); Photo by NS]

[Chart #3 from a Kingston Uptown Residents Alliance (KURA) Meeting (Oct. 2009); Photo by NS]


[Chambers III Public Hearing (Huge Turnout!); Photo by NS]

[City Council President and Alderman-at-Large James Noble Jr.; Photo by NS]

[Wayne Maish (Sorry for the initial mis-spell), President of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Union; Photo by NS]

Stated that "3,493" individuals had signed the petition against police department layoffs "as of last night."

[Alderman Hoffay, Alderman Landi and Alderman Whitlock (Alderman DiBella was not present / excused); Photo by NS]

[K.V. (Unclear re. full name); Photo by NS]

You "can't play politics with this 'double taxation' issue"...

We need "one tax" (versus two)...

The "perks have to go"...

This is "not a year to give raises"

The "first area to eliminate [due to the fact that jobs and businesses have been lost versus (to any significant degree) created] is Economic Development..."

[Alderman Bob Senor; Photo by NS]

[Speaker at Public Hearing; Photo by NS]

[Alderman Bill Reynolds; Photo by NS]

[Speaker at Public Hearing; ; Photo by NS]

[Alderman Ron Polacco; Photo by NS]

[Speaker at Public Hearing; Photo by NS]

[Alderman Mike Madsen [Recently Elected (initial number counts) to the UC Legislature, District 6 - 2010 (Although the final numbers, including absentee ballots don't appear to be in yet)); Photo by NS]

[Speaker at Public Hearing; Photo by NS]

[Jeanne Edwards; Photo by NS]

"A house divided falls."

"This is a Third World Ward." [Speaking of Ward 4]

Be "inventive."

Stop "duplicating services."

"Stop perks."

"Why aren't 'you' [or 'we'?] enforcing the codes in the charter?"

[Speaker at Public Hearing; Photo by NS]

This gentleman (I am not clear on his name...) spoke passionately about the "United States Constitution" - our Civil Rights - the need to "hire local" - and the need to "shop local."

He (Fill in the blanks anyone?] also spoke about the fact (as he presented it) that 45% of the "buildings in town are tax exempt..."

And stated (to this effect) that when services are "pulled" and/or "cut" - property taxes should go down - not up.

[MaryAnne Parker, former Kingston City Alderman; Photo by NS]

"Public safety [is] paramount."

This is a "quality of life issue."

The City of Kingston could save money through having "not-for-profits pay [for] garbage pickup..."

Recommended that someone check into the not-for-profits - and stated that doing so was "a real eye-opener" for her.

Suggested that someone ask the Attorney General why so much of the "burden" (for the needy, Social Services, etc.) falls "on Ulster County"...

Stated that we are "bleeding."

[Jean Jacobs; Photo by NS]

We "shouldn't have to worry about 'being' [or 'feeling'?] safe..."

We [speaking for all and/or the Council?] need to "think outside the box."

We [speaking for all and/or the Council?] need to be "business managers."

[Speaker at Public Hearing (Adrianne ______; Police Officer); Photo by NS]

"I feel safer in South Jamaica sometimes than in certain areas of this city."

"Sailers Cove, what happened to it?"

"The uptown condos, I don't know what happened to that idea.."

Adrianne (sp?) gave a very passionate presentation on behalf of retaining police officers.

She stated (to this effect) that she did not want to see the City of Kingston go down the tubes like the City of Poughkeepsie had (It reputedly took two decades for the City of Poughkeepsie to recover.) during the late 1970s.

[Andi Turco-Levin (Recently (according to initial numbers) Elected to the City Council (the final numbers, including absentee ballots, don't appear to be in yet) - as of 2010]; Photo by NS]

[Were the other new-elects (early numbers, prior to absentee ballots, etc.) present? Does anyone know?]

["Superman" (I had to sneak in a Halloween photo here!); Photo by NS]

[NS (Speaker); Stock Photo (by BS)]

I presented a handout (passed on to Common Council President James Noble, who stated that he would make copies for the Council and/or the Mayor) on "Maslov's Heirarchy of Needs" (see source info. below) - and noted that safety needs were 2nd up (Vital!) from the bottom of the needs pyramid. I also mentioned Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) as an issue that I deal with - and as an issue that should be looked into on a wider scale.

I also suggested that someone should take a good look at the not-for-profit sector... as some of these (after going over records at City Hall [the Assessors Office] on a previous date) do not "appear" to be legit and/or necessary (I suggested that others review these records, and discovered that former Kingston City Alderman, MaryAnne Parker had apparently done so...). [Any property off the tax roles is being supported by those (homeowners; business owners...) on the tax rolls...]

I also stated that I thought that the Mayor should be present at Council Meetings and Public Hearings - that a change in policy (whether it be this Mayor or another) was in order in this regard... It seems unfair (to me) that the City Council Members have to all "take the heat" when it was the Mayor that proposed the 2010 budget. In general, I think having the Mayor present would be a good policy - and he certainly makes more money than the Council members do.


Sometimes quick news isn't comprehensive news - so please stay tuned! Commentary and/or my own thoughts will be added as I am able to do so.

Please feel free to post your thoughts and/or ideas (appropriately) [How come no one does? Seriously?] here.



Select Notes and quotes (Not all individuals are depicted in the photos above) from the Public Hearing. Please note that some photos did not turn out well; that I was not able to catch everyones correctly spelled name and/or title / position (my hearing is not the greatest); that the quotes might not be 100% accurate, but definitely capture the gist of what was said...; and that I'd be happy if folks associated with any random (at this point) quotes (or any of the others for that matter) would contact me.

1. Frank Dart, UC Legislature, District 6, stated, "We do not want another Newburgh."

2. Tom Tiano stated (to this effect...) that the Fire Department attempted to resolve issues with the Mayor and that this did not (specifics mentioned, including some sort of lawsuit implemented by the Mayor...) work out.

Mr. Tiano also stated that "Layoffs and job cuts are not the answer" - and asked the Council to "Find a way to keep everybody working."

Quote: "Cuts = everyone loses."

3. John Perry spoke on behalf of the Recreation Department.

Quote: "Taking it away would be a sin..."

Quote: "I know TR Gallo would not let that [or 'this'] happen."

4. Celelia Madden stated that her store had been "robbed two [or three?] times" and that she "lost [her] sense of security." She stated that the police responded promptly / were "vital" - and that the offender [s?] were apprehended.

Quote / Gist: "Try to find the money in different places."

5. Mike Gill spoke (in effect) about the "waste" involved in various projects (i.e., "the Kirkland Hotel") - addressed the number ["70" or more] of sex offenders in the City - and stated (to this effect) that the hearing "should have been held before the elections."

6. Chuck Jackson spoke about his concern for the Recreation Department - Recreation centers - community youth - and the elderly --- and referred to Kingston as a "direct pipeline" for drugs from NYC, etc.

Quote: "Without recreation you have probation."

7. The Undersheriff of Ulster County referred to "Urgent" as "the biggest bang" for "your buck." He also stated that he was willing to work with the Council.

8. Dennis Williams (I hope I have the name right?) asked why we "hire the people we do if they need consultants?" - and stated that his "'pet peeve' was "$6,500 for a Bingo Inspector."

9. Leonard Walker (a former KC Alderman) stated that the "DPW [was] doing [an] excellent job" - that the "Crips and Bloods and Latin Kings don't take holidays" - and that he didn't see why the City of Kingston had to pay police to serve as crossing guards for certain church and/or religious services... Quote: "Hit the button - let it turn red - pray - and cross the street."

10. Reverend James Childs, Pointe of Praise, stated (to this effect) that he had prayed for all the members of the Council - that he recognized that their position was difficult - and that he was against the closing any of the Recreation centers.

11. Another Pastor (I'm not clear on the name or affiliation) stated that we (and/or the Council) "must seek the wisdom of the lord..." This pastor was also against closing any of the Recreation centers.

12. Howard Ball, a Labor Relations Specialist with the CSEA (I hope I have the name right?) stated: "If you cut positions from the Police Department, you're going to need more cops not less."

He also stated (to this effect) that the City couldn't even account for the location of (who was in possession of...) its vehicles and cell phones.

13. Mr. Winter (I hope I have the name right?) stated that he was concerned about "public safety" - and asked the council [when it came to decision making] "to put our youth first."

Miscellaneous (I could not cover everyone's comments and/or always catch the associated names):

a. Why not "cut a vacation day" for everyone versus cutting positions?

b. We "must continue to invest in our children."

c. "Education [is] the only way out."

d. "Pay now [in terms of retaining some and/or all of the positions] or pay later."

e. Another individual spoke on the number of sex offenders in
the City of Kingston...

f. A few people (including myself) thanked the Fire Department, Police and/or EMTs for emergency life-saving incidents that they had personally experienced or witnessed.

g. Someone voiced concern about the "Miscellaneous" [in the proposed 2010 budget] item line.

h. Someone suggested pay cuts for Common Council members, the Mayor and all of the Department heads --- and recommended that the City stop paying for [this came up a couple of times...] "consultants."

i. Someone noted that the crime rate is "up" already, and that this is "not a time to cut police..."

j. Someone stated that "these are necessary services."

k. A County Police representative (sorry, I missed the name...) stated that the County is "already strapped" and can not "pick up the slack."

l. I believe it was the President of the CSEA Local 856 (sorry, I missed the name..) that stated (to this effect / not a direct quote) : "When there is no food for children - heat for families - [or] gifts for Christmas - it's personal."


Sources and Other Links regarding this topic:

City of Kingston Common Council Public Hearing; Kingston City Hall; November 5th, 2009; 7:30PM.

Kingston Uptown Residents Alliance (KURA) Meeting (Oct 2009);

"Memorandum from Mayor James M. Sottile (Office of the Mayor; City of Kingston) to the Honorable James L. Noble, President Common Council, Council Chambers"; Dated 10/13/09". [This was (and probably still is) available - along with a copy of the Proposed 2010 City Budget - on the City of Kingston Website;]

"The Pain"; Jesse J. Smith; "Kingston Times"; Vol. 6; No. 42; 10/15/09; P.1 and P.9.

The Kingston "Daily Freeman"; 11/6/09; P.A1 and A6.

"Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs"; "Wikipedia";'s_hierarchy_of_needs [Accessed 11/5/09]

City of Kingston Tax Roles / Books; City of Kingston [a correction has been made here] Assessors Office; City Hall; Religious Not-for-Profit (my focus at the time...) Tax Exempt Properties - Homestead and Non-Homestead [These are available, on site (City Hall) to the general public].


"The Kingston News Blog"; "The Kingston News Blog video coverage of Kingston's proposed 2010 budget hearing 11-05-2009";

"Just Something 2 Think About"; "It Is Obvious";

"Clark Richter's Live... The Kingston News"; Kingston Area Public Access (KAPA) / Channel 23; Monday, November 9, 2009.


Addendum: Finance meetings - to be posted on the City of Kingston Website - are reputedly pending (These may be posted already. I believe Alderman Landi is in charge of setting these up.). Individuals are also welcome (this, according to Common Council President James Noble) to mail ideas, information and/or suggestions to him and/or Ward representative.

Please note that there was (and likely still is) more information on all of this posted on "Kingston Progressive", "The Kingston News Blog" and "Just Something 2 Think About". There are direct links to these blogspots in the sidebar >>>

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