Saturday, November 21, 2009

Have You Looked at the City of Kingston Firefighters' Contract Lately?

I am 100% behind Mayor Sottile's lawsuit against the Kingston Firefighters Union.  The lawsuit attempts to block the union from grieving Sottile's refusal to hire new firemen to replace those firefighters who took the recent retirement buyout.  There is one problem.  The firefighters' contract clearly states that manpower is to be replaced within 60 days of a vacancy or before the next training class.  In addition, the firefighters' contract says there shall be no layoffs...............This contract was obviously negotiated during better economic times.  However, I believe that if the starting negotiating positions of the mayor and the union were public knowledge and if the Common Council had more say in the negotiations at the time 2 years ago, these pro-union clauses of 1) mandatory replacement of retirees and 2) No Layoffs would not have been in this contract....... Let's do better next time for the taxpayers.  The only way we will be able to correct this problem in the short term is to encourage the union to open the contract, which is unlikely.  The sure way to correct this problem in the short term is Municipal Bankruptcy which would automatically cancel all of our Kingston union contracts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Now is the time for all good Kingstonians to say NO TRASH TAX. 
The aldermen are proposing to charge ALL city residents for TRASH PICKUP.

The following article appeared in the Kingston Freeman last Friday.

Kingston lawmakers debate trash payment plan

Published: Friday, November 13, 2009

By Paul Kirby
Freeman staff

KINGSTON — City lawmakers remained at odds Thursday night over whether a new trash collection program it is estimated could generate $1.3 million in revenue can be approved in time for the money to be included in the 2010 budget.

During a session of the Common Council’s Finance/Economic Development Committee, panel members differed on opinions about a proposed “pay as you throw” program.

Some such as Alderman Ronald Polacco, R-Ward 6, were against it saying, “It is just another tax.”

Still others such as Alderwoman Ann Marie DiBella, D-Ward 5, said she likes the program but didn’t think there was enough time to educate the public on it.

DiBella said she was particularly concerned about rental units and whether landlords and tenants would comply with a new trash pickup regulation.

And then there was Alderman Thomas Hoffay, D-Ward 2, who said he believes that a majority of the council “will come on board” with it before the council adopts a 2010 budget.

Alderman Charles Landi, D-Ward 3, who is the committee’s chairman, held out that “there was a possibility” movement could be made on the proposal before a budget vote.

The program has long been bantered about by members the Common Council and has been supported by Mayor James Sottile in the past.

But the program has never gotten off the ground as it languished in committee.

It was in March 2008 that Environmental Educator Steve Noble first suggested the idea for the program.

On Thursday night, Noble pitched the program again, this time suggesting that he could educate the public in a month, with an all-out blitz.

Noble said residents would purchase the number of garbage bags they use in a week or perhaps just stickers to place on bags. Either way, the cost would be $1.25 per bag or sticker, much less than the $4 charge some other municipalities have levied, Noble said.

Noble has estimated the selling of the bags would generate about $1.3 million for the city.

Noble said that individual households would pay only for as much garage as they generate. He believes the program would encourage less trash output because residents would not have to buy as many bags if they generate less waste.

The program would be similar to the city’s water and sewer programs which charge households based on usage.

Noble has estimated that the program would likely reduce the city’s landfill costs by $200,000 because people would separate more recyclable material from their trash and compost food waste to save on bag purchases.

Sottile said that in order for his proposed tax rate increase to go from 10 percent to zero the council would have to cut or find revenues of $1.3 million.

Hoffay has said the pay as you throw program garbage bag or sticker purchases would generate just that amount, cutting the tax rate hike to zero.

However, that is only accomplished if 28 employee layoffs are still in place, including six police officers and three civilian dispatchers.

In order to save those positions, Sottile said, another $600,00 in revenues or cuts need to be found.

On Thursday, the Finance/Economic Development Committee suggested no changes to the mayor’s proposed budget.

Another budget session is set for Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Message to City of Kingston - More Fire Companies CUT OUT MEDICAL CALLS

The following article appeared in this Monday's Times Herald Record


Posted: November 16, 2009 - 2:00 AM

Times Herald-Record

TOWN OF WALLKILL — Last year, Circleville firefighters responded to 176 medical emergency calls in its district — one-third of the total calls it handled.

Now, they're looking to cut those numbers significantly.

The district recently decided it will no longer provide automatic response for medical calls. Department Chief Walter Szulwach says that with two ambulance companies in the town, as well as one ambulance stationed at its firehouse on Goshen Turnpike, sending firefighters out to medical calls is redundant.

"It's just not a prudent use of resources," Szulwach says. "A lot of times when we responded to medical calls, an ambulance was already at the scene."

It's a step many fire companies throughout the region have taken. Most of the 52 Orange County fire companies don't provide automatic response to medical calls, including 12 that don't respond, period. Eighteen out of Ulster County's 50 fire companies don't respond to medical calls, nor do 26 of the 40 fire companies in Sullivan County. Sullivan County 911 coordinator Alex Rau says fire companies in Rock Hill, Bloomingburg and Wurtsboro have recently scaled back their medical-call responses.

One reason is financial: deploying firefighters and equipment costs money. But the bigger reason is manpower. For companies already struggling for personnel, it's not only about having the time to handle medical calls, but also having the time to go through the necessary additional training.

To handle medical calls, Orange County fire coordinator John Horan says at the very least, firefighters should be trained as medical first responders. "It doesn't do a fire company any good to say, 'We're going to do medical calls,' and your members can't spell 'medical,'" Horan says. "If you're going to do medical calls, the training is extensive."

But is public safety compromised when fire companies pull out of the medical emergency business? Rau doesn't believe so. "If a fire department isn't getting manpower out to medical calls, has there been a compromise?" he says.

Circleville, which Szulwach says will have eight certified emergency medical technicians as members by year's end, will still respond to medical calls if requested by an ambulance service, or if there aren't any other emergency responders available.

But with a projected 2010 budget of more than $600,000, in a struggling economy, Szulwach says the move away from medical calls is a logical way to control operating costs.

"This will benefit our taxpayers," Szulwach says.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


1) Elimination of Police Officers

2) Eliminating Many Recreation Department programs

3) Adding new Trash FEES and TAXES for ALL City residents and businesses

4) Postponing the Kingston Fire Dept. raises for one year.

The above solutions are UNACCEPTABLE, since #3 above is INCREASING TAXES, #4 could be just delaying the raises until next year, #2 would most likely be a permanent destruction of the City Recreation programs, and #1 is making Kingston MUCH LESS SAFE…………Instead of DISMANTLING our POLICE DEPT. and RECREATION DEPT., let’s start talking about converting one PAID FIRE DEPT. to VOLUNTEER at a potential savings of $1 Million to $2 Million.  This is a reasonable and safe suggestion.


1) The City of Kingston Fire budget is about 40 % HIGHER than the City of Poughkeepsie Fire budget.

2) The City of Kingston Water and Sewer charges are about 40 % HIGHER than the City of Poughkeepsie Water and Sewer charges.

3) The City of Poughkeepsie has a population of 30,000 and the City of Kingston has a population less than 25,000.

4) The City of Poughkeepsie’s 2010 budget calls for NO TAX INCREASE, while the City of Kingston 2010 budget calls for about a 10 % TAX INCREASE.

Are you SHOCKED by the above facts? These facts are HURTING you and your children by FORCING them to move elsewhere. What can we do about it?

Call your Alderman at the phone numbers below and tell them to look at the suggestion to convert one fire station from paid to volunteer.
First Ward

Al Teetsel

(845) 331-4862

189 Fairview Ave.

Second Ward

Thomas Hoffay


160 Tremper

Third Ward

Charles Landi


20 Arlmont Street

Fourth Ward

Shirley Whitlock

(845) 338-3739

89 Prospect Street

Fifth Ward

Ann Marie DiBella

(845) 331-7570

116 Fair Street

Sixth Ward

Ron Polacco


170 O'Neil Street

Seventh Ward

William P. Reynolds,

Majority Leader


181 Clifton Avenue

Eighth Ward

Robert Senor

(845) 339-2955

63 Crane St.

Ninth Ward

Michael Madsen

(845) 399-9644

61 Brewster Street

Congratulations to the NO TAX INCREASE Winning Candidates

Congratulations to the following NO TAX INCREASE Winning Candidates.  In this Blog, we will
continue to praise and support these office holders and others as they fight to rollback our HIGH property taxes by more creative and efficient budgets.

Jim Maloney for District 5 (Town of Ulster) Ulster County Legislature,

Michael Sweeney for District 4 (Saugerties) Ulster County Legislature,

Fred Wadnola for District 5 (Town of Ulster) Ulster County Legislature,

Carl Belfiglio for District 7 (Esopus) Ulster County Legislature, and

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day 2009 - Vote NO TAX INCREASE all the way!

Why would a resident of Kingston, NY, the County of Ulster, or New York State vote for someone who cannot pledge to NOT VOTE for budgets which INCREASE TAXES? 

Please vote for the candidates who have pledged NO TAX INCREASES for 2 years.  We owe it to ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and the future financial health of our area.

Where have all the young people gone?  The Kingston Area has been devasted by the departure of IBM jobs and money.  In our area we have IBM retirees with pensions and we have young people in high schools and elementary schools.  In between these two age groups, we have a severely dwindling young adult and middle age population.  Our area is in severe trouble.  New York State is in severe trouble.  What are we going to do about it? 

We are going to vote for the candidates who have pledged NO TAX INCREASES for 2 years. We owe it to ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and the future financial health of our area.

November 2, 2009 Summary of Candidates Who Pledge No Tax Increases

Below is a summary of local candidates who Pledge NO TAX INCREASES for the next 2 years. To local
taxpayers, let's try to talk to and convince more of our local candidates to make this pledge so the City of Kingston and Ulster County will come out of this financial mess in better shape.

Richard Cahill, Sr. for 5th Ward alderman in the City of Kingston,

Mike Gill for 7th Ward alderman in the City of Kingston,

Todd Langon for 8th Ward alderman in the City of Kingston, and

Jeannie Edwards for 4th Ward alderman in the City of Kingston,


Jim Maloney for District 5 (Town of Ulster) Ulster County Legislature,

Michael Sweeney for District 4 (Saugerties) Ulster County Legislature,

Fred Wadnola for District 5 (Town of Ulster) Ulster County Legislature,

Marvin Schildhorn for District 6 (City of Kingston) Ulster County Legislature,

Ellen DiFalco for District 6 (City of Kingston) Ulster County Legislature,

Carl Belfiglio for District 7 (Esopus) Ulster County Legislature, and

Mark Ingoglio for District 12 (City of Kingston) Ulster County Legislature.