Sunday, March 28, 2010

Resolution to the Kingston Common Council - Converting one fire station from paid to volunteer & Elimination of non-emergency calls

Kingston needs Budget Reduction and Tax Reduction. 

Toward that Goal,

I submitted the following resolution / letter to the Common Council.  To the Common Council, we
the citizens of Kingston deserve and look forward to an up or down vote on this by the aldermen of the Common Council.

February 17, 2010

Mr. James Noble


Kingston, NY 12401

Subject: Resolution to the Kingston Common Council (Finance Committee)

Prepare Plans for

1) Converting one fire station from paid to volunteer and

2) Elimination of non-emergency calls from Kingston Fire Dept. duties


I have had several discussions with 3rd ward alderman, Charlie Landi about the need to seriously reduce city spending to prepare Kingston for the present hard times and for the future where lowest taxed areas will be the place new jobs will be located.

Kingston needs to substantially reduce the expense of its fire budget. The City of Kingston with a population of less than 25,000 has a fire budget (including building dept.) of in excess of $7 Million. It appears that there is the potential to reduce the Kingston fire budget by doing two things. 1) Convert one fire station from paid to volunteer. The savings would be in the paid manpower that is no longer needed at the converted fire station. The manpower could be reduced via buyouts and attrition. The city and firefighter’s union would have to open the contract where necessary to accommodate these changes. 2) Eliminate non-emergency calls from the Kingston Fire Dept. duties. The saving would be in manpower time and vehicle usage expenses.

The city should begin the process of creating a vibrant volunteer spirit to man the converted paid fire station. The goal would be to create the kind of excellent volunteer fire station in the city that now exists in the Town of Ulster. Several factors, which contribute to the success of the main Ulster Hose Station, are 1) special retirement incentives, 2) brotherhood, sisterhood environment 3) comfortable station with amenities (food, coffee, papers), 4) sports teams, 5) family days, 6) open to 16, 17, 18 year olds, 7) service awards, and other creative ideas. With leadership, this type of volunteer station could be created at one of the paid fire stations in Kingston.

Please support the subject resolution to give the council and mayor some added leverage when negotiating with the paid firefighters union and to help us avoid a disastrous budget in 2011.

Thank you,

Ralph C. Mitchell

cc: Charles Landi, Chairman of Financial & Economic Development Committee