Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crisis of monumental proportions facing Kingston

The structural problems with the City of Kingston budget are very bad for the foreseeable future (ie.beyond 2 years, probably beyond 5 years). According to Mayor Sottile, Kingston is carrying around $3.5 Million of unpaid pension liabilities, which he plans on amortizing over the next 6 years at $600,000 per year.
This is painfully serious money that Kingston will have a hard time collecting from a dwindling tax base. If Kingston has to live with a 2% property tax cap, the new contracts for DPW, Fire and Police will have to be drastically cut. Positions will have to be cut. This is a crisis of monumental proportions facing Kingston this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Equalize Kingston's Homestead and Business tax rates totally in one year

Equalize the Homestead and Business property tax rates totally in one year, ie. in next year's budget. Why next year's budget? Because this is the budget that has to include the new Municipal contracts being negotiated with the Police, Fire and DPW unions. With the 2% property tax cap, it will be that much more difficult for the 3 unions to win at the negotiating table or with the binding arbitration. Also, the aldermen/woman would be required to vote on the budget. This would expose if the alderpeople are serious about bringing businesses back to Kingston.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Public Schools are at a crossroads.

An August 21, 2011 Kingston Freeman article says that Mid-Hudson teacher salaries continue to climb at an alarming rate in the face of a devasting recession economy.  Our NY State Public Schools are at a crossroads.  Either they freeze teacher union contracts and eliminate step raises or they will have to go out of business by laying off more and more teachers each year.  This is the business model for teacher's unions in NY State.  The silver lining is that after this painful end of the public schools, a new competitive School Voucher system may replace it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

$25 Million Ulster County Deficit helps county make correct Golden Hill decision

The silver lining is that this bad $25 Million Ulster County budget deficit news helps the county legislators and Mike Hein make the correct decision on the future of Golden Hill.  They now can in good conscience decide to no longer subsidize Golden Hill each year.  County taxpayers should not have to pay higher taxes to subsidize Golden Hill any longer.  The Golden Hill subsidy is only going to grow in the coming years with the reduced Federal and State Medicaid support.  I am sure that a private concern would be willing to continue running Golden Hill at the high level of care that it deserves.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homestead vs. Business 2-tier taxing system in the City of Kingston

Let's talk about Homestead vs. Business 2-tier taxing system in the City of Kingston.  The only way to equalize these 2 tax rates is to drastically cut the Kingston budget.  If any of the 7 candidates talk about equalizing Homestead and Business taxes, they should be challenged by asking them "What is the priority of drastic budget cuts that they propose?"  My priority of budget cuts are 1) cut the Paid Fire Dept. the most, 2) cut the DPW duplicate management positions proposed by Rich Cahill, 3) do not cut the Police.

Closed Regional Economic Council Meetings Prove Cuomo Secrecy

I totally agree with the August 14, 2011 Freeman Editorial.  There are 10 Regional Economic Councils which are competing for $ 1 Billion in public taxpayer money for economic development.  An early meeting to discuss priorities in the local New Paltz Economic Council meeting was closed to the public and to the press.  In general, Governor Cuomo's style is one of secrecy.  Unlike Chris Christie of New Jersey, Cuomo does not take direct questions from citizens on the radio.  He goes on his friend, Fred Dicker's radio show, but only Fred is allowed to ask questions.  His agenda is revealed in a very controlled one-sided way, ie. very little public debate.  This local economic council in New Paltz is another glaring example of shutting out public awareness and public opinion.