Monthly Archives: March 2010

Administrative Costs For Allocating Federal Funds in Midtown?

Does it strike anyone funny that from an $815,000 grant for Midtown projects, $163,000 is going towards administration costs? We’re assuming that is what it costs to provide Michael Murphy and his staff their yearly salary. That’s a pretty hefty amount if you ask us.

Along the way, there has been mention of additional outside consultants hired by the office. If so, how many throughout the year and how much does it cost taxpayers?

We’d like to understand better what this department does year round for the amount of money they are being paid and think it’s important to look into for the administrative costs used by grant money alone.

* Addendum: This thought process was inspired by today’s article in the Daily Freeman. You can read it HERE

Citizens Share Their Ideas on Building a New Local Economy

When it comes to good ideas there is certainly never a lack of them. The problem is always finding ways to funnel and collect this information so it can make an impact.

With that in mind, we decided to reach out to the citizens of Kingston to learn what it is that they think the city should pursue in the way of building a local economy.

I’d like to keep this going so to hear from more of you.   If you’d like to participate, answer the question below and include your name, occupation and community affiliation (s).  Send it to us at: info@kingstoncitizens.org

Thanks.

- Rebecca Martin

What kind of industry or small business venture would you like to see in the city of Kingston? What incentives could the city of Kingston offer to attract it, and what obstacles are currently in the way?


Diane Reeder
Executive Director, Queens Galley

“In 1987 the entire state was in a recession and Martin Marietta, the community’s major employer, had laid off several thousand employees. There were nearly a million square feet of vacant retail space and downtown vacancies were approaching thirty percent. Kicked off the project in 1989 with the idea that “economic gardening” was a better approach for Littleton (and perhaps for Kingston too!) than “economic hunting”.  Simply grow our own jobs through entrepreneurial activity instead of recruiting them. They have developed a model that WORKS…and at least 14 other communities have used that model successfully. We can too.”

Adam Snyder
Writer/Musician/KMOCA Founder

“A supermarket located right off 9W would draw drive-up as well as neighborhood business. Something less obvious but important would be a place to mail things combined with photocopying and such (The US Post Office is cutting back at the moment which is why I think it would have to be a Mailboxes Inc type thing).  Restaurants alone will never be enough, not even for a seasonal/weekend economy.  If we want small businesses to operate in the Rondout, we need to give them the basic resources to do so. This includes businesses in commercial spaces as well as cottage industries out of nearby homes. Cottage industries may not seem like much, but in an era when it’s hard to attract medium-to-large businesses, a patchwork of smaller businesses may be what sustains us. Rondout isn’t the only neighborhood in Kingston, but what’s good for Rondout is good for Kingston. And more resources downtown means less traffic jams along Broadway.”

Melissa Everett, Ph. D.
Excecutive Director, Sustainable Hudson Valley

“Kingston could distinguish itself by developing a green building materials and products cluster, with appropriate manufacturing and assembly as well as distribution, sales and marketing, installation and support. Green building is a vast, fast-moving industry. From structural materials to windows to paints to roofing to lighting to landscaping materials, the industry is developing new technologies with reduced carbon footprints, less toxic emissions, greater materials and water efficiency and use of recycled materials, and lower impacts on the surrounding site. LEED, the primary industry standard, also gives points for sourcing supplies within a 500 mile radius of a job site. As New York and the Hudson Valley strengthen their commitment to green building codes within the state’s energy and climate action plans, opportunities to supply the construction and renovation industries will grow. Kingston has a solid cluster of relevant businesses already, including lighting, appliance, electronics and masonry supply outlets, solar installers, and a flagship publication, New York House. It has a local commitment to the “green corridor” along Broadway, where bike racks will soon be installed on every block. It also has complementary clusters in arts and the digital/ creative economy. Green alternatives in building move into the marketplace when consumers find them not only practical but beautiful. The potential for marrying green building with artistic and creative applications from furniture and interior design to landscape architecture, could give Kingston an enormous advantage in developing a green building cluster.”

K.J. McIntyre
Realtor and Co-Founder, Kingston Digital Corridor

“Years ago, George Allen suggested an architectural collete, maybe part of SUNY, based in Kingston. We really do have a great inventory of American architecture, a little weak on the contemporary but that’s within easy reach”.

Paul Joffe
Entrepreneur, Selling and Renovating, slowly.
- Read Paul’s article “Tourism In Kingston” from 2008.

“Kingston needs to make residency a 6 month process to avoid new residents who can not support themselves without local taxpayer assistance for six months. Kingston needs to hire a lobbyist in albany to advocate and promote itself. Crime is a quality of life deal-breaker, a dis-incentive to investment and settlement, and will lead to a spiral that can not be turned around. The city police are a valuable resource led by a competent, responsible chief and one of the best investments that can be made in the short term with the limited funds available. contracts with other city employees must be re-negotiated however possible. those who contribute their time and enthusiasm towards the improvement of the city should be recognized and given jobs. where salary is not available, real power to make change is often a sufficient substitute. those who agree on 90% should not spend any of their time arguing about the other ten. in a crisis only clear basic changes can be made, energy should go to consensus. by law, the subject and time of all meetings must be made public and easily available well in advance (1 week or more). those who schedule unannounced public meetings should be fined substantially. the subject of public meetings must be determined a week in advance and not be changed within a week of the meeting. notices must be unavoidable so that even the busiest citizen is informed. that means all forms of media must be notified and all public meetings should be scheduled such that working people are able to attend. the object is to have the greatest number of attendees under strict parliamentary rules limiting speaking time and relevancy to the subject of the meeting.”

Andrea Perrino
Student

“We need to extend Technology jobs and consulting jobs into the Hudson Valley/Kingston area and get away from Retail/Medical industry. SUNY NP has a program and contest in the Business program on Business Plans (I’m currently working on one). They have great ideas”.

Gerald Berke
Founder, KingstonCorridor.com

“We recently lost to the town of ulster a food packaging company. That, and others like solar manufacturing.  I don’t know what the city did in the way of offering either business incentives to be in Kingston or why we might have lost.  Some years ago, a random thing, a business man was telling me about his considerations for Midtown.  He said, to my surprise, it was hard for people to find the place, hard to give directions. We need better signage in the city inside and out! The idea about a KIngston Corridor struck me about then, and I’ve been poking at it for some years, rather ineffectively.  I brought the idea and some drawings to the city a long time ago, but there were no ears.  That seems to be changing now.  We have kingstoncitizens.org which is making a huge difference as there is someone observing and encouraging.

Some public celebration of new business: I know of none. This city does nothing, no welcome, no publicity, no thanks.  I would think having the mayor or a city committee,  meeting and greeting new business and getting that in the paper would help a lot to show we are friendly. What we see, surely, is that we are not.  For instance, there is no guidance on the web site for new business out reach.  One lady who recently bought a house from the city and has repaired and improved it gloriously had reached out to me to help her get through delays that threatened her ability to close the deal.

Andi Turco-Levin
Realtor and City of Kingston Ward 1 Alderman

“A historic preservation program associated with the college, perhaps to offer some sort of degree at the end. Somewhere in the mix, the City of Kingston could work with targeted neighborhoods to restore the blocks of vintage Queen Anne architecture (like Downs or Elmendorf Sts for example) There is grant money for historic preservation in some places. Perhaps the program would draw young people looking to learn about historic preservation (which is a growing industry) to live in Kingston while studying. We need to recognize how important this is to the future of the historic neighborhoods of Kingston. This city has a gold mine of potential preservation projects.”

Barbara Sarah and Jennifer Schwartz-Berky
Mother/Daughter
Barbara is founder of the Oncology Support Program at Benedictine Hospital and the director of Third Opinion. Jennifer is Deputy Director, Ulster County Planning Board and Visiting Lecturer in Environmental and Urban Studies at Bard College.


“Kingston should create “cultural districts,” which is something that over 100 cities across the US have done in the last decade.  Many of these communities have successfully positioned the arts at the center of their revitalization strategies.  A number of well-documented studies demonstrate a very high return on local governments’ investments in such a strategy.  This “place-based” policy typically involves tax credits and other incentives for artists and arts-related businesses to support their work and the improvement of spaces within specific mixed-use areas of the city that are targeted for revitalization.  According to a study by the Americans for the Arts, “Cultural districts boost urban revitalization in many ways: beautify and animate cities, provide employment, attract residents and tourists to the city, complement adjacent businesses, enhance property values, expand the tax base, attract well-educated employees, and contribute to creative, innovative environment.” The New York State Department of Labor reports that Ulster County has nearly twice the number of artists (1.9 times the average) of any place in the country, which is high even compared to our neighboring counties (which average 1.3 times the average). Kingston is the perfect candidate for a successful cultural districts strategy.”

Arthur Zaczkiewicz
Freelance Writer and Editor and Garden Committee Co-chair, Kingston Land Trust

“Bicycle (repairs and rentals) and Fishing Tackle shop in the Rondout. During the warmer months, bikes and fishing is the merchandising focus while snowshoes and snowboards are sold and rented during the winter. A recent Sea Grant Study revealed that the number one natured-based activity for tourists and residents of Kingston, Beacon and Cold Spring was bicycling. The number one water recreation activity was fishing. And the number one cultural activity was visiting the waterfront to dine and shop.

Urban Organic and Hyrdoponic Farming Industry. Take the old Kings’ Inn and convert it to a hyrdoponic farm, which sells vegetables year-round to the community. Can employ between 10 and 15 people, perhaps in a co-op profit sharing model. The roof can be modified with solar panels to help offset the energy costs.

Redevelopment Initiative of Existing Commercial and Industrial Space. Here, new businesses would be encouraged to participate in this program with tax abatements and other incentives. They would relocate into existing buildings in Kingston that are refurbished by Kingston-based contractors who hire local helpers who may have been under or unemployed. This helps local contractors as well as local people while making use of preexisting buildings (green) instead of building new, which is not green or sustainable. Tax breaks would be big enough to discourage new construction.

Incentives: City-awarded tax abatements and tax breaks — especially for small businesses or start ups.

Obstacles: A lack of creative thinking.”

The Chronogram Nominated For an Utne Independent Press Award

Dear Readers,

If you’re like me, then you can hardly wait for the 1st of the month to pick-up your new edition of the Chronogram. They are truly one of the best publications in the Hudson Valley – and have set up shop in the city of Kingston. Not only are they are a great publication, but they are the first to step forward to support any initiative that is arts related or in helping any number of organizations who are making a big difference in the lives of many all throughout the Hudson Valley.

Join me now in congratulating them on being nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award.

A big shout out to Jason, Amara, Brian and the entire staff for their dedication in reporting on real issues and by helping to put Kingston on the map.  I’m one of your many fans.

Let’s celebrate!

- Rebecca Martin

Contact: Brian K. Mahoney, (845) 334-8600×103, bmahoney@chronogram.com

Chronogram magazine nominated for Utne Independent Press Award
Kingston, New York
3/24/10

Chronogram magazine has been recognized by Utne Reader for editorial
excellence for 2009 in the Health and Wellness category. In the past year,
Chronogram has covered health and wellness topics as diverse as: the
efficacy of the swine flu vaccine, women’s reproductive health, a two-part
investigation into Lyme Disease diagnoses and treatments, mentoring for
young women and young men, lifelong learning, debunking myths about calcium
supplements, and thriving and surviving through serious illness.

Chronogram is in good company with the other nominees. The 21st Annual
Independent Press Awards nominees include The New Republic, Orion,
Mother Jones, Columbia Journalism Review, The Believer, Audubon, The
Chronicle of Higher Education, and 30 other titles. The finalists were
chosen from a pool of 1,300 independent publications. The winners will be
announced on April 25 at the Magazine Publishers of America-Independent
Magazine Advisory Group (IMAG) conference in Washington, D.C.

The Utne Independent Press Awards recognize the excellence and vitality of
alternative and independent publishing. Nominees in 10 categories represent
the best in independent political, social/cultural, arts, science/tech,
health/wellness, environmental, international and spiritual coverage, as
well as best writing, and general excellence.

Utne Reader’s editors select nominee publications through an extensive
reading process and careful, yearlong examination, rather than via a
competition with entry forms and fees. In this way, the magazine honors the
efforts of small, sometimes unnoticed publications that provide innovative,
thought-provoking perspectives often ignored or overlooked by mass media.

Chronogram Editorial Director Brian K. Mahoney believes that the
nomination just goes to show that the magazine has been on the right track
for the past 16 years. “We’re thrilled to be honored in this way,” he says.
“This nomination reinforces our conviction that quality editorial—putting
real information into the hands of readers—is an end in itself. And while
our mission is to nuture and support the creative and cultural life of the
Hudson Valley, there’s no question that the material we’re producing
transcends the region. Readers, no matter where they live, are hungry for
honest, insightful editorial. It has always been our goal to provide that.
And kudos to our Lorrie Klosterman, our health and wellness editor.
Lorrie’s engaging and insightful writing and editing has elevated our coverage to
national prominence.”

Luminary Publishing, founded in 1993, is a multimedia company headquartered
at 314 Wall Street in Kingston. Its flagship publication, _Chronogram_, is
distributed free every month at 750 locations across the Hudson Valley.
Luminary Publishing’s mission is to nourish and support the creative and
cultural life of the Hudson Valley.

It Takes A Community Group

KingstonCitizens.org is featured in the Kingston Times. Written by Lynn Woods.

“It Takes A Community Group”

The Meagher Elementary School Garden Need Volunteers

The Meagher Elementary School is seeking a few volunteers to help turn soil in two garden beds next week while school is on recess. Anyone interested in helping should contact Jen Farmer at jenfarmer23@gmail.com. Volunteers need to bring shovels and gloves.

Farmer said the Kiwanis Club has offerd to build the raised bed boxes. “We can still use more help maintaining the garden over the summer as well as harvesting food for donation,” Farmer said in a recent update note to officials adding that Nell Donovan, Meagher librarian, has “volunteered to house and catalog garden related books for students and resources for teachers in the school library.”

Farmer said the garden site is “on a flat, grassy patch behind the school.  There is plenty of room for a few beds and room to expand in the future. We have also discussed putting in a pumpkin patch on the hill, next to the flower garden.”

Julie Noble, environmental educator for the City of Kingston and co-chair of the Community and School Garden Committee, will be coming to Meagher in early April to meet with staff interested in working on the garden.

Citizens Submit! On Growing a Local Economy in Kingston

KingstonCitizens.org is creating a piece by compiling the ideas of Kingston citizens on what the city of Kingston could do to help improve and grow its local economy. In a paragraph, please share with us and be sure to include your name, occupation and current local endeavors/affiliation.

Send it off to me, Rebecca Martin at: info@kingstoncitizens.org

“What kind of industry or small business venture would you like to see in the city of Kingston?  What incentives could the city of Kingston offer to attract it, and what obstacles are currently in the way?”

UCRRA Collects Pharmaceutical Waste in April

The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency is hosting its annual April collection on the 17th. This year they will be collecting Pharmaceutical waste in an effort to keep residents from flushing them where pharmaceuticals end up in streams, wells, and other waterways.

Here is an article from the New York Times titled “Drugs In The Water. Does It Matter?” to give our readers a bit of insight on the problem.

For more on this upcoming event and to print a PDF flyer visit this LINK.

The Costs & Savings To Upgrade City Hall’s Building Management System

Eastern Heating and Cooling who has been the “preferred” mechanical service provider to the City of Kingston notes that “Kingston City Hall at 420 Broadway is currently at point where immediate attention is needed in order to prevent further unnecessary spending, possible system failure and capture future Energy savings”. Below is their letter.

So here’s the scoop.

If the city of Kingston were to opt to upgrade our building’s management system, it would cost tax payers $105,000.00 as stated in the papers. At a 2% annual interest rate for a loan that is 10 years in length, the city would pay $11,892.84 each year for ten years until the loan was repaid.

Now let’s look at the savings.

With an upgrade, the savings is estimated to be $5,678.00 in year one. It continues to escalate each year. This actually cuts our annual loan payment in half. Below is an “annual and accumulated savings sheet” which will show the accumulated savings over the course of 20 years as being $152,569.99. I bet it would even be more than that. Keep in mind that after the first ten years, the savings are the city’s to keep.

Read through the documents and be in touch with your alderman to find out more information if you need to.

Seems like a no brainer to me. My vote is to start the bidding process.

- Rebecca Martin

Annual and Accumulated Savings with updated Heating/Cooling at City Hall

Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc.: Upgrade to Building Management System


Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc: Upgrade page 2


Eastern Heating and Cooling, Inc.: Upgrade, Page 3

Taking A Closer Look At City Hall’s Heating And Cooling Problems

For years, we have been perplexed as to why City Hall could not get the heating and cooling system working properly. In the summer months, the A/C blows full on creating an overly dramatic icy environment whether it’s a heat wave or not. In late summer/early fall when the heat kicks in, the windows are opened to allow for it to escape…and that’s because it’s an 80 degree day.

Let’s face it. It’s costing citizens an extraordinary amount all year long – and it’s simply a wasteful and careless way for our money to be spent.

In today’s freeman, there was an article showing movement to aid this problem. (“Kingston CIty Hall Awaits Heat/Air Repair”) What was missing, was more information to help citizens understand why something had to be done. Was there an energy audit? Over what amount of time would the expense be repaid in energy savings, and how much more would citizens save over time once the initial expense was recouped? We’re pretty confident it’s a bundle.

We have requested copies of this important documentation and will be posting it as soon as it arrives. It will be helpful to understand the big picture here. We can’t afford to let this opportunity pass us. If what is currently being proposed isn’t the answer, then we have to work towards one.

- Rebecca Martin

More On a Council-Manager Form Of Government and Term Limits

It’s empowering to learn more on the Council-Manager form of government. Below was taken from the ICMA’s website. Visit this LINK to get resources and to learn more on the subject.

Certainly, if this is too radical for some then we should at least begin a discussion on term limits (see: Rotation in office) on all elected positions in Kingston right away.

It’s up to the citizens now to move towards a government that works. What do you want to do that is productive and helpful?

I suggest we begin at the core right here at home.

- Rebecca Martin

The collection of articles, statistics, and other information—grouped below as ICMA’s Council-Manager Form Resource Packet—will assist you in helping residents, elected officials, and business leaders within your community gain a better understanding of the value that professional management brings to our cities and towns.

ICMA’s origins lie in the council-manager form of local government, which combines the strong political leadership of elected officials (in the form of a council, board, or other governing body) with the strong professional experience of an appointed local government manager or administrator. Under this form, power is concentrated in the elected council, which hires a professional administrator to implement its policies. These highly-trained, experienced individuals serve at the pleasure of the elected governing body and have responsibility for preparing the budget, directing day-to-day operations, hiring and firing personnel, and serving as the council’s chief policy advisor.

Although ICMA actively promotes the council-manager form as the preferred structure, the organization also supports professional management in all forms of local government.

We invite you to use these materials as part of your council-manager form adoption and retention efforts. Click on the link to the packet components and you will be taken to ICMA’s Resource Center, where you will find a description of the material and one or more downloads. In addition to the materials contained in the Council-Manager Form Resource packet, scroll further down this page for a list of other resources, or contact Jared Dailey, assistant program manager, at jdailey@icma.org, for more information on form-of-government issues.

Launching an educational or promotional effort in support of the council-manager form can be difficult, but we hope you find these materials useful. Thank you for helping ICMA advocate the value of professional local government management and good luck with your efforts

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