Mayor Steve Noble's 2018 Recommended Budget
Dear Friends,

It was my pleasure to present my 2018 Recommended Budget to members of the Common Council and public on Tuesday evening. My staff and I worked hard to build a budget that reflects the needs and interests of our community, holds the line on taxes, and still gives us the tools we need to do some pretty exciting stuff! 

So what's next? A public hearing is being held on Monday, October 23rd and community members are encouraged to attend and give comments. The Common Council's Finance Committee  will then hold a series of meetings over the next month with each City department to review each individual budget. While those meetings do not typically include a public speaking segment on the agenda, they are an excellent opportunity to listen and learn about each department's expenses and revenues. I have included a schedule below of all of these upcoming meetings. Check our website often, as well as my upcoming newsletters, for further updates on the 2018 budget process.

Mayor Noble's 2018 Budget Message

View Mayor Noble's 2018 Budget Message here
View Mayor Noble's 2018 Budget Message above
Special thanks to Clark Richters/The Kingston News for filming

"Kingston's Moment"

The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council said it best in its 2017 Progress report: "There is no doubt that the City of Kingston is having its moment." 

Of course, the big news recently has been the City's winning application to Governor Cuomo's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which will be used to implement transformative projects in Kingston's Stockade District. In order for us to be successful, we need your input. Please consider attending the DRI Kick-Off event on Monday, October 30th at 6:00pm at City Hall. This event will include a lot of information about the purpose and goals of the program, an outline of the DRI process and timeline, and a look ahead to next steps. 

Please note that the 2018 Recommended Budget does not include any grant funding from the DRI.
Mayor Noble's 2018 Recommended Budget
By the Numbers

Tax Rates to Decline Again

Homestead (Residential)
2016: $10.16
2017: $10.10
2018: $9.95 (proposed)

Non-Homestead (Commercial)
2016: $18.31
2017: $18.13
2018: $17.36 (proposed)

Tax Rates per $1,000

Tax Levy to Remain Flat Again

2016: $17,650,940
2017: $17,650,940
2018:  $17,650,940 (proposed)

Generally speaking, the tax levy is the total amount of money to be raised by the City through taxes.

2018 Recommended Budget Highlights:
  • Over $1,000,000 placed in contingency in preparation for potential settlement contracts and non-recurring expenses
  • All essential services to be preserved
  • No eliminations of full-time filled positions
  • New technology to be used to enhance public safety, ensure digital security, increase accountability, and reduce paper redundancies
  • New positions proposed to expand services
    • 4 full-time firefighters (partially grant funded)
    • 1 full-time Environmental Asset Manager (partially grant funded)
    • 1 full-time Network Support Technician in the Information and Technology Department designated for Kingston Police Department technology needs
    • 1 part-time Code Enforcement Officer (partially grant funded)
    • 1 part-time Director of Health and Wellness (fully grant funded)
    • 1 part-time Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs (partially grant funded)
  • Introduction of "participatory budgeting" project for first time in City's history

Improving  Efficiency 

The 2018 Recommended Budget seeks to find the most efficient ways to provide high quality public services. Some of the key opportunities include:
  • Digitizing records
    • Implementing a records management grant in the City Clerk/Registrar's office to scan birth, marriage and death certificates from the past 50 years so that they are easily accessible and preserved indefinitely.
    • Purchasing tablet computers for Common Council members to ensure access to all City documents and the City's secure e-mail server.
    • Expanding the City's new service request system which centralizes all service requests of all City departments, tracks progress, ensures timely responses, and documents any gaps in service. In 2018, this service will be expanded through a mobile phone app and a centralized call center for all service requests. To use the website feature now, visit www.kingston-ny.gov/servicerequest 
  • Saving money and our environment
    • The purchase of streetlights from Central Hudson represents a savings of $280,000 in 2018, with even more savings coming at the end of 2018 and into 2019 with the conversion of these streetlights to LED.
    • Through our Climate Smart Kingston Commission, we are making great strides in sustainability in 2018, including the retrofit installation of energy saving storm windows in City Hall through a $100,000 grant made possible through the designation of the City of Kingston as a Clean Energy Community.
    • The 2018 Capital Plan includes the purchase of one automated packer truck and additional refuse and recycling totes in order to continue our efforts to offer trash pick up in the most efficient manner possible. Information and education on increasing recycling will be offered throughout the year.
  • Breaking down silos between City departments
    • Shared staff between departments, including: 
      • A new position in the Information Technology department that will be dedicated to serving the growing needs of the Kingston Police Department.
      • A shared position between the Comptroller's office and Office of Economic and Community Development, ensuring the timely submission and follow up on grant vouchers.
      • A new code enforcement officer to continue and expand our Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) efforts through a joint team of City staff representing the Kingston Police Department and the Building Safety Division.
      • A new position of Environment Asset Manager that will be dedicated to tracking and managing all of the City's fleet (vehicles) and equipment in one central location, ensuring that we are preparing for the future now.
Kingston On The Move

While the planning and implementation of the $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative will be a major focus of our city administration in 2018, we are already managing over $20 Million in grant funding (not including the new DRI funding), of which over $13 Million was been secured in 2016 and 2017. These grant awards are for a variety of initiatives and projects, all of which are moving Kingston forward. 

Our Kingston On The Move section of the City's website includes a lot of great information, including goals for each project, funders and funding amounts, project manager contact information, and the status of each project. 

Information about our Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is posted here. 

To learn about our sustainability efforts, many of which are grant-supported, check out the work of our Climate Smart Kingston Commission and Conservation Advisory Council.
Participatory Budgeting

One of the most innovative initiatives proposed in the 2018 Recommended
Budget is the introduction of an interactive, participatory budgeting project. Of  the $60,000 of revenue projected in the Recommended Budget for off-street parking user fees, Mayor Noble has allocated $30,000 for a participatory budgeting initiative- the first of its kind in Kingston. 

Under this proposal, $10,000 would be earmarked for each business district in Uptown,  Midtown and Downtown. If approved, community members would have an opportunity to voice how those funds would be expended.
Next Steps

Budget Public Hearing
Monday, October 23rd
City Hall, Common Council Chambers

Finance Committee Budget Meetings
All meetings held at 6:30pm at City Hall, Conference Room #1

Monday, October 30 - Kingston Police Department
Monday, November 6 - Parks and Recreation; Citibus
Wednesday, November 15 - Regular Finance
Monday, November 20 - Fire Department; Building Safety
Tuesday, November 21 - City Hall
Monday, November 27 - Department of Public Works; Waste Water Treatment Plant
Steven T. Noble, Mayor | City of Kingston | 845.334.3902 | newsletter@kingston-ny.gov |
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