December 17, 2021 - In this issue:
Mayor's Message
Covid Update + Rapid Test Giveaway
2022 Budget Approved by Council
Celebrate Midtown Event Tomorrow
Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan is Launched
New Director of Arts & Cultural Affairs
Free Holiday Parking
DOS Grant for Kingston Point Park Phase 2
A Message From Mayor Steve Noble:

Dear Friends,

As we head into the holidays and as the Omicron variant is on the rise, we are continuing to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, and to be cautious as you celebrate with loved ones.

Next week, thanks to our County Executive, we will be distributing free at-home rapid Covid testing kits at City Hall. We appreciate the County providing our community with testing kits just in time for the holidays.

Our wish is that everyone would have a safe and healthy holiday, and these kits will help families to take a Covid test before gathering and potentially exposing others. The County, along with us here in Kingston, are working hard to slow the spread of Covid. Hopefully the reassurance of a negative test will help brighten your holidays.

-Steve
Covid Update & Free Rapid Tests at City Hall

As of Friday, December 17, 2021, there are 1,040 confirmed Covid cases in UIster County, 146 in Kingston. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 313 deaths across the county.

Visit the Ulster County Vaccine Resource Center for more info and to make an appointment for vaccine and boosters.

Free rapid Covid testing kits will be available for Kingston residents at City Hall starting on Monday, December 20, 2021 from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

County Executive Ryan secured 33,000 rapid at-home test kits to distribute to residents across Ulster County at no cost. The initiative will assist schools and businesses in remaining open, and will allow residents to take a test before gathering with family, friends, and those at higher risk for Covid-19. Each kit has two tests with nasal swabs that provide results in 15 minutes.

The free rapid testing kits will be available at the side at entrance City Hall (420 Broadway) from Monday, December 20 to Wednesday, December 22, between the hours of 10:00am and 12:00pm, until supplies run out. Masks must be worn at all times in City Hall.

City Hall will be closed on December 23-24 for the Christmas holiday.
At a pop-up event at the Midtown Neighborhood Center on Tuesday, hundreds of tests were distributed
Photo credit: Gloria Waslyn
2022 Budget Approved by Common Council
Mayor Noble’s 2022 Recommended Budget has been adopted as amended by Kingston’s Common Council. The 2022 General Fund budget is $46,721,659.
 
The tax levy will remain frozen at $17,650,940 with a 0% increase for the seventh year in a row. Tax rates continue to decline for the sixth consecutive year for homestead (from $8.98 to $8.82 per $1,000 of assessed value), and non-homestead (from $14.24 to $14.14 per $1,000 of assessed value). From 2016, the homestead has decreased $1.34, which is 13.2% reduction. The decrease in non-homestead from 2016 is $4.17, which is a 22.8% reduction.
 
The 2022 Adopted Budget increases essential services for the community with the addition of 22 full-time City staff. The positions will be added across many City departments, including three new police officers, five new DPW staff, 4 additional Parks & Recreation employees, and four project managers.
 
In addition to the robust staff increase, the budget includes funding to support Mayor Noble’s Retention and Recruitment Plan for attracting and retaining qualified candidates for City positions.
 
Also included in the budget are major investment in capital projects and equipment. Infrastructure projects moving forward in 2022 include: Wilbur Ave. paving, Franklin Street Complete Streets, Henry Street Safe Routes to Schools, DRI Uptown Transportation Improvements, Andy Murphy Center Rooftop Solar Installation, Midtown Parking Lots Green Infrastructure, Hasbrouck CSO Reduction, and the Midtown Sewer Replacement Project.
 
The budget allows for $1.5 million in equipment, including four police vehicles, in-car video systems and a Narcotics Analyzer for the Kingston Police Department; a snow blower, dump truck, swap loader, and refuse packer for the Public Works Department; a hybrid vehicle for the Building Department and more major equipment investments.
 
“The 2022 budget will support rebuilding in the City of Kingston–not only with vital infrastructure and important projects like the massive renovations at Dietz Stadium, but by supporting our current City staff, who worked bravely through the pandemic. The budget will help us recruit qualified candidates across our departments. With additional staff, we will be increasing the services that we provide to our residents. From trash collection to building permits, the people of Kingston will see a notable increase in essential services,” said Mayor Noble. “I want to thank our Comptroller John Tuey for his expert guidance during this lengthy process, and to the Common Council for their diligence in reviewing the budget and thoughtful process of protecting taxpayer dollars.” 
 
To view Mayor Noble’s 2022 Proposed Budget and presentation, visit https://kingston-ny.gov/budget2022.
Midtown Celebrate Event Tomorrow!
On Saturday, December 18, 2021 from 12:00-3:00pm, businesses in Midtown Kingston will feature open houses and special deals. Over 40 businesses are participating! We encourage everyone to get out and support these local businesses, which are vital to the character and charm of the Midtown community.
Ped/Bike Master Plan is Launched with App & Survey
The City of Kingston is creating a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP) to inform our efforts to improve conditions for active transportation users (non-motorized travel such as walking and biking), reduce vehicle congestion and emissions, and support a culture of health across the community.
 
To assist in data collection, an interactive crowdsourcing app and a public survey has been launched. The app allows community members to map where they often travel by walking or biking, provide recommendations for improvements to their routes (such as adding a bike lane or repairing a sidewalk), and to upload pictures. The survey is collecting information about if, when, and how residents and visitors walk or bike in Kingston. Both the app and survey are available at EngageKingston.com.
 
The webpage and the survey are able to be translated to Spanish by clicking “Select Language” at the top right corner of the EngageKingston page. The interactive app is not able to be provided in Spanish, however, Spanish speakers may visit the Clerk’s Office in City Hall or call the Bilingual Clerk at 845-334-3914, who will interpret and enter the information into the app. 
 
A public meeting to further engage the community in the process will be held on January 18, 2022. Consultants and City staff will review the project, share initial community responses, and invite additional input.
 
Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan Public Meeting
January 18, 2022 at 6:00pm
Webinar link
Passcode: FwHUr4Ax


To hear Mayor Noble discuss the PBMP with Director of Health and Wellness Emily Flynn on this week's "It's the Mayor!" radio show, click here.
New Director of Art & Cultural Affairs
Mayor Noble has appointed Kitt Potter as the new Director of Arts & Cultural Affairs. She will start on January 3, 2022.
 
Potter brings to the City of Kingston’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs over 20 years of experience in research, strategic planning, resource and program development, and festival/event management. Potter has played a lead role in securing major grants and sponsorships on behalf of education, business and government institutions as well as community, youth, and arts-based organizations in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
 
Potter’s previous work history includes Executive Director for Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, Interim Executive Director of ArtSpace Herndon, as well as a Grant Writer for SUNY Sullivan County, Director of Development/Community Events Coordinator for the Glenn Hines Memorial Boys and Girls Club and Director for the Hudson Catskill Regional Workforce Development Institute.

Potter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Psychology from Howard University. She serves as a board member of Calling All Poets, on the Programming Committee for the Rosendale Theater Collective, and on the Woodstock Cultural Alliance.
Kitt Potter
Free Holiday Parking
The City of Kingston is offering free holiday parking until January 1, 2022. Parking in lots and at meters across the City will be free for up to 2 hours.

“To help our residents celebrate the holiday season, Kingston will offer free two-hour parking in the lots and at meters across the City,” said Mayor Noble. “We are opening up the free parking one week earlier than in years past, to encourage all residents who are able to visit our wonderful shops and restaurants. This year in particular, I feel it’s so important to support our local businesses. As always, we hope you will do so safely and follow appropriate Covid recommendations—and I hope the extended free parking helps to bring holiday cheer to you and your family.”
                                                         
During this time, parking staff will focus on meter repair and routine maintenance, but will be issuing safety violations such as blocking fire hydrants, parking in handicap spots, double parking, and expired inspections. Drivers must observe all traffic and parking rules and park in legal spots. Regular parking enforcement will resume on January 3, 2022.
DOS Grant for Kingston Point Park Project Phase 2
The City of Kingston has been awarded a $654,500 grant for the Kingston Point Park Improvements Project’s Phase 2.
 
Governor Hochul announced grants awarded through the NYSDOS's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, including $654,500 to address flooding at Kingston Point Park. Phase 2 will improve drainage and elevation on one side of the parking lot, and will return the other side to a natural wetland. The project will also improve access to the BMX bike facility and will enhance connections to the Empire State Trail with new crosswalks, sidewalks, and pathways.
 
Phase 1, which included the creation of a youth soccer field and a new parking lot, was recently completed. In addition to added amenities, the project incorporated accessibility, sustainability, and resiliency in the design, which addressed sea level rising. Phase 1 included green infrastructure elements to manage stormwater and to maximize green space. The soccer field will be open this spring once the grass is established and the lines/goals are installed. A new accessible playground will also be constructed at the site this spring.
 
Current conditions at the Kingston Point Park parking lot
Boards & Commission Openings
The Mayor is looking for volunteers to serve on the Community Development Advisory Board. Board members help provide advice on which organizations to provide Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The 2022 CDBG process starts in January.

The Ulster County Planning Board is looking for applicants from Kingston. To apply to serve as a Kingston representative, please fill out an application here
Sent on behalf of:
Mayor Steven T. Noble
845.334.3902
mayor@kingston-ny.gov
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