December 4, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Kingston Common Council
Unanimously Adopts 2019 Budget
KINGSTON, N.Y. -- On December 4, 2018, Mayor Steve Noble’s 2019 Recommended Budget was unanimously adopted by Kingston’s Common Council with very few revisions.
The tax levy will remain frozen at the 2016 level ($17,650,940) with a 0% increase. Tax rates continue to decline for the third consecutive year for homestead (from $9.94 to $9.74) and a large tax rate drop for non-homestead, which will decrease nearly $2.00 per $1,000 in 2019 ($17.39 to $15.59), the lowest in many years. Over $772,281 has been placed in contingency in preparation for potential contract settlements and non-recurring expenses, while keeping all essential services intact with no eliminations of currently filled full-time positions.
“I am grateful to the members of the Common Council for their detailed review and overwhelming support of my Recommended Budget,” said Mayor Noble. “This budget protects our local taxpayers and still advances our ambitious agenda. There is no doubt that 2019 will be an excellent year in the City of Kingston!”
The 2019 Adopted Budget will support a variety of core service areas within the City of Kingston, including:
Infrastructure improvements continue to be a primary focus this coming year. The 2019 budget allocates nearly $1 million for paving Kingston streets in 2019. In addition, a wide variety of grant-supported infrastructure improvements and capital projects are set to move forward and an Office of Grants Management will be established to expand our grant writing and project management capacity. Over half a million dollars has been included in the Department of Public Works Capital Plan.
The Kingston City Land Bank will be fully funded in 2019, with a two-year combined investment of over $3 million into quality housing that is affordable. The Office of Economic and Community Development will move to a refurbished property on Franklin St. in 2019, ensuring that the Office’s services are easily accessible to local residents.
Parks and Recreation
In 2019, the Parks and Recreation Department will continue to manage 110 acres of parkland, including 11 parks, 3 community centers, a riverfront beach, a community pool and an interpretive nature center. The Department will implement a $100,000 capital improvement campaign in its parks facilities, including structural improvements and added amenities at Kingston Point Park, Kingston Dog Park, Hutton Park, Barmann Park, and neighborhood playgrounds.
In addition to annual recurring public safety services, supplemental “turn-out” gear will be purchased for every firefighter in the Kingston Fire Department to support the health and safety of our incredible first responders. The Kingston Police Department will participate in the newly established Peaceful Guardians program in collaboration with the Center for Creative Education, gaining important skills and building connections with youth in our community.
Kingston continues to be a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability in 2019, with a focus on open space planning, waterfront resiliency, LED streetlight replacement, and reducing emissions by investing in electric vehicles and charging stations.
Other 2019 efforts highlighted in the Adopted Budget include: hiring an administrative aide in the Planning Department to support historic commissions; providing extensive training to staff through the Office of Human Rights; and expanding quality of life initiatives through the Health and Wellness and Arts and Cultural Affairs Departments. Finally, collective bargaining unit contracts with CSEA and the Kingston Professional Firefighters Association (KPFFA) have been settled and are reflected in the relevant department budget lines.
“The 2019 Kingston City Budget represents a vast amount of conscientious work,” said Council Majority Leader Reynolds Scott-Childress, Ward 3. “The Mayor and his department heads have demonstrated once again their thorough commitment to keeping the City’s fiscal house in order. I greatly appreciate the careful work of all ten members of the Common Council who reviewed the budget proposal with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that it represents the very best budget for the City at this time. This budget process demonstrated that, working together cooperatively, Kingston’s elected officials can produce excellent, affordable, and forward-looking services for all the hard-working residents of our great City.”
“The Common Council was unanimous in approving this budget after a thorough examination. Over six Finance committee meetings and Caucus, each and every line item was reviewed,” said Finance Committee Chair Douglas Koop, Ward 2. “Together with the Mayor and the respective Department Heads, our Finance Committee looked at ways to lessen expenses and increase revenue across the board. We are able to adopt this budget with the confidence that our City will have the resources needed to move forward a comprehensive plan of action.”
The Common Council made two minor modifications to the Mayor’s original budget, including a shift of funding from the Mayor’s Office to contingency, based on the Mayor’s recommendation, and an internal transfer in the Kingston Police Department budget from training to overtime allotment.
The 2019 Adopted Budget will be posted at: www.kingston-ny.gov under ‘Latest News’.