Category Archives: Announcements

WHAT TO EXPECT: Town of Ulster Meetings Town Board (10/16) and Planning Board (10/21)

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By Rebecca Martin

The following is information on what to expect at the upcoming Town of Ulster Town Board and Planning Board meetings.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

Thank you.

 

 

TOWN OF ULSTER
TOWN BOARD

WHAT
Town of Ulster Town Board
1 Town Hall Road
Lake Katrine, NY

WHEN
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
7:00pm

WHERE
Town of Ulster Town Hall

AGENDA
Click on this LINK

The Town of Ulster Town Board will meet at 7:00pm. The public is invited. Public comment on any matters will be made available following “Old Business” at the end of the evening. We expect that to occur between 8:00pm – 8:30pm.   We ask that all residents prepare a statement in advance to be no more than 3 minutes in length. Please show respect to municipalities that you are visiting.

Their meetings are always taped (audio) which we will have to share when it is uploaded.

 

TOWN OF ULSTER 
PLANNING BOARD

WHAT
Town of Ulster Planning Board

WHEN
Tuesday, October 21st  2014
7:00pm

WHERE
Town of Ulster Town Hall
1 Town Hall Road
Lake Katrine, NY

AGENDA
Click on this LINK

The Town of Ulster Planning Board will be reviews the SITE PLAN (New Business) of the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project. The public is invited.  We are requesting time for public comment now, and will update you on the status.

If public comment is made available, we ask that all residents prepare a statement in advance to be no more than 3 minutes in length. Please show respect to municipalities that you are visiting.

Their meetings are always taped (audio) which we will have to share when it is uploaded.

 

IMPORTANT marks to hit this week: October 13th – 17th

By Rebecca Martin

These are the important marks to hit as we enter into a new week regarding the Niagara Bottling Company Proposal:

* All week long *
CALL Martin Brand regional director of the NYS DEC region-3. 845/256-3033. Request that the DEC be lead agency for the SEQR review of the Niagara Bottling Company proposal. You can email him too at:  martin.brand@dec.ny.gov

* Tuesday, October 14th 6:30pm – 8:30pm *
ATTEND the upcoming Kingston Conservation Advisory Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/14 at 6:30pm.   Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen is scheduled to be present to answer questions regarding Kingston’s Water Supply as it pertains to the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. Project.  The Kingston CAC meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 at City Hall. These meetings are open to the public.  This meeting will be held in council chambers, the large room on the top floor of Kingston City Hall.  This event will be filmed. 

* Wednesday, October 15th  – 8:10am *
CALL in at 8:10am and ask Mayor Shayne Gallo all of your questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.  WGHQ 920 AM    845/331-9255  See their SCHEDULE

* Thursday, October 16th – 7:10am *
CALL in at 7:10am and ask Town of Ulster Jim Quigley all of your questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.  WGHQ 920 AM    845/331-9255  See their SCHEDULE

Niagara Bottling Company Proposal. Could Tax Abatement For 10 Years Impact Kingston City School District?

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By Rebecca Martin

The Niagara Bottling Co. project is looking to come to the area taking advantage of the ‘Start-Up NY” initiative (‘Start-Up NY’ helps you start, expand or relocate your qualified business to a tax-free zone in NY State’)

In simple terms, that means that if they were to ever come to Tech City in the Town of Ulster, their taxes would be abated for 10 YEARS. Does that include school tax too?

For if it does, guess which School District Tech City is in, where this proposed project would be built?

The Kingston City School District  (see “Existing Community Services C.4 on the attached form).

Our City officials at this time appear to not be familiar with Start-Up NY and how the tax abatements work. From what we can tell right now, taxes abated under Start-Up NY is a State Decision. It would not be a PILOT involving the IDA. We will continue to check that to find evidence to back up what many believe to be the case. 

READ the Governer’s Program Bill from 2013.
“100% tax-free (e.g. including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax).

 

 

WGHQ: Live Call-in: Mayor Shayne Gallo and Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley

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By  Rebecca Martin

Call-in to ask questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Proposal to both City of Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo and Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley on WGHQ 920 AM.  845/331-9255

Mayor Shayne Gallo: 8:10am 
Wednesday, October 15th

Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley: 7:10am
Thursday, October 16th

Hit it Kingston citizens.

View their schedule HERE

What to Expect: October 7th Common Council Meeting in Kingston – Public Comment Session

Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

Kingston’s Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

 

VIEW the post on KingstonCitizens.org
VIEW the event invitation on Facebook

WHAT
Kingston Common Council Meeting
Public Comment

WHEN
Tuesday, October 7th at 7:30pm

WHERE
Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers (top floor)
420 Broadway (across from the Kingston High School)
Kingston, NY

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By Rebecca Martin

It’s great to see so many residents and neighbors planning to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th to speak or to simply be present on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. project.

As you know, the Niagara Bottling Co. project came out of the blue for most everyone with an early article in the Times Herald Record (September 10th) and shortly after, making front page news in both the Daily Freeman and Kingston Times.  From the proposal presented by Peter Romano of the Chazen Company to the Town of Ulster Planning Board on September 16th, Niagara Bottling Co. expressed their desire to begin their build in 2015. In doing so, they would be using the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell as well as scouting out other ‘spring’ sources in Ulster County and beyond. The project was approved to be sent for a SEQRA review with the Town of Ulster Town Board taking the lead. A resolution was granted on 9/18/14 – just about the time the public became aware by the media.  Romano’s presentations were not on either agendas posted by the Town of Ulster.

Because of the swiftness of it all, KingstonCitizens.org prepared a Facebook event so that the public could go in front of the Common Council as soon as possible.  Although our passion for the subject is a no-brainer, this effort also illustrates how important it is to the people for transparent processes to be a priority for all local municipalities.  Local officials, take note.

(It may be necessary to do the very same thing at the next Town of Ulster Town Board meeting, too.  Their next Town Board meeting is on Thursday, October 16th at 7:00pm.  Public comment appears to occur later in the meeting. Stay tuned).

 

WHAT TO EXPECT. WHAT TO DO

1. ARRIVAL: We expect a very large turnout. The meeting begins at 7:30pm, so please plan to arrive early (7:00pm) so to find parking, to sign-up to speak when the list becomes available and to get a seat. It’ll be standing room only.

2. KINGSTON COMMON COUNCIL: It appears that the Common Council were caught off guard as much as we were. Many, if not most, are as concerned too. As a first step, lets work with the council in finding a solution by including an action that you wish the Council to take that is well within their jurisdiction and abilities. We want them to come back to the table with an action in response to the public’s requests. 

In Kingston, those that issued the ‘will share’ was City of Kingston Superintendent Judy Hansen of the Kingston Water Department. As an independent board, The Mayor of Kingston is the only public official who is a member. Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche was given the role as council liaison, though it is unclear if he ever attended a meeting. The council, unfortunately, was never alerted.

Suggested Actions to request:

- For the Common Council to organize a public hearing/debate with city officials and guest speakers (such as Food & Water Watch).

- That a resolution be drafted to protect groundwater and Kingston’s surface water (Cooper Lake) from being being sold to private companies to bottle and to sell.

3. PUBLIC COMMENT: The public is taking advantage of the council meeting “public comment” period where anyone is able to speak. On his evening, we will be discussing Niagara, the use of Cooper Lake, and other items.  As per council rules,  council members “are not allowed to engage in debate during this period.”   If the project gets any further, there will be time for debate and more. That’s a promise.

3. COMMENT LENGTH: Because of the number of people who will want to speak on the 7th,  we ask that you come prepared with a statement. What is typical is that a speaker is given 3 minutes each. Try to keep it to that length and as noted above, consider ending with an action that you wish the Kingston Common Council to make that is in their jurisdiction.

4. THOSE IN FAVOR…:  Jobs will be the argument made by those who attend in favor of the Niagara Bottling Co. project.  For those who wish to, please prepare facts to counter.

5. FILMING: The public comment period will be filmed.

If you have further questions, please send them along to Rebecca Martin: rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

 

Kingston Citizens: Niagara Bottling Company Project. YOUR WATER IS IN PLAY.

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Click on the image to view the film “tapped” that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

 

By Rebecca Martin

We have recently created a Facebook invitation for the next Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th.  Please consider coming to speak during public comment (at the beginning of the meeting) on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. plan to bottle and sell Kingston City Water.

The timing here is crucial, given that the group has apparently been in private talks with City officials for several months. Media reports say that they are planning to get moving as early as 2015.

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION:

The City of Kingston’s water source COOPER LAKE had its last drought conditions in September of 2012. 

Kingston citizens are encouraged to attend the next Common Council Meeting on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7th at 7:30pm.
 * Please come at 7:15pm to sign-up for your chance to speak and to get a seat *

If you wish to speak out during the public comment portion of the evening (which is first) to:

*  REQUEST THAT THE COMMON COUNCIL ORGANIZE A PUBLIC MEETING ON THE NIAGARA BOTTLING COMPANY’S PROPOSAL TO USE KINGSTON CITIZENS WATER SUPPLY TO BOTTLE AND TO SELL.

*  Furthermore, to ASK THAT A RESOLUTION BE DRAFTED TO PROTECT KINGSTON’S WATER SOURCE BY CLARIFYING THAT IT BE USED FOR TAXPAYING RESIDENT CONSUMPTION AND NOT FOR USE BY PRIVATE COMPANIES TO BOTTLE AND TO SELL.

 

If public speaking isn’t your thing, but you want to help: 

* CALL THE MAYOR’S OFFICE AND YOUR ALDERMAN.
Mayor Shayne Gallo: 845/334-3902

* WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR (if you do this, please send us a copy at rebbytunes@gmail.com)

* SHARE THIS INFORMATION. LETS PACK CITY HALL ON OCTOBER 7th. RESIDENTS CAN SPEAK, OR JUST BE PRESENT TO WITNESS AND TO SUPPORT A COMMUNICATIVE PROCESS.

 

HERE’S WHY:

“Start Up New York” is an initiative created by Governor Cuomo to attract new business to NY State. As an incentive, they are forgiving taxes with abatements for ten years.

To take advantage of this, it was recently announced that Niagara Bottling Company out of Irvine California was interested in opening a production facility in the Town of Ulster, where the TOU Planning Board would take a lead role.

For Niagara to come to the area, however, they would need a local water source and are looking to the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell.

According to reports – as a starting point, Niagara would purchase one million gallons of our water per day (GPD) with up to 50 trucks moving out of the facility 24/7. At full capacity, their requirement would be 1.75 million GPD of our water, requiring an additional pipe line that they would install (concerning), with up to 260 trucks in and out of the facility 24/7.

It looks as though some or all of the 342,500 gallons of good drinking water per day, based on their proposal, would be used to cool new plastic bottles during production. They call this “non-biologic waste” that they ‘envision’ being disposed of into the Esopus Creek.

The City of Kingston’s Water Board is independent. Probably left over from our long ago ‘Commissioner’ form of government. The current members include Joseph DeCicco (President), Al Radel, Robert Niedzielski, Raymond McSpirit, Dennis Croswell and the City of Kingston’s Mayor Shayne Gallo.

Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

Kingston’s Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

The City of Kingston’s Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen (with what we can only assume had Board approval, including the Mayor of Kingston who sits on the board) has issued a “Will share” agreement without the knowledge or approval of the Common Council. (Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche is council liaison to the Water Department. It isn’t known at this time if he was aware of the proposal or had attended any of the meetings). “Will share” means that the board is confident that Kingston can provide the requested amount of water to Niagara to bottle and to sell and still service the needs of the community.  They have not yet negotiated the water rate.

The project appears to have been on the table for some time, and according to this week’s Kingston Times, in order to not “kill” the project they kept it quiet until their presentation on Tuesday September 16th in front of the Town of Ulster’s Planning Board. The presentation, by the way, was not the Planning Board’s agenda. The announcement of the Town of Ulster’s leading role was released two days later in the media.

Here are some items to consider.

According to Kingston’s Charter it states that:

1. Section C11-5 speaks of Kingston being able to supply water to ‘other than inhabitants of the City of Kingston and outside the corporate limits, etc”. This indicates residents. Not private companies.

2. The common council must “assent in the way of constructing and maintaining waterworks for supplying said city and its inhabitants with pure and wholesome water; exercise such powers as are necessary and proper to accomplish such purpose and shall proceed in the manner hereinafter prescribed.” What does that mean here? That any transaction must move through council, as selling our water – particularly in the midst of climate change and drought – has got to be weighed cautiously.

We are not certain if Water Department Superintendent Judith Hansen has the authority to issue a ‘Will Serve’ agreement as she has done. The council is the last word in gauging what may or may not jeopardize Kingston citizens in receiving water in the future in any way.

They have not yet had the opportunity to voice in.

In the way of jobs – they offer some and it’s attractive. We all want them. However, we must counter the benefit with what may be the future costs of potentially needing a new water source and its infrastructure in the case we are drained dry. Might a business with a home base in California be concerned if we were ever in that boat who comes to the area for 10 years tax free? It’s reasonable to be skeptical.

Cooper Lake is not an aquifer. It’s a man made lake fed by a very small stream. Is it going to have the capacity to fill their need and ours over the course of 10 years? Is there a back-up source in place in the case that Cooper Lake can no longer provide the community with water?

Work with your elected officials to identify the pros and cons of this deal. Future generations of Kingstonians are counting on us all to make sound decisions.

KingstonCitizens.org presents “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on May 28th at 6:00pm.

 

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KingstonCitizens.org to host a public educational forum and discussion, the second in its series, called “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on Wednesday, May 28th at the Kingston Public Library 55 Franklin Street, in Kingston NY from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.  Panel guests include Alderman-at-Large James Noble, Majority Leader and Ward One (1)  Alderman Matt Dunn and Minority Leader and Ward Nine (9) Alderwoman Deb Brown.

Kingston, NY –  The city of Kingston has a total of nine wards, each having a single representative to act on their behalf. The “Alderwoman or Alderman” (the role of the ‘common man’) carries a two year term and collectively, acts as the city of Kingston’s legislative body that is also as the  “Common Council”.

KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to present, the second in an ongoing educational series on civics in Kingston, a public forum discussion called “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on, Wednesday, May 28th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY.  All are invited to attend.

Guest panelists include James Noble, Alderman-at-Large; Matt Dunn, Majority Leader (Democrat) and Ward 1 Alderman; and Deb Brown, Minority Leader (Republican) and Ward 9 Alderwoman. The group will discuss their roles and relationship to their ward, constituents, council and collaboration with those at Kingston City Hall.

The evening will be co-moderated by Rebecca Martin, founder of KingstonCitizens.org and Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC and the former Deputy Director of Planning at Ulster County.

This event will be streamed courtesy of Kingston News.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at: rebbytunes@earthlink.net

VIEW: “Lessons in Civics” by KC.org:  What are City Manager / City Administrator Forms of Government? 

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Our Moderators

About KingstonCitizens.org: KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, citizen-run organization focused on relevant and current issues about Kingston, N.Y and working to foster transparent communication by encouraging growing citizen participation.  The founder of KC.org and evening co-moderator Rebecca Martin is a world renowned and critically acclaimed musician who has 25 years of experience as a manager, community organizer and activist.

About Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC:  Berky, the evening’s co-moderator, has over 25 twenty years of experience in the fields of architecture, conservation, economic development, and urban planning in the non-profit, government, academic and private sectors. Prior to launching Hone Strategic, she served as Deputy Director of Ulster County Planning for over seven years, where she was the lead researcher and liaison to the Ulster County Charter Commission. Before moving to Ulster County, she worked in Washington, DC at the World Bank and Urban Institute, at the University of Rome (Italy) and as a project manager of design and construction for New York City’s major cultural institutions. Berky has lived for extended periods in Argentina, Chile, France, Israel, Italy, and Spain. She earned a B.A. in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook and Masters’ degrees in Urban Planning (M.Phil.) and Real Estate Development (M.S.) at Columbia University, where she is also currently completing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning on the subject of environmental economics.

 

 

HOLD THE DATE! “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on May 28th.

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We are pleased to announce our next Educational Forum to occur on Wednesday, May 28th at the Kingston Public Library from 6:00pm -8:00pm. Our topic that evening will be: “Exploring the role of Kingston’s Common Council” with special guests Alderman at Large James Noble, Majority Leader Matt Dunn and Minority Leader Deb Brown.

SPREAD THE WORD: Download Flyer for Educational Series and Share.

Help KC.org get out the word on its upcoming public informational event.

Please print and share this flyer. Help more of Kingston Citizens to be in attendance!

DOWNLOAD FLYER: KC.org City Manager/Administrator

KingstonCitizens.org Hosts Public Educational Forum and Discussion on City Administrator and City Manager Forms of Government on Tuesday, March 25th.

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KingstonCitizens.org will host a public educational forum and discussion on “City Administrator and City Manager Forms of Government” on Tuesday, March 25th at the Kingston Public Library 55 Franklin Street, in Kingston NY from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.  Panel guests include Meredith Robson, City Administrator of the City of Beacon, NY and Chuck Strome, City Manager of New Rochelle, NY. 

Kingston, NY –  For the past twenty years, the city of Kingston, NY has what is known as a ‘Strong Mayor’ form of government, where a mayor is elected into office based on popular vote to manage the city’s $36+ million dollar budget, departments, committees, commissions and an aging citywide infrastructure.

KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to present a public educational forum and discussion on two alternative forms of government titled “City Administrator and City Manager Forms of Government” on Tuesday, March 25th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY. All are welcome to attend.

Guest panelists include Meredith Robson, City Administrator of the City of Beacon and Chuck Strome, City Manager of New Rochelle, NY to discuss their roles and relationships with the public and elected officials.

The evening will be co-moderated by Rebecca Martin, founder of KingstonCitizens.org and former Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust and Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC and the former Deputy Director of Planning at Ulster County.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at: rebbytunes@earthlink.net

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Our Panelists

Meredith Robson, City of Beacon Administrator:   Meredith Robson has served in a variety of governmental positions for over 26 years.  She has served in all levels of government, except County government, and her career has spanned three states.  She is currently the City Administrator for the City of Beacon. Ms. Robson has been very active in professional associations throughout her career, including serving on the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials Executive Committee and in her current roles as President of the New York City/County Management Association and Northeast Regional Vice President for the International City/County Management Association. Ms. Robson is an ICMA Credentialed Manager and has a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  She has participated in numerous professional development programs, including the following leadership training opportunities:  Wallkill Valley Community Leadership Alliance, Leadership Greater Waterbury and Pace University Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program.

Chuck Strome, New Rochelle, NY City Manager On November 12, 2002, the City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Charles B. “Chuck” Strome, III as City Manager. Mr. Strome served as Acting City Manager since March 2002 and as Deputy City Manager since 1995. Prior to that, he served as Director of Emergency Services from 1989 through 1992, and then became Assistant City Manager / City Coordinator. 

Mr. Strome has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and a Masters of Public Administration-Government from Pace University. 

Before joining government, Mr. Strome held positions at Hudson Westchester Radio where he was News Director, Vice President, and Program Director. 

Mr. Strome is a member of the International City Managers’ Association, and former president of the New York State City / County Managers Association. He is also past President, Vice President, and Secretary of the Municipal Administrators Association of Metropolitan New York.

Our Moderators

About KingstonCitizens.org: KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, citizen-run organization focused on relevant and current issues about Kingston, N.Y and working to foster transparent communication by encouraging growing citizen participation.  The founder of KC.org and evening co-moderator Rebecca Martin is a world renowned and critically acclaimed musician who has 25 years of experience as a manager, community organizer and activist.

About Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC:  Berky, the evening’s co-moderator, has over 25 twenty years of experience in the fields of architecture, conservation, economic development, and urban planning in the non-profit, government, academic and private sectors. Prior to launching Hone Strategic, she served as Deputy Director of Ulster County Planning for over seven years, where she was the lead researcher and liaison to the Ulster County Charter Commission. Before moving to Ulster County, she worked in Washington, DC at the World Bank and Urban Institute, at the University of Rome (Italy) and as a project manager of design and construction for New York City’s major cultural institutions. Berky has lived for extended periods in Argentina, Chile, France, Israel, Italy, and Spain. She earned a B.A. in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook and Masters’ degrees in Urban Planning (M.Phil.) and Real Estate Development (M.S.) at Columbia University, where she is also currently completing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning on the subject of environmental economics.