PUBLIC HEARING ON THURSDAY 6/14. Request Agency Postpone Vote on Increase in Single-Stream Tipping Fees.

CITIZEN REQUEST.  Please request that the UCRRA board postpone its vote on Resolution No. 2446 that proposes a single-stream recycling fee increase (intended to begin on July 1st) to allow time for discussion, to budget appropriately and consider alternative options.

You can also call your City of Kingston Ulster County Legislator representatives to request that the county reinstate the Recycling Oversight Committee:

City of Kingston District 5, Lynn Eckert 
845/392-3205
lynn.Eckert@co.ulster.ny.us

City of Kingston District 6,  David Donaldson
845/399-8709
dbdonaldso@yahoo.com

City of Kingston District 7, Brian Woltman
845/331-2202
brian.woltman@co.ulster.ny.us

On Thursday, June 14th at 5:00 pm,  the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) will host a public hearing at the Ulster County Legislative Chambers located at 244 Fair Street, 6th floor (VIEW our Facebook Event) on the following resolutions:

Resolution No. 2445 states that UCRRA will no longer accept single-stream recyclables effective at the close of business December 31, 2018.

Resolution No. 2446 authorizes and approves the modification of the 2018 Tipping Fees and other Charges, to take effect July 1, 2018.

The event will be followed by UCRRA’s regular board meeting to vote on the proposed changes less than two weeks from their public hearing on Wednesday, June 27th at 12:00 pm at their offices located at 999 Flatbush Road in Kingston (VIEW our Facebook Event).

According to Resolution No. 2446, “…the Agency hereby approves the modification of the 2018 schedule of the tipping fee and other charges as it relates to single stream recyclables raising the tipping fee for single stream recyclables from $20.00 per ton to an amount set each month by the Executive Director, by calculating the average rate the Agency was charged to remove single stream recyclables in the previous month, plus a $15.00 per ton fee reflecting the Agency’s cost of storing and handling such material….for single stream recyclables will be adjusted the first day of each month commencing July 1, 2018 based on the rate calculated by the Executive Director.

A fluctuating increase in single-stream recycling tipping fees from month to month would make it a real challenge for our community to know what to anticipate. Given Kingston is in the midst of its already adopted 2017/2018 working budget with recycling tipping costs accounted for, how is this change mid-year in the best interest of 24,000 Ulster County residents who will bear the brunt?

“What is the financial impact on the taxpayers of Ulster county?”
– City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

“We can’t pass laws, there’s no flow control on recycling.  The vast majority doesn’t come to us. The impact on taxpayers, hardly any difference at all.” 
– Timothy Rose,  Executive Director, UCRRA

“Just us.”  
– City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

From UCRRA’s Informational Meeting, May 2018 VIEW
Mayor Steve Noble’s Quote begins at 34:23

How did we get here?  There is still much that is not understood, such as:

1. During UCRRA’s Informational Meeting last month, board members stated that a change in the Single-Stream market was known in or around October of 2017.  In April, an article in the local paper announced UCRRA’s plans to discontinue single stream by 12/31/18 and to also raise rates to take effect on 7/1 until single-stream would conclude at the end of the year. If the Ulster County Legislature has oversight of UCRRA, at what point were they notified of this change?

2. The Ulster County Legislature has a “Recycling Oversight Committee” that is charged to look at the changes in recycling trends and materials for the county has been inactive having  “…only met a few times over the past decade.” according to Manna Jo Greene .  Without it, how has the legislature used its oversight responsibilities to make any recommendations to UCRRA or impacted communities prior to proposed legislation being drafted?

3. Were there any communication made by UCCRA and the UC Legislature to the City of Kingston regarding these proposed changes prior to April, 2018?

There will be many questions posed during the public hearing on Thursday afternoon. The public deserves time for all parties to respond, discuss and deliberate before changes are made to UCRRA’s single-stream system or rate changes are made.  A postponement of Resolution No. 2446 is a reasonable request.

 

Kingston High School Junior Kira Milgrim Organizes Peers in Support of Resolution on Stricter Gun Laws.

City of Kingston High School Junior Kira Milgrim is taking a stand against gun violence.

“I’ve been involved in the Kingston Democrat Committee since the Election of Trump. I’ve come to love politics, discussion, and the fact that one voice can make a difference when heard by the right people. People coming together to speak about their thoughts and views is the definition of democracy.  But recently our democracy has been challenged by another force. The NRA has time and time again over-ruled common sense in favor of money, and corrupt politicians have followed suit. People don’t feel safe at school, or at events of any sort. Many students at Kingston High School have been eager to take some sort of action.”

Tonight, the Kingston Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee will vote to pass to the floor a memorializing resolution “Calling on State and Federal Elected Officials to Act Now to Eradicate the Use of Firearms in Mass Shootings and Unlawful Acts of Violence”.   Milgrim’s effort will help to engage Kingston youth in civics and in support of stricter gun laws.

“As students who cannot vote, it’s important that we take part in our local government in any way possible – such as attending Laws and Rules committee meetings. It’s such an incredible statement for students to show up at a government event, and let our presence take the place of the votes.  We are excited to stand up for what we believe to be the moral thing to do. We’re tired of feeling anxious in school – that another student could get angry at us one day and replicate the horrors of the school shootings we now hear about on a daily basis.”  says Milgrim. “I’ve finally found something that can give me hope. I feel as though my voice is being heard with this stricter gun law memorializing resolution.”  

The Kingston Common Council Laws and Rule Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 21st at 6:30pm at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway) Conference Room #1, top floor of City Hall.  The memorializing resolution is being proposed by Ward 3 Alderman and Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress.

VIEW the facebook event.

Kira also enjoys participating in the weekly Kingston of the Democratic Committee meetings where she has volunteered time to work on the committee’s website.

“It’s because of local government, and the adults in this community that are supportive beyond belief that I can go to Democrat breakfasts and meet the congressional candidates and get these awesome opportunities. Every student should have these same oppertunities. Everyone’s voice should be heard. There’s a whole reservoir of thoughts that is constantly being shunned from society; we students have ideas that are never shared because we have struggled to jam our foot in the door and be taken seriously.” says Kira.  “Now that we finally have, the door is flying wide open.”

VIDEO: 2/22/18 Public Scoping Meeting – Proposed Lincoln Park Gas-Fired Power Plant in the Town of Ulster.

By Rebecca Martin

There was a full house on Thursday night of concerned citizens giving testimony to improve the Draft Scope of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster.

NEXT STEPS:  Please join us during a full day Public Scoping Brainstorming session on Sunday, March 4th from 10am – 5pm at the Senior Center in the Town of Ulster (located at 1 Town Hall Drive in Lake Katrine).     VIEW Facebook Event

Citizens will have the opportunity to work together with experts and draft strong comments of concern for study for the project to submit to the Town Board and applicant before the March 22nd deadline. A full list of experts who will be on hand that day to be announced. 

The TENTATIVE work schedule is (TBA):

10:00 am – 11:30 am
On air quality and noise.

11:30 am – 1:30 pm
On community character, community services and cultural Resources.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
On vegetation and wildlife

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
On water (surface, ground and wetlands), storm water and waste water.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
On socioeconomic and fiscal (can also include alternatives to the proposal)

Please join us. Food will available all day. This event is open to all citizens, NFP and municipal leaders wanting to contribute.

Sponsored by TownOfUlsterCitizens.org with support from KingstonCitizens.org

 

                                          Video #1:  Click on image to view

 

3:50 – 7:00
Presentation
Chazen and Companies

7:01 – 20:15
PowerPoint Presentation
Peter Rood, GlidePath

 

CITIZEN TESTIMONY

20:30 – 22:54
Sandra Pierson, Ulster Gardens Court
Air quality and seniors with compromised breathing issues.

22:56 – 26:20
Jeffrey Anzevino, Scenic Hudson. VIEW Testimony
Alternative analysis, Visual Analysis, Climate Change and GHG Emissions, Other Air Emissions, Fiscal Impact, Cumulative Impacts, Threatened/Endangered Species, Project Purpose and Energy Benefits, Compliance with Zoning. 

26:30 -29:50
Regis Obijiski, Legde Road 
Safety and Emissions

30:13 – 33:27
Judith Carpova, Kerhonkson
Concerns of project/precedent setting for Ulster County.

33:28 – 35:15
Vicki Luckerini, Ledge Road (@ ground zero)
Zoning laws

35:17 – 38:15
Lowell Thing, Ledge Road
“No additional pollution to my air or anyone elses.”

38:35 – 40:55
Suzanne Thing, Ledge Road
Availability of alternative sites to include alternative sites, not just for proposed project but an all battery alternative. What other sites might be possible? 

41:00 – 43:03
Vince Guido, Old Flatbush Road
Table proposal until NYS has updated battery storage regs.

43:14 – 46:55
Susan Gillespie, President, Citizens for Local Power
Possibility of viable alternative and economic feasibility of project.

48:30 – 51:42
Dan Furman, Riesley Street
Diesel fuel, Emissions, Noise, Odor

51:44 – 55:00
Gloria Waslyn, Main Street, Ruby
Concerned about home value decrease and air quality

55:07- 57:14
Marie Dolores Gill, Fox Run (23 year resident)
Air emissions, climate change, use and conservation of energy

57:31 – END   VIEW  Video of full Testimony
Laura Hartman, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Emissions, home values. How can Town Board represent its constituents as Lead Agency?

 

 

                                       Video #2:  Click on image to view

 

00:00 – 4:06     VIEW  Video of full Testimony
Laura Hartman, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Emissions, home values. How can Town Board represent its constituents as Lead Agency?

4:33 –  6:15
Fred Neeson, Ledge Road
Economics

6:31 -9:54
Karen Smith-Spanier,  Lakeview Avenue
Potential impacts from EMF (Electro Magnetic Field), Financial impact on home values and accountability to the residents, Town Board to host a meeting to share the financial benefits from GlidePath….since this apparently such a lucrative project, so much so that someone from Chicago is coming to the Town of Ulster to create it, can the Town of Ulster make a renewable project in a different location and profit instead? 

10:03 – 12:15
Brian Cahill, Town of Ulster (35 year resident)
Partial use in sync with Town of Ulster Comprehensive Plan? In the application, it requests being run 24/7 even though it’s a Peaker project. How many days do they plan to really run?

12:37 – 14:10
Sue McConneccy,  Reisley Street
Lights on all night? Concern for nocturnal animals.

14:14 – 15:35 
Valeria Gheorghiu, Attorney in Kerhonkson (office in Kingston)
Cumulative impact analysis, Tax assessments of homes near proposed project, Community Character

15:45 – 17:25
Wayne Spanier, Lakeview Avenue
Why would we want to continue to support fracked gas that would cause harm in other parts of the country when in our state, we have banned fracking? 

17:36 –
Supervisor James Quigley
Closing thoughts
“Laura, for the organization you put into the process here reflects good on the community. The questions were direct on the issues…you’ve made some good points.  What I’m hearing is “You don’t want more carbon. I get it.”

Meeting Adjourned

VIDEO & POWERPOINT: SEQR and the Scoping Process: Lincoln Park Power Plant Project

Click on IMAGE to download powerpoint.

On Friday, February 9th Environmental Advocacy Director Hayley Carlock and Land Use Advocacy Director Jeffrey Anzevino of Scenic Hudson joined close to 50 Town of Ulster residents and two Town Board Members (Morrow and Secreto) to discuss the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center’s SEQRA process and why public participation in developing the scope for the environmental impact statement is important.

“Public involvement reduces the likelihood that unaddressed issues will arise during public review of the draft EIS. From the public’s perspective, scoping is important because it offers an opportunity to ensure the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is as comprehensive as possible to minimize the project’s environmental impact on the community. It also increases the likelihood the project will be consistent with community values.”

Presented by Scenic Hudson. Sponsored by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Riverkeeper and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.

Thanks to The Kingston News for filming this event, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.

WELCOME TownOfUlsterCitizens.org!

KingstonCitizens.org wishes to welcome our new sister organization TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, a non-partisan, citizen run organization focused on increasing citizen engagement and creating a better Town of Ulster, NY.   VIEW

WHAT WE RECOMMEND

1. Town of Ulster Citizens should attend the next Town Board meeting on Thursday, February 15th and request a longer public comment period (90 days).  VIEW

2. The public and municipal leaders are invited to attend the upcoming educational panel “Battery Storage, Climate, and the Grid: An Educational Forum hosted by Citizens for Local Power” presented by Citizens For Local Power on February 13th.  VIEW 

IMPORTANT DATES

1. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13th at 7pm “Battery Storage, Climate, and the Grid: An Educational Forum hosted by Citizens for Local Power”. VIEW

2. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15th at 7pm:  Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting. Citizens should request for a longer public comment period in the Scoping process.
VIEW  Petition Language

3.  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd.   Public Scoping Meeting, Town of Ulster   VIEW

4. THURSDAY, MARCH 22nd.    Deadline for written comments.

IMPORTANT MATERIALS

1. Draft Scope for Lincoln Park Grid Support Center.   VIEW

2. Concept Plan: Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. VIEW

3. Full EIS Part 1. VIEW

4. Full EIS Part 2. VIEW

5. FEAF for the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. VIEW

Read more…

NEXT STEPS: ToU Town Board Make Pos Dec Determination in Lincoln Park Grid Proposal

 

By Rebecca Martin

Last night (2/1), the Town of Ulster (ToU) Town Board added a late entry to their Town Board Workshop Meeting regarding the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant being proposed in the ToU.  As Lead Agency, the Town Board presented and passed a resolution for a Positive Declaration (pos dec) determination in SEQR, as well as proposed a public scoping session on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7:00pm at Town of Ulster Town Hall.

ToU citizen Laura Hartman attended the meeting last evening with several other concerned citizens. During public comment, Hartman graciously thanked the board for making a positive declaration for the proposal.

“I’d like to ask for 90 days for public input and for items like this to be listed in advance so that the public can have the chance to see (items that are of interest to them) to participate in the meetings” Listen at at 27:28

 

 

 

Our coalition of partners (that includes CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, KingstonCitizens.org, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and Woodstock Land Conservancy) has been waiting for a pos dec determination.  In preparation, we created a letter that was ready to submit first thing this morning to Supervisor Quigley and the ToU Town Board requesting a 90 day public comment period with at least two public scoping meetings  given the magnitude of the proposal.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW.

Citizens can help. Please SIGN OUR PETITION and request that the ToUTown Board as Lead Agency allow for a 90-day public comment period with at least two public scoping meetings on the Draft Scope of the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Project

 

A LITTLE INSIDE BASEBALL. Connecting the dots.

A Positive Declaration is “a determination by the lead agency that an action may result in one or more significant environmental impacts and so will require the preparation of an EIS before agency decisions may be made regarding the action. The positive declaration starts the EIS process.”

A pos dec and public scoping process is a great step for our communities and county.  However, the ToU Town Board has already scheduled a public scoping meeting to occur on February 22nd without releasing the draft scoping document.

Why is that significant?

A draft scope is submitted to the Lead Agency (and in this case, the Town of Ulster) by the applicant  (GlidePath via Chasen & Company, their consultant) to release to the public.  I like to think of a draft scope document as a ‘table of contents’.  Typically, a 30 day window occurs for the public to review the document so to be sure that all items of concern for study are included.  There is no one better to do this work than the citizens who live within proximity to the project with the support of the environmental advocates who have dedicated their life’s work to the protection of the area.

All of these items end up in the scoping document and will require the applicant to pay for consultants to do the required studies. This will be a costly process for GlidePath. Given the public’s disdain for  the proposal, it will be interesting to see how far they go as a true indication of it’s profitability.

Speaking of which, while a project is undergoing the SEQR process, it cannot apply for any applicable tax incentives or grants. So that is an entirely other item that citizens will want to pay close attention to as we proceed

The ToU Town Board has already set the public scoping meeting to be 2/22 according to their agenda item without the release of the draft scope. This is problematic and indicates that they intend to release it sometime between now and the 22nd, banking on a 30 day window. This would leave the public with limited time to review and ask questions for a proposal of great magnitude.  As far as I know, this is the first peaker gas plant being proposed in Ulster County. The project plans to re-connect new gas infrastructure at a time that citizens living in Ulster County and New York State have expressed their intention to segue from fossil fuels to renewables. A natural gas peaker power plant created by a company from the Midwest most certainly doesn’t do that.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

DAILY FREEMAN:  Ulster Town Board Members Declare Proposed Electric Generating Plant May Harm Environment.

KINGSTON TIMES:  Ulster Power Plant People Get an Earful at Forum.

VIDEO: Town of Ulster Citizens Tell Elected Officials and GlidePath “We don’t want this project”

How City of Kingston Citizens Can Make an Impact On a Board, Committee or Commission

CALL TO ACTION:  Can we encourage 20 new Kingston citizens to submit an application to serve on a topic that interests them? We think we can.

Would you like to make an impact on government in the City of Kingston?

As many of you know, one of the most important aspects of our work at KingstonCitizens.org is to point citizens in the direction of process and the law when there is an issue of concern so that their effort can make a real difference.

Perhaps one of the greatest ways for the public to get involved which is not well known is to submit an application VIEW to be appointed to sit on one of the twenty-five boards, commissions or committees that exists and that is reliant on citizen volunteer’s in the City of Kingston.

In 2016,  Mayor Steve Noble launched a brand new initiative hoping to “Attract and recruit volunteers for Kingston’s Boards, Commissions, and Committees“.

“All individuals interested in serving on a board, commission and/or committee must complete an application and submit it to the Mayor’s office for review. This information will be used in determining which individuals are best suited to serve, based on their qualifications, backgrounds, skills, and interests.”

Some of these important bodies have very long terms, so when a spot comes up – it’s important to know. Get in there! Kingston relies on the talent in its neighborhoods to help to define itself going forward.

Read more…

The City of Kingston’s Community Forums on Parking

By Hillary Harvey
hillary@kingstoncitizens.org

In conversations around the City of Kingston, parking is a hot topic.

Uptown, there was a debate around Mayor Steve Noble’s plan to increase parking costs and add meters to municipal lots where there previously had been none, with business owners countering the plan by advocating for free parking. Meter increases went into effect just recently, and parking kiosks are already showing up near their intended municipal lot.  In an effort to compromise, the city is also offering parking permits for frequent users of the City of Kingston’s municipal lots. Purchase a parking permit in advance of the installation and activation of new payment stations in six of the City’s municipal lots costs $10, and the permit is valid through December 31, 2017.    VIEW

In Midtown, there’s ample parking, according to the city’s consultant for the Comprehensive Plan Zoning subcommittee.  And the conversation has pretty much ended there.

Read more…

(Amended) GUIDANCE FOR TESTIMONY: Proposed Central Hudson Gas Regulating Substation in Kingston, NY

Item #3: #245 Washington Avenue SPECIAL PERMIT to install a gas regulating station. SBL 56.90-6-20. SEQR Determination. Zone R-1. Ward 3. Central Hudson Gas & Electric; Applicant/owner

Recently, a citizen of the City of Kingston who lives near a new proposed Gas Regulating System to be located at 245 Washington Avenue by Central Hudson contacted us with some concerns.  Gas and Electric Magnetic Field (EMF) Substations are a part of our landscape in Kingston, given the need for gas and electric in our daily lives.

But process is key, and it was the process that peeked our interest.

Read more…

PROPOSED BAN ON MEMORIALIZING RESOLUTIONS. Process and Actions in March and April.

Last year, the Ulster County Legislature passed Resolution No. 251 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Set Procedure For Memorializing Resolutions”  In it, it sets some protocols for memorializing resolutions stating that “any resolution which memorializes the New York State Legislature, Congress of the United States, or any other body to take an action which will not require a home rule message, shall be submitted and considered in Committee in accordance with the procedures set forth in these Rules of Order. When presented for consideration at a monthly or special meeting of the Legislature, Memorializing Resolutions shall not be debatable. Memorializing Resolutions shall, however, be amendable, may be referred to a Standing Committee of the Legislature, or may be withdrawn prior to a vote by the Legislative body.”

Only eight months later,  District 18 Republican Legislator Richard A. Parete along with Legislators Dean Fabiano (District 3: Town of Saugerties, Town of Ulster) and Kenneth J. Ronk  (District 13: Town of Shawangunk) have taken it a step further with a new resolution that would prohibit Memorializing Resolutions altogether.

VIEW Resolution No. 32

Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”

Many citizens were present at the regular legislative meeting in February to speak during public comment and to encourage the legislature to reject a ban on memorializing resolutions. Only upon arrival did we learn that earlier in the day, the Ulster County Legislature’s Laws and Rules committee tabled the resolution instead of passing it through to the floor as anticipated.

As reported in the Daily Freeman,  Legislator Richard A. Parete stated that  “The main reason [I pulled it] is because the full Legislature wasn’t there, and I don’t know if it had the votes to pass.”  Parete said he would wait until March when he expects more legislators to be in to introduce the measure.”    VIEW The Daily Freeman Article.

How does this appear to the public?  Not only is a ban on memorializing resolutions undemocratic, but tabling proposed legislation due to not having the votes for it to pass lacks transparency.

Thanks for your support and in following this issue through to the end with us. It is not only important for citizens to speak to the issue but to also be a witness.

 

WHAT’S THE PROCESS?

In February of 2017, District 18 (Town of Hurley, Town of Marbletown) Legislator Richard Parate withdrew Resolution No. 32 “Amending the Rules of Order to Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions” for the Ulster County Legislature.  

1. LAWS AND RULES.  On Monday, March 13th at 6:30 pm it is anticipated that the UC Legislature Laws and Rules Committee (K.L. Binder Library on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston) will discuss whether or not to pass the resolution out to the floor the following evening.   VIEW Facebook Event.

2. FIRST READING. If approved, the Resolution will have its first reading (though not out loud) on Tuesday, March 14th (Legislative Chambers on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston) at the regular legislative session that begins at 7:05pm.  No action can be taken.  VIEW Facebook Event

3.  SECOND READING AND VOTE.  On Tuesday, April 18th at 7:00pm during its regular Legislative session (Legislative Chambers on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building 244 Fair Street, Kingston), it is anticipated that the legislation will have its second reading and folloing, the full body will vote.   VIEW Facebook Event

 

TAKE ACTION.

 1. CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR.  We encourage citizens to contact their Legislator and request that they reject the ban on memorializing resolutions throughout the months of March and April.    VIEW: Ulster County Legislature Website to Find Your Legislator.

2.  DEMOCRAT LEGISLATOR JOHN R. PARETE SAYS HE SUPPORTS A BAN.  Given this is a Republican supported ban, it is important for citizens to know that District 22 Democratic Legislator John R. Parete has announced that he supports the ban, and could be the swing vote on the matter.

If you live in the Towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive or Shandaken, please consider calling or emailing your representative directly to discuss his point of view, and to share yours.   (845) 657-8500 or send an email to  jparete@msn.com

3. SIGN OUR PETITION.  Sign our PETITION where your name and any comments that you make go directly to Legislators Richard Parete, Kenneth Ronk, Dean Fabiano and John Parete.

4. PLAN TO ATTEND UPCOMING MEETINGS.  Please consider:  a)  Attend and speak during public comment at the regular Legislative sessions on Tuesday, March 14th (7:05pm) when it is anticipated the legislation will have its first read. No action will be taken and;   b)  Tuesday, April 18th (7:00pm) when it is anticipated that the Resolution will have its second reading and a vote by the legislature.

5. SHARE WITH FRIENDS!  Please share this post with friends to help us to get the word out. Thank you for your support.

REVIEW:  Tell Ulster County Legislature That a Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic.

Read more…

The Hijacking of a City of Kingston Social Media Site?

A recent Hudson Riverport Post on Facebook
A recent Hudson Riverport Post on Facebook

In 2015, the city of Kingston initiated the Hudson Riverport, a project that had “engaged the services of the firm Perkins+Will to produce an Implementation Plan, a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) and a Market Conditions Update for 192 acres of Kingston’s Rondout Waterfront under the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program of the NYS Department of State….The Common Council determined by resolution on October 6, 2015 that the Implementation Plan/Draft GEIS was complete and ready for public review and set a public hearing date. The comment period spanned October 8th through November 23rd with a public hearing on November 12th in Kingston City Hall Common Council Chambers.”  

On October 11, 2015 in the Daily Freeman, an article “Kingston Seeks Public Input on Brownfield Plan” was printed/posted announcing the city initiative as well as the City of Kingston’s Hudson Riverport Facebook page that apparently had been created in 2014.

Just about a year later on October 10, 2016, we happened to notice language in a post on the City of Kingston Hudson Riverport Facebook page that appeared odd.   To a recent article in the Daily Freeman, “Kingston Council Advances Downtown Flood Control Effort” it said in part that, “…The current administration should be thankful that the proposal was already written. All they had to do was get the design work started and resubmit the request for construction funds…”

That didn’t sound to us like the current office of Economic Development speaking.  It is a fact that the “Hudson Riverport at Kingston” is a Facebook page created, owned and operated by the city of Kingston. So why would it suggest that  “the current administration should be thankful that the proposal was already written…” for a project that it continues to organize and maintain?

Curious, we looked at the ABOUT section of Hudson Riverport of Kingston NY page, and there wasn’t a description or any details connecting the page to the City of Kingston initiative for which the social media site was created for when it was set-up.   (VIEW: Hudson Riverport ABOUT section).

Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that the page continues to be administered by a past City of Kingston employee without having permission to do so, or without any guidance from the current Economic Development or Grants Management office. After looking around a bit more, there is at least one other just like it. An inventory of these sites needs to be collected.

The good news is that the City of Kingston is currently looking into the matter and will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.  Apparently, in the past a city employee could create a Facebook page on their own, without there being a secondary employee to be included as an administrator.  That has now been implemented. However, for sites created prior to 2016,  if a person who worked for the city being the sole adminstrator decides to act maliciously,  they might take the entire site down where information meant for the public record that was posted over the years would be lost. Lets hope that that doesn’t happen in this case.

Perhaps the good news here, in an instance like this and if it ends up being what we suspect, will expose areas from past city management that must be improved.

There is no doubt that successful projects is the work of many.  It indeed takes a village (or a city in this case).  But for City of Kingston property to be used without authority or direction is inappropriate and completely misleading to the public. Aren’t city of Kingston staff and our elected and appointed officials from both the past and present days to be working on behalf of the public good?  City property is the public’s property. When you are no longer employed, elected or appointed, hand over important information in good working order so that the city can continue to run smoothly during each of its transitions. It is each of their duties to do so.

ADDITIONAL READING:

READ:   Daily Freeman Article, requesting comments on Riverport be sent to city-owned email address.

READ:   Pages 9-10 of Ec. Dev. Brochure, documenting the project.

READ:  Daily Freeman article about the public hearing process for the plan.

Speaking With One Voice On The Proposed Anchorage Project.

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By Rebecca Martin

** Public comment has been extended to December 6th. Our post reflects this change. 

VIEW: Commercial Shipping Organizations Proposal

It is always great when we have the opportunity to sit down with Riverkeeper’s Kate Hudson who is the Director of Cross Watershed Initiatives there.  Her clarity on all of the issues she is charged with, and in this case the proposed anchorage project on the Hudson River, is a big help to citizens all throughout the Hudson Valley Region.

One of our big take-aways was to come to understand where we are today on the crude oil transport front. Having more anchorages means that empty barges traveling up from NYC can cut their travel time in half to park until a berth opens up in the port of Albany where shipments of crude oil arrive. There is much activity in North Dakota, and crude oil is transported on ‘bomb trains’ to Albany. Shipping companies are waiting (perhaps ‘frothing’ is a better term) to transport it back down the Hudson River to NYC so it can be sent out and processed in NJ and PA. This will become more of a problem for us in the Hudson Valley.

Why?

Last year, “With the stroke of a pen, President Barack Obama ended 40 years of U.S. crude oil export limits by signing off on a repeal passed by Congress earlier in the day….The restrictions lift immediately under a provision in the spending and tax package that the president signed into law. Congressional leaders earlier in the week reached an agreement to end the trade restrictions, established during U.S. oil shortages in the 1970s, as part of a grand bargain that includes tax breaks for renewable-energy companies and refiners….Repeal of the crude-export restrictions reverses four decades of a policy that has defined the nation’s relations with the rest of the world. Without the trade limits, the U.S. — now the world’s largest oil and gas producer — is free to export its crude, as it already does with refined products including gasoline. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with a vote of 65-33 after the House approved the measure 316-113 hours earlier.”

Read more…

VIDEO: Laws and Rules Committee Meeting 5/17/16

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At last evening’s Laws and Rules Committee meeting, council members (there are five that include ward 1 alderwoman Lynn Eckert who is committee chair, ward 5 alderman and majority leader Bill Carey, ward 9 alderwoman and minority leader Deb Brown, ward 3 alderman Rennie Scott-Childress and ward 7 alderwoman Maryann Mills) had a full slate of issues to discuss. One of which that we have been closely following is amending the current City of Kingston Firearms law.

The effort, having come about due to a proposal to place a shooting range and gun shop on Prince Street in Midtown, Kingston, has been a contentious one and the public has worked over many months to share their points of view and research to be placed on record during public comment opportunities.  The result of which made the case for the current Firearms Law to be sent back to committee where it belongs, above and beyond anything else, so that council members are certain to get amendments right by a thorough vetting process.

At the onset, it was noted that a packet of ‘model laws’ had been sent to committee members in advance by Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein. Ward 3 alderman Rennie Scott-Childress said that after reviewing them all, he found the City of Rochester’s Firearms Law to be the best written law to consider, and suggests that it be used as the model for their efforts.

Maryann Mills states that the models are just a “stall tactic”.

When a motion is made for Rochester’s law to be used as a model,  it is rejected  by the committee majority (Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey) now moving out of committee to the council with a negative recommendation.

Later, Deb Brown’s amended text that she crafted, and that would allow indoor shooting ranges in Kingston, was brought back up and this time, included new language suggested by Maryann Mills to include more detail of the State of New York’s Penal Law (perhaps in response to the Veteran’s concerns).

What we learned, last night based on Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein’s interpretation of the penal law was that the Veteran’s memorial services and any of the current reenactments were never in jeopardy.  The law apparently had always allowed it.   Please view for more detail: Video 2, starts at: 29:55

Before having the chance to look through any of the materials that had been submitted for discussion, a motion to move the amended law written by Deb Brown and Maryann Mills out of  the Laws and Rules committee took place (supported by Bill Carey, who had also supported a thorough process shortly before). Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey not only rejected the potential model, they also passed through a completely un-vetted Firearms Law, again. It now moves out of committee, and onto the council with a positive recommendation.

We appreciate citizen participation, and know how hard the public has worked on this. It is  with regret that we must relay that we are all made to ask for a third time that the Firearms Law be sent back to committee where it never should have left in the first place until the law has been given the opportunity to be properly vetted.

WHAT TO ASK
That the Kingston Common Council at caucus (Monday, June 6) and their monthly meeting (Tuesday, June 7) request that the Kingston Firearms Law be sent back to the Laws and Rules Committee for a thorough vetting process.

WHO TO CALL (Please feel free to call all council members if you’d like. Here are key members for next month’s discussion)

 

Alderman-at-Large James Noble
commoncouncil@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 331-4696
Majority Leader and Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey
ward5@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 339-1361
Minority Leader and Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown
ward9@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 338-0763
Ward 4 Alderwoman Nina Dawson
ward4@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 616-8592
READ
A recent submission from Kingston City resident Neil B. Millens
AMENDING KINGSTON’S FIREARMS LAW: Begins at 10:53 

Excerpts:

10:53  Deb Brown and Maryann Mills discuss their amended text.
12:56  A packet of models are introduced.
13:22  Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress feels the City of Rochester is the best model from the package presented by Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein.  Deb Brown and Maryann Mills states that they haven’t seen it, and accuse models as being ‘stall tactics’.
15:32  Maryann Mills “I like what Deb wrote and how I amended it. What is it about Rochester’s law that you like better?”
15:42  Rennie Scott-Childress “It’s clearly researched. It better matches our comprehensive plan…” etc.
17:52  Maryann Mills notes Dr. Soyer’s lawyer, who wrote a letter to the council, that she says mirrors what is in the Rochester Law.  She believes that it’s all addressed in his information. Rennie clarifies and says ‘but none of it is in the city of Kingston’s law”.
23:05  Mention of a communication from the Board of Education on the safety zone for guns.  The school board says it went out to the entire council, and states that the ATF did not do proper measurements.
24:36  Dr. Soyer explains that he (ATF) provides a flyer to municipalities, but (the ATF) doesn’t take measurements, and there is no mechanism to do that.” The federal law does not prohibit private property from engaging in business and that the 1000 foot requirement doesn’t apply.  He’s never seen anything about a ‘safe zone’ before. He hasn’t seen a sign, doesn’t know what the distance is, etc.
27:07   Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein states ‘strongly’ that this is a discussion about the law, and not Dr. Soyer’s Safe Shoot.  It’s problematic to be talking about amending a statute to accommodate or defeat a specific proposal that is in front of the planning board.
28:18  Bill Carey states that the safe zone has nothing to do with the business.
29:55  Dan Gartenstein states that ‘Veterans shooting blanks out of rifles are not firing rifles. If there are no bullets, you’re not discharging a gun.”
30:52  Board of Education (BOE) president Nora Scherer points out that they mapped out the distance between the Prince Street location and Kingston High School on Google maps, which is what the ATF would have done as well. The Gun Free School Zone Act was not enacted when the law was originally written.  In terms of legislation, how the act may be interpreted.
31:55  James Shaugnessy from the BOE adds that he has concerns of what Dr. Soyer saying being true.  You’re talking about around the shooting range, that he doesn’t feel this should be allowed within the school zone, and states a statistic. The common council has a shared responsibility with the BOE that the children are safe before, during and after school hours.
33:52  Maryann suggests to move forward, to include Penal Law in its entirety.
35:40  Motion to add the Penal Law into the amended text.
50:29  Maryann asks about the Business Park, and notes JFK school (but what she is not understanding is that the location is more than 1000 feet away from the school). She states to push a business out of Kingston is absurd. We need whatever revenue we can get. “This is safe. I have researched it myself.”
52:35  Rennie sees it oppositely. That amending the law encourages opportunity. If we are going to choose to have a shooting range, we should be careful. We want the right business, and that’s what the comprehensive plan is all about.

 

00:00  Rennie speaks about the importance of diversity in business in response to questions prior to in the last video.
2:30  Bill Carey says he’s a no vote on the Rochester law, but it doesn’t mean he’s against it. 
3:58  
Ward 8 alderman Steve Schabot endorses a model to help to make the law clear.
5:05  Restates a motion to adopt the City of Rochester Firearms Law.  Lynn Eckert and Rennie Scott-Childress are yes votes. Bill Carey, Maryann Mills, Deb Brown oppose. The resolution moves out of committee and onto the council with a negative recommendation.
5:44  A motion is made to pass through committee Deb Brown’s amended text with Maryann Mill’s changes.  Lynn states “..is that right, that the law you wrote that was already sent back is what we are voting on now”
8:06  Maryann clarifies that the amendment that Deb Brown wrote now includes the penal law.  Dan Gartenstein states what Maryann is speaking of is Section 7B and gives an explanation about discharging vs. possession.
13:30  Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein clarifies the law in the way that it may impact the Veterans, and he states clearly that it does not.
24:22   Dan Gartenstein reads text of the new amended law. A vote is called. Lynn Ekert and Rennie Scott-Childress are opposed.  Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey are in favor.  Deb Brown’s text with Maryann Mill’s changes is passed out of committee and on to the council in June with a positive recommendation.


The Power of You.

Photo courtesy of the Kingston Times.
Photo courtesy of the Kingston Times.

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz, MSW

News of Macy’s store closure at the Hudson Valley Mall is a serious blow to the local economy as over 70 jobs are expected to be lost. That’s on top of about 70 jobs that were eliminated when J.C. Penney shuttered its doors at the mall last year.

Facebook users expressed sadness – and confusion, too, over the announcement. How could this happen when there’s several hotels being built nearby? New hotels means business is good, right? Then there were a small handful of others who said the community who scared off Niagara bottling and its host of proposed jobs deserved this and/or was cursed. We could have used those jobs – especially in light of the Macy’s closure, right? Well, no.

While the Niagara plant proposal (and its subsequent demise), retail store closures and new hotel construction seem to be disconnected events, I would assert that they are all driven by a single, powerful – and possibly unstoppable – force: you.

Niagara Falls

As reported in great detail in the pages here, the proposed Niagara Bottling plant at Tech City was an exhaustive, emotional affair that resulted in a positive transformation of the community – especially in regard to increasing transparency.

The proposed project triggered the gathering of a strong, and unified majority that stood up against the proposal. Partnerships were formed between community groups. Meetings were held, and events staged – all lubricated by social media.

Citizens gathered and found common ground, which ultimately morphed into a single voice that clearly said this was not a suitable project. Clean, safe and readily available drinking water belongs to the people first.

It was awe-inspiring because citizens themselves made this happen. You made this happen.

Unfortunately, Niagara picked up and moved its project just two hours away, to Bloomfield, Conn. And now that community is trying to sort through many of the same issues that Kingston struggled against.

One of the key issues of the Kingston project was that of transparency and properly informing the public. How could Niagara strike a deal with city officials so stealthily? Why wasn’t the proposed project presented to the public earlier? What happened? Where’s the watchdog?

Read more…

WHAT TO EXPECT: Public Hearing 12/14 on Proposed Shooting Range project in Midtown Kingston

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By Rebecca Martin

On Monday, December 14 at 6:00pm (VIEW KingstonCitizens.org’s Facebook event invitation) , the Kingston Planning Board will host a public hearing on the Proposed Shooting Range project. The sponsor of the project Dr. Adam Soyer,  an orthopedic surgeon from Kingston, is looking to build a membership based indoor gun range and gun shop at 90 and 92-94 Prince Street by next fall.  The range would be meant for mostly short-range handgun target shooting, with a plan that would host five lanes for shooting as well as a room for education and a gun shop.   It has been reported that gun rentals may also be available.

VIEW
SafeShoot Fact Sheet

The concerns of citizens who are opposed to the project include not only questioning whether or not the location – in the heart of midtown – is best suited for a shooting range where many renters, businesses and schools are located, but also environmental factors such as proper lead disposal (known as “projectiles” or ammunition), safety/quality of life issues such as potential stray bullets, gun sales and rentals and the upcoming adoption of Kingston’s Comprehensive Plan and an imminent citywide zoning overhaul that will follow to clarify the highest use of property in our Midtown area based on years of public input.

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