Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a community-based organization committed to improving the quality of life of Kingston residents through accountability and transparency of local government. By providing citizens with timely and factual information, our work is meant to nurture citizen participation and empowerment through projects, education, and advocacy.
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Do you want to become a KingstonCitizens.org Fellow? Sign-up in advance to attend all eight of our upcoming educational forums in 2017. Deadline to do so is Friday, February 24th. Only 15 spots available! See our schedule below.
What you will receive:
A “reserved” seat throughout the 2017 educational forum series.
Become an expert! A free education on all presented topics including information on local and NYS policies and laws as they pertain to these subjects.
A certificate of completion from KingstonCitizens.org
Two of our “fellows” will be selected randomly to win a free year subscription to a local newspaper of their choice.
…and perhaps more surprises as we go along.
Write to Rebecca Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org with “KingstonCitizens.org Fellowship” in the subject line.
For more information, VIEW: KingstonCitizens.org Host Eight-Part Educational Forums in 2017.
Sunday, Feb. 26th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
PART I: On Constitutional Law A conversation on constitutional law as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest Dr. Lynn Mills Eckert
Associate Professor of Political Science, Marist College
Sunday, March 19th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART II: On Climate Change, Energy, and Infrastructure A conversation on climate change, energy, and infrastructure as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest Kate Hudson, Esq.
Sunday, April 30th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART III: On Immigration A discussion on the Ulster County Legislature’s upcoming Resolution No. 138 “Creating A Policy To Maintain A Safe, Inclusive Government And Ensure The Protection, Order, Conduct, Safety, Health, And Well Being Of All Persons In Ulster County,” with guest panelists District 7 Legislator (Kingston) Jennifer Schwartz Berky and Ulster County Sheriff Van Blarcum. Other guests TBA. The discussion will review this and other local proposals using the guidance provided by Attorney General Schneiderman and the ACLU to help communities understand their rights under the proposed changes in Washington.
With special guests Jennifer Schwartz Berky District 7 Legislator
Sherriff Paul J. Van Blarcum Ulster County Sherriff
Sunday, May 21st, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART IV: On Public Education A conversation on public education as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guests Robin Jacobowitz, Ph.D.
Director of Education Projects at The Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz, Trustee, City of Kingston Board of Education and Executive Committee of Ulster County School Boards Association
James F. Shaughnessy, Jr., Officer City of Kingston Board of Education
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART V: On Women’s Issues A conversation on women’s issues as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guests: TBA
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VI: On Economics
A conversation on economics as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest economist and energy analyst Evelyn Wright.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VII: On Strategic Organizing: Looking Forward A conversation on strategic organizing as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives. With special guest Callie Mackenzie Jayne Lead Organizer
Citizen Action of NY
Hudson Valley Chapter
Sunday, November 12th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VIII: On Local and NYS Clean Energy A conversation on local and NYS clean energy as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives. With special guests Jennifer Metzger, Director Citizens for Local Power
In November of last year, when Donald Trump became our president-elect, most of the world felt as if it had shifted in an unprecedented way. Whether citizens supported Trump or did not, there was a common feeling of either joyous or defeated disbelief.
It wasn’t long after that a list of Trump’s initiatives appeared for his first 100 days in office. With the support of a Republican majority in Congress, Trump’s initiatives suddenly seemed plausible. I saw this as an opportunity to look more closely at the checks and balances that exist in local, state and federal government.
We jumped quickly into action, creating a google document (so that citizens could collaborate) that outlines Trump’s initiatives so to better explore their context and, to identify local and New York State policies and laws that could help guide us through this new administration. We hosted very small meetings with a couple dozen citizens to start this important work and realized shortly after that it needed to continue and be open to more citizen’s input.
VIEW: “Trump’s Initiatives: Local/State Policy and Laws”
The result is an educational series that will span 2017. Citizens can expect an array of subjects with expert panelists, a question and answer period, an interactive work session on KingstonCitizens.org’s document “Trump Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws” and short tutorials to help navigate the City of Kingston’s municipal website.
Thanks to Peter Wetzler and Julie Hedrick of Church Des Artistes who have donated their beautiful space so that we are comfortable and supported in our efforts each month.
Please review the list of topics, dates, and details below. We are currently booking more guests and will make those announcements as they are confirmed. For now, put all of the following dates in your calendar!
We look forward to meeting more of our neighbors, making new connections and becoming more educated on a whole host of complicated topics.
Knowledge is power.
“Community Educational Forums: An Eight-Part Series”
at Church Des Artistes
79 Wurts Street
Historic Rondout section of Kingston, NY
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Over the course of the series in 2017, citizens can expect an array of subjects with expert panelists, a question and answer period, an interactive work session on KingstonCitizens.org’s document “Trump Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws” and short tutorials to help navigate the City of Kingston’s municipal website.
Moderated by KingstonCitizens.org Co-Founder Rebecca Martin.
Participants are encouraged to bring a dessert to share. Coffee and tea provided. We encourage citizens to bring along their personal computer laptop if they have one. All dates and topics subject to change.
PETITION: ” A Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic”
VIEW: Attend next session of the legislature to speak on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm (arrive at 6:45 pm)
READ: Resolution No. 32 of February 15, 2017 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”
By Rebecca Martin
WHAT IS A MEMORIALIZING RESOLUTION? A memorializing resolution does not set forth policy or law. Instead, it creates text to cause people to remember. It is a tool to both educate and in this case, to remind us of our principles and values.
So why would members of the Ulster County Legislature want to “prohibit” this critical tool? In our opinion, it is incredibly short sited and potentially damaging to county governance.
“County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk, R-Wallkill, said he has agreed to co-sponsor a resolution (#32 of 2017) introduced by Legislator Richard Parete to change the body’s rules by banning any resolution in which legislators aren’t taking action on issues directly under their control. Parete has repeatedly referred to these as a “waste of time.”
Such a ban is rare in legislative bodies. Memorializing resolutions state a legislative body’s position on an issue that may be outside its purview without taking direct action. However, they represent a significant opportunity for regional leadership and intergovernmental relationships.
In the past few years, the Ulster County Legislature has passed three memorializing resolutions on the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline and one on the proposed anchorages of crude oil on the Hudson River. In the last year, the legislature has been unanimous in its support of these statements, which add to the voice of an entire region that stands against these potentially hazardous projects.
Citing the recent use of memorializing resolutions as a “mockery” by the democrats, Chairman Ronk pointed to Legislator Jonathan Heppner’s (D-Woodstock) resolution opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as having not being relevant to county business. With approximately 20,000 residents now relying on the ACA for their healthcare coverage and the potential loss of $3 million in federal Medicaid funding, this is certainly the business of Ulster County.
Furthermore, do we want to lose the ability to take a stand on things that could severely impact our environment, such as pipelines and anchorages, without adding to the voices in the region who oppose them?”
District 7 Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky regarding the proposed ban on memorializing resolutions by the UC Legislature:
Please sign our PETITION and plan to attend the next session of the legislature Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm to speak out on this proposed ban. Citizens who wish to speak should arrive early at 6:45 pm to sign in be prepared to speak no longer than 3 minutes. Address: Legislature Chambers, 6th Floor, Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401.
We were pleased to be on hand last evening to document the City of Kingston’s Natural Resource Inventory Project, an undertaking by the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council. We’ll post more information as we receive it.
Our educational forum on the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project brought in an estimated 402 people to Kingston City Hall with another 1,400 or so who streamed our event live yesterday. KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to share with you video from the entire event as well as materials for your review and to follow along.
As a reminder, in Ulster County, if you live in the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, Town of Marlborough, Town of Lloyd, Town of Esopus, Town of Saugerties, Town of Rosendale, Village and Town of New Paltz or Town of Plattekill, then you are one of the potentially impacted communities listed in the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project and are considered an ‘Involved’ Agency in SEQRA.
Take LOCAL ACTION TODAY and contact your elected officials in impacted communities to requestthat they make commenting on the upcoming draft ‘Scope’ document a priority by taking a proactive approach to identify potential impacts of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project that are unique to your community. If your municipality is not listed above, but you live in Ulster County, please contact Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and ask that the county work with us to organize a countywide coordinated draft scope review. VIEW for step by step instructions, emails, and phone numbers.
Please join KingstonCitizens.org’s mailing list by subscribing to our newsletter for important future updates. We have much in store. SIGN-UP for KingstonCitizens.org’s mailing list.
8:05 – 13:19 Mayor Steve Noble City of Kingston, NY “We have environmental staff that works on these issues….dedicated volunteers on a Conservation Advisory Council. We hope that Kingston can be a model for other communities up and down the Hudson River Valley”
13:20 – 21:47 Assemblyman Kevin Cahill District 103 “I see many, many Kingstonians here, but I also see friends from other communities. Let me join our Mayor in welcoming you to Standing Rock New York.”
00:52 – 07:27 Brooke Pickering – Cole Local Economies Project Hudson Valley Farm Hub
07:38 – 14:00 Jennifer Schwartz Berky
District 7 County Legislator
KingstonCitizens.org Policy and Planning
14:01 – 18:20 Callie Jayne Citizen Action NY
18:27 – 20:21 Local Call To Action VIEW Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
20:33 – 27:31 Kevin J. Smith Woodstock Land Conservancy “There is a pumping station proposed in the Town of Ulster, and there is a trailer park directly across the Sawkill creek fro the very site of the pumping station. When we speak about Environmental Justice? Here we are. The trailer park has been flooded out several times. It is my understanding that the Heritage Energy property has been flooded out several times as well. All of this is just upstream from the confluence of the Sawkill with the Lower Esopus which is something of a delta. It’s where the Sawkill comes out of the mountains and the le wins it way out of the Rondout valley and they meet….what’s also there is the Town of Ulster’s wellheads. These are the kinds of things I would encourage you to get informed about and to reach out to your public officials.” VIEW: Local Call To Action
28:17 – 32:52 Citizen Question “Who are the owning parties of Pilgrim Pipelines, LLC?”
33:14 – 38:42 Citizen Question “Where is the oil being refined when it gets to where it’s going with the Pilgrim Pipelines?”
38:44 – 40:05 Citizen Question “Can you clear up the confusion for me from the film we saw today that speaks about two different pipelines?
40:06 – 42:57 Citizen Question
“Since the oil export ban was lifted, is there any action in NYS to overstep the 1909 act that it’s in place?”
43:00 – 46:10 Citizen Question
“If this is a private corporation using pipelines for private gain, where is the public good? Noticeably absent today is Congressman Faso. How do you foresee working with him as he seems to be in the pocket of big oil?”
46:12 – 50:00 Citizen Question
“You mentioned the federal government hadn’t a role in this project because it’s an NYS issue. What would Congressman Faso’s role be then?”
50:02 – 51:11 Senator Amedore’s position on the Pilgrim Pipeline. “Senator Amedore stands with localities as it’s his belief that they know best of the effects it has on the community and its residents. We are located at 721 Broadway in Kingston, and we always welcome feedback. We are in the information gathering stages…we are here for you.”
51:20 – 52:43
At KingstonCitizens.org, we encourage you to get deep into your community and local government. Learn the law and process there first.” – Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
Thank you: Lee Kalish, Daniel Clark and Prime Print Shop; Carly Winnie, Megan Weiss-Rowe, Kyle McIntosh of the City of Kingston; our KingstonCitizens.org volunteers: Kayce Waters, Heather Schwegler, Debra Bresnan. The Kingston News and all of our co-sponsors and supporters.
On Saturday, January 28th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, KingstonCitizens.org will host an educational forum on the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project. Our end goal for the day will be to clarify what are the important next steps in SEQRA for citizens living in potentially impacted communities of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project in Ulster County.
Until then, and after which (up until the scoping document arrives), here is a simple call to action that you can take to help your community prepare for the upcoming draft scoping document.
Although this effort is specific to our region, what we are working to accomplish can easily be applied to all of those living in potentially impacted communities up and down the proposed corridor of the Pilgrim Pipelines project. Imagine if we could create a strong push for citizens to call their elected officials and request the scoping process was placed high on their list and to prepare in advance? What an impact it could make in the State of New York and New Jersey!
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday. VIEW our event on Facebook
Local Call To Action: Your role in State Environmental Review Act (SEQRA) and the “Scoping” Process for the Proposed Pilgrim Pipelines.
On September 14, 2016, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), the co-lead agencies for the environmental review of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project, issued a positive declaration in SEQRA.
“A positive declaration, or “pos dec”, is a determination by the lead agency[s] that an action may result in one or more significant environmental impacts and so will require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before agency decisions may be made regarding the action.”
In addition to the pos dec, the co-lead agencies agreed to initiate a scoping process and extend the comment period for the draft scope once it is publically available. The purpose of a scoping comment period is to offer the public and interested parties the option to offer their feedback and “help determine the scope of subjects that will be studied in the DEIS concerning the Pilgrim Pipelines.” The DEIS is the primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action. The DEIS examines the nature and extent of an action that is identified as a potential environmental impact, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize these impacts.
In Ulster County, if you live in the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, Town of Marlborough, Town of Lloyd, Town of Esopus, Town of Saugerties, Town of Rosendale, Village and Town of New Paltz or Town of Plattekill, then you are one of the potentially impacted communities listed in the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project and are considered an ‘Involved’ Agency in SEQRA.
HELP YOUR COMMUNITY PREPARE. TAKE THESE SIMPLE STEPS FORWARD IMMEDIATELY:
1) LOCATE the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project’s desired path through your community. VIEWand scroll down to find Ulster County. From there, locate your municipality.
2) Are you a citizen living in any of the listed potentially impacted communities? If you are, continue reading. If you are not, but you are an Ulster County resident, please go to #4.
CALL and/or WRITE your Town Supervisor or your Village/City Mayor. Include your Council or Board Member President or Chair, too. REQUEST that they make commenting on the upcoming draft ‘Scope’ document a priority by taking a proactive approach to identify potential impacts of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project that are UNIQUE to your community.
3) DISCUSS with your elected officials who could help to prepare your community document. Does your town or city have a Conservation Advisory Council? Could your local planning department be of assistance? Visit your local municipal website to find contacts and phone numbers.
4) CALL the Ulster County government offices and request that the county as an “Involved” Agency in SEQRA help to coordinate all Ulster County potentially impacted localities in the draft “Scoping” process:
Office of Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (845) 340-3800
Ulster County Legislator: Chairman Kenneth J. Ronk, Jr. (845) 566-7663
Ulster County Legislator: Majority Leader Mary Beth Maio (845) 546-7878
Ulster County Legislator: Minority Leader Hector S. Rodriguez (845) 401-2000
Ulster County Legislator: Energy and Environment Committee Chair Richard A. Parete (845) 687-4255
Ulster County Legislator: Energy and Environment Committee Deputy Chairwoman Tracey A. Bartels (845) 255-0804
UNITY: The state of being united or joined as a whole.
TOLERANCE: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
I think a lot about narratives in my community work because narratives and strategic messaging is key to achieving a good end result. Generally, when things turn out to worse, it’s because the majority doesn’t have good, factual information in a format that they can understand. Words matter – and when we fail, it’s because – at least in part – that our emotion got the best of us without a good, trusted (and factual) message to turn to.
So is it ‘unity’ or is it ‘tolerance’ that is most realistic in America if a dialogue is our end game?
“For everyone to be joined as a whole” as unity suggests, means the majority of one side needs to move over to the other. That’s beyond optimistic. That’s pollyanna.
Tolerance on the other hand, “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with” seems achievable in potentially bringing together more who live in a polarized state. Neither side loses anything by listening and, there is hope to learn something in that process. There is also a better chance at keeping relationships that matter intact.
There have been moments in the last several months where I haven’t been very ‘tolerant’ while trying to ‘unify’. Recently, I was told by a conservative friend in a moment of emotion, “Now you know how I have felt throughout the Obama administration.” To try to unify in that moment made me more indignant.
Had my narrative been one of tolerance, I might have had a different personal reaction. I know this because in contemplating it now, I am already more at ease.
I work hard and want to learn. Being human, I make mistakes and have patterns that require me at times to take several turns around the barn. The topical in learning is to listen. The deeper, more complicated parts are to pay attention to the tapes running insistently through our minds, trying to decipher what is true and what is not at any given moment. The gift in the work is from time to time, having access to our unique roadmap with a wisdom that is both mysterious and ancient.
On an even more personal note, music is the most compassionate teacher that I know. Beyond what I want it to do for me in the material world, what it provides is that infinite wisdom that I refer to and my access to it relies completely on the truth. To struggle to get there isn’t a punishment. It is work to get back to simple. Synchronicity and glimpses of grace, its reward. The same could be said for having a child. For having a pet. For getting lost in the woods. What a glorious opportunity to see simple in it’s most raw and real form. These are all miraculous reminders as we age and when we think we have seen and know it all.
Therefore, my personal reflection and new narrative today, that of tolerance. I’ll place the concept of unifying in the sandbox where it belongs.
Something has changed throughout the recent presidential campaign that led to Donald J. Trump becoming president. Whichever end of the spectrum you found yourself on, the citizen dialogue was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Over the past couple of years, I have witnessed hateful rhetoric. Anonymous blogs and posters throughout social media debating half truths fed by the media, slaying people in ways that were unfair, inappropriate and in some cases downright violent in nature. As overt as it has been, the anger leading up to where we are today has been a slow and simmering trajectory downward.
So now what? America is about to inaugurate an unapologetically crass multi-national business man turned reality star celebrity who lost the popular vote to become president. A man without any political experience on the grand stage to be the leader of the free world.
It is our aim at KingstonCitizens.org with the issues that we take on to understand the law and process around them. Whatever side one leans towards, we appreciate the bureaucraticprocesses in place because we know that when ciitzens choose to lean in, there is that to protect them as they come to better understand governing. When it’s not working, then there is a need for reform. Coming to better know the law and process provides a baseline, and these safeguards will most certainly erode if citizens do not become familiar with them.
Since December, KingstonCitizens.org has spent time preparing a document that outlines Trump’s initiatives for the first 100 days of his being in office and disseminating their context to better match initiatives, policy and laws as they pertain to NYS, Ulster County and our locality. It’s a ‘living’ document that we will work on throughout 2017 with volunteers to provide insight so that your civic efforts might be more focused and pointed.
Government on every level is a civic responsibility. Beyond Trump, the challenges that we face today is a burden that we all must shoulder. To protect our republic for generations to come – if a future republic is even possible at this point- we must hold our neighbors hand no matter who that is or how different their point of view is from yours – and get to work.
A special thanks to all of our volunteer contributors.
VIEW FAQ Sheet and a copy of the memorializing resolution and letter from Kingston’s faith community.
We are pleased to bring you video from last night’s Common Council meeting, where more than 300 people turned out at Kingston City Hall. 62 speakers signed up to speak in support or in opposition of a memorizing resolution to reaffirm Kingston as a ‘welcoming and inclusive city’.
In the end, those who spoke in favor of the common council passing the memorizing resolution held a margin of about two-to-one.
After hours of testimony, the memorializing resolution was adopted 5/3. Those in favor were Eckert (ward 1), Scott-Childress (ward 3), Dawson (ward 4), Carey (ward 5), Schabot (ward 8). Opposed were Davis (ward 6), Mills (ward 7) and Brown (ward 9)
Following, the council discussed and voted upon a fee schedule for metered parking and kiosks.
Video from last evening is brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org with thanks to Kingston News.
“Good evening. I want to thank you all for joining us tonight for what I am confident will be another fine example of democracy in action. While I appreciate the opportunity to share with you what I believe are a number of significant accomplishments we have achieved together, tonight, just like any other night, is about the work. Following this annual message, the Common Council will resume its regular business, starting with an opportunity for public comment. It is this mechanism- this opportunity in which any individual can independently and respectfully express their support, opposition or general thoughts on city matters- that ensures your elected officials hear you. For those of you who showed up tonight to support a memorializing resolution I proposed reaffirming our great city as a welcoming and inclusive community- thank you. For those of you who showed up tonight to oppose this memorializing resolution- I want to thank you as well. If one of our greatest achievements will be to have created an environment in which the public is welcomed and engaged in the decision-making process of its local government, then I know we will have done right. While it is uncomfortable to hear opinions or views that are in such great conflict with our own, it is how we handle this conflict and how we treat those with whom we are in conflict that defines who we are as a community. I believe that tonight, just like any other night, Kingston will shine.
This year, some of our most challenging issues transcended the boundaries of our small city and reflected a greater divide of philosophy and values in our nation. Questions of gun control or immigration, both of which are long-standing, divisive topics that have yet to be resolved on the national level, entered into our daily conversations with our neighbors and friends. We eventually updated our City’s firearms law and are now considering a memorializing resolution to reaffirm the City of Kingston as a welcoming and inclusive community for all, including immigrants- something that has never been done before in our community. These have not been easy topics to broach and deliberate. Even our discussions around parking fees, an issue that most cities must grapple with, have delved into important questions of fairness and equity.
However, the fact that our community members hold such conflicting and opposing values from each other reminds me that Kingston is indeed a diverse community. It is my responsibility as your Mayor to ensure that each of you, regardless of our differences, is heard.
As we reflect upon our successes and challenges of 2016, I am more confident than ever before that we are moving forward. As you will see from the annual report that will be posted on our website this week, our departments are providing an incredible variety of essential public services.
Here are key facts to clarify much of the misinformation on the matter of Kingston’s proposed memorializing resolution on being “welcoming and inclusive”. We hope it is helpful to citizens of Kingston as they prepare their testimony on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Please arrive at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway, Kingston – council chambers) at 6:45pm to sign-up to speak and to get a seat. The Mayor’s ‘state of the city’ address will begin at 7:00pm, and the Common Council will have their January council meeting following at approximately 7:30pm. Public comment will take place at that time.
Initial letter from 21 City of Kingston faith groups requesting Kingston declare itself a ‘sanctuary city’.
“Kingston as a Welcoming and Inclusive City”.
IS THE CITY OF KINGSTON DECLARING ITSELF A “SANCTUARY CITY”? No. In the memorializing resolution, although the “whereas” states that “these practices are generally considered to be ‘sanctuary city’ principles”, the proposed action of the City of Kingston is simply to reaffirm that it has always been and will always be that of “a welcoming and inclusive city”.
VIEW: Mayor Steve Noble’s reasoning why the memorializing resolution is not titled a ‘sanctuary city’. (Begins at 23:56 – 25:28)
WHAT IS A MEMORALIZING RESOLUTION? A memoralizing resolution does not set forth policy or law. Instead, it creates text to cause people to remember. It is a tool to both educate and in this case, to remind us of our principles and values.
VIEW: Mayor Steve Noble explains the context of the memorializing resolution (begins at 1:10 – 7:54).
IS THE CITY OF KINGSTON VIOLATING ANY LAWS BY PASSING A MEMORALIZING RESOLUTION THAT “REAFFIRMS KINGSTON AS A WELCOMING AND INCLUSIVE CITY”? No. The City of Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti reviewed the memoralizing resolution and found no conflicts with existing practices and procedures of the Kingston Police Department. Immigration is federal law, not local law. Kingston, and all US municipalities, is barred from making laws relating to immigration.
IS THE CITY OF KINGSTON AT RISK OF LOSING FEDERAL FUNDING BY PASSING A MEMORALIZING RESOLUTION THAT “REAFFIRMS KINGSTON AS A WELCOMING AND INCLUSIVE CITY”?
No. The current memoralizing resolution does not change any existing laws, rules or practices of the City of Kingston or the Kingston Police Department and is consistent with the principles of the NYS and US Constitution.
READ: “Trump Can’t Force “sancutary cities” to enforce his deportation plans.” in the Washington Post.
KingstonCitizens.org to host a public educational forum and discussion called “The Proposed Pilgrim Pipeline: What Ulster County Citizens Need To Know and How Local Action Makes Global Impacts” on Saturday, January 28, 2017, at Kingston City Hall Council Chambers located at 420 Broadway, in Kingston NY from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Guest panelists include Jeremy Cherson of Riverkeeper, Sue Rosenberg of Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline/CAPP-NY, Jen Metzger of Citizens For Local Power and a Rosendale Town Councilwoman and Andy Bicking of Scenic Hudson. The short film “Hudson River at Risk 6: A Pipeline Runs Through It” will be presented by Writer, filmmaker and adventurer and six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council Jon Bowermaster.
The event is brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org. Co-sponsored by Riverkeeper, Citizens for Local Power, Scenic Hudson, CAPP-NY, the Local Economies Project and the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Kingston Land Trust, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Woodstock Land Conservancy, Earth Guardians NY, Citizen Action NY and Sustainable Hudson Valley. With support from the City of Kingston, the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council, Town of Rosendale, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Ulster County Legislature and 103rd District Assemblyman Kevin Cahill.
VIEW Event on Facebook for up-to-date information on this important local event.
Kingston, NY – Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC has proposed to construct two parallel pipelines that would run along the NYS Thruway and through private property—one pipeline carrying Bakken crude oil south from Albany, NY, to a refinery in Linden, NJ, and the other carrying refined products north. The 170+ miles of pipelines, together with nearly 13 miles of lateral pipelines, would impact 31 communities in Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland counties, as well as 30+ communities in New Jersey. The carrying capacity of each pipeline would be 200,000 barrels (or 8.4 million gallons) per day, which would more than double the number of trains carrying volatile Bakken crude to the Port of Albany at the peak of Bakken crude production in 2014. The increase in crude-by-rail volume means that the project will also impact many communities north and west of Albany through which the CSX and Canadian Pacific rail lines run.
This year, we have witnessed many unprecedented, positive changes in the city of Kingston. One of which was a whole new way of engaging the community with a budget forum held at Kingston City Hall in August as well as an online survey where citizens had the opportunity to voice in on the Mayor’s 2017 municipal budget.
Soon after, the finance committee met on a weekly basis for about six weeks to interview department heads who unveiled their department’s needs. To be thorough, Kingston Mayor Noble also requested a special committee meeting to discuss special events, fees and to respond to any other concerns raised about the budget. I can’t recall a time when I have seen such transparent and collaborative efforts made between all elected and appointed officials in the City of Kingston.
After hours upon hours of research and discussion, the finance passed the city’s 2017 budget out of committee and on to last evening’s council caucus (12/5). Its fate is now in the hands of our entire common council who will vote to pass the budget or not this evening (12/6).
Some say that the 2017 COK budget is the first in decades where a balanced budget has been achieved that also includes a tax cut. It’s a forward thinking document; one that places the COK on solid footing for the future.
The highlights include a tax levy of $17,650,940, which is a $0 increase from 2016. What’s really exciting is that it slowly addresses the long-standing issue of the homestead / non-homestead, decreasing the homestead tax rate from $10.16 per thousand to $10.10 per thousand and the non-homestead tax rate from $18.31 per thousand to $18.13 per thousand. Items such as raises were determined through a multi-member committee. It was a long and well-vetted analysis, using comparable salaries from similar communities. The result moves toward fair pay for all (for both male and female employees alike) and gives Kingston a competitive edge when openings become available in attracting the best and the brightest.
The city will continue to provide extensive services at a cost effective rate, too. You’d be hard pressed to find a private hauler for the price that most are paying through the City of Kingston’s Department of Public Works. We know how important that is to Kingstonians.
BRINGING SOME CLARITY AND UNDERSTANDING TO POTENTIAL DEBATE THIS EVENING.
With ample time for discussion throughout the estimated three-month process, we still expect several items to come to the floor this evening for debate. Below, we’ve tried to pull together a little background to help citizens follow along.
Hiring a part-time clerk for Kingston’s Common Council.
A part time common council clerk position was implemented to assist the council in their administrative needs. This would include creating timely agendas, minutes and even audio recordings of all caucus and council meetings. It’s the sort of thing that we have been advocating for since we began this work in 2006. It’s an exciting prospect for all citizens.
1) In the City of Kingston’s charter, the city clerk (who is appointed by the mayor) manages all “records, documents and other papers for the city”. Their role also includes being the council’s clerk without any detail outside of going to monthly council meetings. In other words, a single position is to maintain the needs of both the executive and legislative branches of government, the latter to a degree.
2) Some believe that it makes sense for our common council (legislative branch) to have its own PT clerk that can work independently of our city clerk (executive branch). It may avoid any potential conflicts as to how much time is applied where given that the city clerk position is appointed by Kingston’s Mayor.
What are some of the concerns?
As we understand it, Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills wants the council to move the $16,000 allotted amount towards an asset management ‘manager’ position.
1) To date, the City of Kingston is awaiting recommendations from Barton and Loguidice, LLC, the consultant hired to provide the city with an asset management gap assessment several years ago. In 2015, recommendations in three phases were made to move Kingston toward adopting a citywide asset management software system. Long term maintenance and sustainability may be part of phase three, which could give the city a better understanding of the role an asset management ‘manager’ could play, including their qualifications and pay. Some say that without this critical information, making any determinations on what and how to fund this position is premature.
2) There are also other key variables that would come into play, such as a grant that was written to cover a fleet manager position and that would manage all vehicles in the city. Kingston should learn if they have secured this grant soon and if so, the position might reduce the responsibilities of a future asset manager.
Making Kingston’s Corporation Council a full-time position.
1) Kingston’s Corporation Council is another appointment made by the mayor, serving at his/her pleasure. In the charter, it states that: “The Corporation Counsel shall be the primary legal advisor to the Mayor, Common Council and of all commissions, departments and other offices of the city. The Corporation Counsel shall conduct, supervise or monitor, as required, the prosecution and defense of all actions or proceedings brought by or against the city or by or against any of its officers in their official capacity and appeal from all such orders, decisions and judgments as he or she deems advisable.”
That’s a pretty large list of responsibilities for part-time council. As a side note, and if their position is indeed 20 hours, what happens when/if they have not choice but to go over their allotment of time?
2) Some believe that it isn’t realistic or fair to expect corporation council’s full attention to city matters when they are also being pulled by a necessary private practice. Others suggest that in addition, maintaining both private and public work in tandem could open up the possibility of conflicts of interest (especially in a small city such as Kingston).
We support the 2017 City of Kingston Municipal Budget.
We appreciate the mayor, common council, all Kingston city departments and citizens for their hard work since the summer to craft such an exemplary budget for Kingston. Their efforts deserve our wholehearted support. We encourage citizens to sign-up to speak tonight at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway, Council Chambers at 7:30 pm) in favor of passing the 2017 City of Kingston municipal budget through council. In doing so, we are placing our best foot forward as we go into the new year.