Common Council Majority/Minority Leaders Give State of the City Reports This Week

Imagine the joy in my heart when I noticed that the city of Kingston finally posted the Common Council’s agenda to the meeting calendar page. For those of you who have been following this work for years, you’ll remember how we petitioned the council to do so, and asked month after month for over a year with no response.

Alas – it is up, and citizens should follow along. Important to note that the agenda often changes after caucus the evening before, so it may include or exclude points depending.

City of Kingston Meeting Calendar

Common Council Agenda, April

This month, the Common Council Meeting on April 6th at 7:30pm at City Hall will include the Majority and Minority Leaders State of the City reports. This is an important meeting to attend – so make plans to be there if you are able to.

– RM

Why Residents Must Continue to Recycle

With the abrupt change made this week to the recycling schedule (that is now bi-weekly) we grew deeply concerned. Not because we think weekly pick-ups are ‘the way to go’. But because the change was made without any effort to inform or educate the public. As it is, through the hard work of Julie and Steve Noble and Jeanne Edwards, Kingston was sort of on the up and up on improving it’s recycling numbers. That might be history unless something is done and soon.

Sure, not every municipality offers recycling to their residents. That may even be where we are heading. The fact of the matter is, Kingston has offered it as a service and we have come to expect it. If more people now feel inconvenienced and decide to trash their plastics and all, we are not only heading in the wrong direction but we are also encouraging a whopper of an expense in the long run.

Why? At this time, Kingston pays UCRRA (Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency) $71 a ton to then ship our garbage up the river some 250 miles. That’s what makes it so expensive. Weigh that against the national average, which is around $42.08 per ton.

Landfills are close to capacity. Perhaps not this year or next, but in the very near future our garbage may be shipped even further away. Now does that make any sense?

So please, hold onto your recycling until your new scheduled pick-up day. Give your bottles and cans an extra wash out to prepare them to sit for a week longer. That only takes a few seconds of your time. If you simply can’t wait, delivering your recyclables, yard waste and brush to the transfer station is free.

Encourage your Alderman to help solve this problem through good discussion and solid examples by looking outside of Kingston to see what might be useful to us.

– Rebecca Martin

Here are a couple of helpful links.

City of Kingston: New Recycling/Yard Waste Pick-Up Schedule Why Pay As You Throw? Plastics By Numbers

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Mulching and Composting Brochure

Breaking It Down: Community Development Block Grant Administrative Costs

Thanks to Michael Murphy, Executive Director of the Community Development department in Kingston for being helpful and responding quickly to provide the information below.

On the consultant side, we were told that currently the only outside consultant used is one that audits his department and is covered by the budgeted administrative costs (as noted below).

If you have any further questions, in addition to being in touch with Michael directly, you can also contact Ward 7 Alderman Bill Reynolds who chairs the Community Development committee. You can find all of Bill’s current information by visiting the Ward 7 Yahoo Group

There is apparently a meeting for the Community Development Committee on April 7th to vote on the grant items that were listed in the paper this week. Although it is not yet on the calendar, please check the city of Kingston’s website municipal calendar for April to learn more.

– Rebecca Martin

“I am the Director of Community Development and oversee the CDBG money for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. The department consist of 3 individuals including myself.

The Office of Community Development funds many needed organizations throughout the Midtown Area which directly benefits over 700-800 youths as well as needy Adults. Every year the office tries to spread out the money to as many organizations and projects as possible. These programs and projects do not run by themselves, they have to be administered, as required by the Federal Government. Our office has 3 full time individuals and the administrative cost pays for salary and benefits. In addition, our office has to pay for our own supplies, office furniture, office equipment(Computers,etc.)and auditor fees out of the administrative part of the grant. The grant requires a full audit by an independent CPA firm.

The following is the Office Budget:

Salaries(3): $101,250.00
Benefits(3): 30,312.00
CPA Audit: 12,000.00
Office Eqiup: 4,000.00
Office Furn: 1,400.00
Office Supplies: 2,800.00
Public Notice Ads: 3,150.00
Misc: 2,000.00
TOTAL: $156,912.00

The City of Kingston DOES NOT pay one cent to fund this office. It is completely autonomous.”