Kingston Common Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 7th at 7:30pm
Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers (top floor)
420 Broadway (across from the Kingston High School)
By Rebecca Martin
It’s great to see so many residents and neighbors planning to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th to speak or to simply be present on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. project.
As you know, the Niagara Bottling Co. project came out of the blue for most everyone with an early article in the Times Herald Record (September 10th) and shortly after, making front page news in both the Daily Freeman and Kingston Times. From the proposal presented by Peter Romano of the Chazen Company to the Town of Ulster Planning Board on September 16th, Niagara Bottling Co. expressed their desire to begin their build in 2015. In doing so, they would be using the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell as well as scouting out other ‘spring’ sources in Ulster County and beyond. The project was approved to be sent for a SEQRA review with the Town of Ulster Town Board taking the lead. A resolution was granted on 9/18/14 – just about the time the public became aware by the media. Romano’s presentations were not on either agendas posted by the Town of Ulster.
Because of the swiftness of it all, KingstonCitizens.org prepared a Facebook event so that the public could go in front of the Common Council as soon as possible. Although our passion for the subject is a no-brainer, this effort also illustrates how important it is to the people for transparent processes to be a priority for all local municipalities. Local officials, take note.
(It may be necessary to do the very same thing at the next Town of Ulster Town Board meeting, too. Their next Town Board meeting is on Thursday, October 16th at 7:00pm. Public comment appears to occur later in the meeting. Stay tuned).
WHAT TO EXPECT. WHAT TO DO
1. ARRIVAL: We expect a very large turnout. The meeting begins at 7:30pm, so please plan to arrive early (7:00pm) so to find parking, to sign-up to speak when the list becomes available and to get a seat. It’ll be standing room only.
2. KINGSTON COMMON COUNCIL: It appears that the Common Council were caught off guard as much as we were. Many, if not most, are as concerned too. As a first step, lets work with the council in finding a solution by including an action that you wish the Council to take that is well within their jurisdiction and abilities. We want them to come back to the table with an action in response to the public’s requests.
In Kingston, those that issued the ‘will share’ was City of Kingston Superintendent Judy Hansen of the Kingston Water Department. As an independent board, The Mayor of Kingston is the only public official who is a member. Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche was given the role as council liaison, though it is unclear if he ever attended a meeting. The council, unfortunately, was never alerted.
Suggested Actions to request:
– For the Common Council to organize a public hearing/debate with city officials and guest speakers (such as Food & Water Watch).
– That a resolution be drafted to protect groundwater and Kingston’s surface water (Cooper Lake) from being being sold to private companies to bottle and to sell.
3. PUBLIC COMMENT: The public is taking advantage of the council meeting “public comment” period where anyone is able to speak. On his evening, we will be discussing Niagara, the use of Cooper Lake, and other items. As per council rules, council members “are not allowed to engage in debate during this period.” If the project gets any further, there will be time for debate and more. That’s a promise.
3. COMMENT LENGTH: Because of the number of people who will want to speak on the 7th, we ask that you come prepared with a statement. What is typical is that a speaker is given 3 minutes each. Try to keep it to that length and as noted above, consider ending with an action that you wish the Kingston Common Council to make that is in their jurisdiction.
4. THOSE IN FAVOR…: Jobs will be the argument made by those who attend in favor of the Niagara Bottling Co. project. For those who wish to, please prepare facts to counter.
5. FILMING: The public comment period will be filmed.
If you have further questions, please send them along to Rebecca Martin: firstname.lastname@example.org