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Kingston Common Council Minority Leader's Speech

Kingston Common Council Minority Leader's Speech

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Published by Daily Freeman
Delivered by Alderwoman Deborah Brown, R-Ward 9, March 5, 2013
Delivered by Alderwoman Deborah Brown, R-Ward 9, March 5, 2013

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Published by: Daily Freeman on Mar 06, 2013
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07/10/2013

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MINORITY SPEECH FOR CITY OF KINGSTON, MARCH 2013Mayor Gallo, Mr. President, my fellow council members and to all of you heretonight, I want to thank you again for this opportunity to update and share ourhopes & visions as we are still trying to meet the challenge of this tough economiccloud which is slowly lifting here in the Mid Hudson Valley and the City of Kingston. We are moving forward.In recent months the council has worked together to address the most pressingissues confronting the city. Jobs, taxes and quality of life issues. The sidewalk caféLegislation was enacted to make it fair to all restaurant owners and pedestriansto use the sidewalks in a safe manner and at the same time promote sidewalkcafé dining. In this same piece of legislation we also addressed the liability issue of sidewalk dining which was a concern for the City of Kingston. Most recently wepassed legislation to confront the
destruction of landlord’s property by some of 
their tenants. They will now be held accountable. This makes the tenants and thelandlords all part of the plan to reduce decay and the disrepair of housingproperties .They all have a stake in cleaning up the city and its image.The current administration and council has
undertaken “clean up
theCity
agendas to rid the city of blight, revitalize Mid-Town. More codeenforcement has been done in recent months than had been done in past years.
 
We are no longer going to throw platitudes at these issues . We are currentlyworking on a policy to address abandoned buildings in the many neighborhoodsin and about the city. It is time to make banks who foreclosed on homes to beresponsible for property maintenance. Nothing brings a neighborhood down like aneglected structure in their midst. For a lot of homeowners their house is theirrefuge, where they raise their families ; an investment for their future andretirement years.We passed a budget that had a slight increase on taxpayer
s taxes which still is amajor concern for all who reside and own a business in this city .We kept it atthe 2% cap. This Mayor and council worked with dept. heads to see where wecould cut expenses.We are having to work harder to address financial issues here in the city . We alsoacknowledge that revenue is not always keeping pace and that state and federalaid is being reduced significantly. We have had to undertake some major repairsof our infrastructure . One in particular is the notorious sinkhole on Washingtonavenue. Fortunately for us, the economic development office of the City of Kingston was able to obtain a grant to defray the cost enabling us to furtherrepair possible future issues underground at that site. During Super Storm Sandyour waterfront downtown took a hit from flood waters. In particular the sewagetreatment plant which was just recovering from the hauling of sediment making
 
its way there from the Washington Avenue sinkhole. The sewage treatment plantis going to need major repair and upgrades and that needs to be to addressed inthe real near future. The City Engineer is currently creating a capital improvementplan. I know that Mike Schupp and the DPW workers get criticized when thingsgo awry but in the last storm there were dedicated and innovative employeeswho risked their safety to keep the plant up and running. The same went for thewater department. I know that city residents appreciated having their watersupply intact, uninterrupted and with being able to remove waste from yourhome during that crisis.Hence a Waterfront Flooding Commission has been formed to study how we willdeal with this and future development on the Rondout. Many volunteers fromdifferent backgrounds are a part of this project as are elected officials. But alongwith bad news there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Two businesses arein the process of getting ready to expand their business and personnel. TheSeven21 media Center in Midtown notice an uptick of space being rented. Withthe closing of Kingston Hospital there is speculation that there are developerswho are interested in the possibility of converting it into different entities. Sittingon the horizon is the opportunity of converting the Bank of America building intoa new police station which would be a boom to midtown businesses andhomeowners. All part of the hopes & vision of Kingston re- inventing itself. Thisgrowth is slow but steady.

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