Monday, May 16, 2011

An Economic Disaster

Most people know that Ulster County passes one-half of its Safety Net expenses down to the City of Kingston and the towns of Ulster County based on the percentage of applicants within each.

However, a major change out of Albany will be placing a terrible financial burden on the City of Kingston, not to mention the towns throughout the county. Up until recently, the State of New York paid 50% and passed the remaining 50% to the counties. Ulster County is the only county that further splits the expense. They pay one-half and pass the other one-half down to the localities.

Now, the State has changed the formula RETROACTIVELY to January 1, 2011. The new breakdown will be 29% paid by the State of New York with 71% passed to the counties. Ulster of course will pass the increase down to the towns and city. A very conservative estimate shows the City of Kingston being hit with an increase somewhere between $600,000.00 and $800,000.00, which of course means a tax increase.

It is even worse for Kingston because of the phony way this expense is budgeted or --more accurately-- not budgeted. Kingston does not budget the expense and instead simply allows the county to increase city property assessments directly. It was done this way to give the city an artificial budget increase for one year. This happened some years ago.

It is time for Ulster County to stop the madness. Stop bankrupting the localities and pay the expense like other counties do. It is time for the State to address out of control spending and stop just passing the buck to the counties.

It must start with Ulster County. I therefore call upon County Executive Hein and the County Legislature to stop hitting Kingston and the towns. Pay the expense directly like every other county in the State of New York.


Anonymous said...

You are 100% correct on this one. The practical problem is the county doesn't want to take the responsibility. The city went to court to get that result, and that's where we are at the moment.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


You are correct; however, there is another factor.

Because the City chooses not to actually pay the safety net from its budget and allows the county to simply add the amount to the county tax assessments against Kingston properties, a reasonable argument can be made by the county that the city has effectively waived the issue of repayment of the amount overcharged by the county.

The city has been mismanaged on this issue for years,and the county has stuck it to Kingston and various towns for many years.

Anonymous said...

Rich is this why Kingston is hit with a 5% increase in County taxes, while other areas have a 0% increase?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the city should get less sales tax revenue and then the county could afford to take on the added expense. There are two sides to every story.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


The sales tax issue and the safety net are 2 separate issues. The city has the right to collect its own sales tax, but forgoes that right in return for the payment by the county.

The safety net issue is completely different, but those in opposition falsely use this argument to justify an unjustifiable position.

Csrl Chipman Town of Rochester Supervisor said...

Safety Net and Sales tax were tied together in the first place and that is why they can't be looked at separately. The current situation with the county keeping TANF Windfall money to the tune of $1,400,000 is the problem. The counties all together were saved about $58,000,000 accordiing to NYSAC in lieu of the 71/29 split. The extra cost based on 2010 numbers for the towns and City of Kingston would be $1,255,00. Ulster County was trying to keep the money and not pass it on to the Towns and City of Kingston. they just wanted to pass the extra costs on to the municipalities snd keep the windfall for themselves. The monet coming to the county was confirmed at a meeting I attended in which County Executive Hein and Social Services Commissioner Rodriguez addressed the Ulster County Association of Supervisors and Mayors.
Both myself and Supervisor Quigley addressed the UC Legislature about this this evening. The Association of Supervisors and Mayors selected a aubcommittee of myself, Quigley, and President of the Assoc. Valk to meet with the Leg. Frey and other county reps. to work to solve the situation. A motion to begin work on a motion to give the windfall to the municipalities was also introduced by Leg. Bernardo this evening. I'd also like to point out that the mayor of Kingst on did not attend the meeting this morning and the last time I saw him at an association meeting was Xmas 2009.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

Supervisor Chipman,

Though I disagree with your contentions regarding the sales tax issue, I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis concerning the county keeping the TANF Windfall money.

Last night, legislators (even those representing Kingston) refused to amend the rules and allow discussion on this important issue.

Also, if elected Mayor, I will attend the meetings you cited.

Anonymous said...

Rich says
Last night, legislators (even those representing Kingston) refused to amend the rules and allow discussion on this important issue.

Thats because they are too busy worrying about whats in the vending machines.
Who votes for these incompetent people?
Is there any intelligent life left in UC?

Anonymous said...

The democrats in the legislature don't know what to do until they get their marching orders from Hein.

Anonymous said...

To anon 2;00pm and Rich, I really do not want to get involved in blogs, but the reason our taxes went up 5% is because properties are over assessed in the City and as a result the equalization rate which by law can not go above 100% in reality, because of the over assessment as a result of the re-assessment issue, mathematically is in the 110% area. Henceforth the 5% increase versus 0% increase elsewhere. And the Problem will only get worse if IBM/Tech City win there tax challenge in court, which could reduce that value from 16 million to as little as 3 million as requested or somewhere in between. Who picks that up, remember they are in the Kingston School!! District as well.

Anonymous said...

Well ok, Mr. Cahill. Then why can't the county simply tell Kingston to make the assessments and that it will no longer do so if it wants the city to pay these costs? Seems rather simple.
In the end, the county doesn't want to pay the costs,and would prefer to seem cost-cutters instead, as every other county in New York State does. That says something, don't you think?
It's still a game of "hot potato."

Anonymous said...

Sales and Safety net were always negotiated at the same time. Safety Net was an integral part of the negotiation to give Kingston the percentage of sales tax that it gets today.

The issue is the lack of support the Kingston Legislators are able to muster to fix this problem.

Provenzano, Dart, Loughran, Donaldson and now Madsen have proven to be ineffective in fixing the safety net problem.

Hein has said he will give the money to the towns. That is this year, what about the following years?

Anonymous said...

Well it looks like after getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar Hein has decided to do the right thing. We should give a big thank you to Legislator Bernardo for taking the lead on this issue and getting all the pertinent information out to the people, contrary to what Hein's original plan was.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you tell your followers that you were NOT in attendance at the Legislature meeting so how would you know who cast the "NO" votes. The motion to suspend the rules was defeated by one vote so how can you even make the statement about the City legislators? Do you even know where the Legislature meetings are held? I don't believe you ever attended one. Oh, that's right. You can sit home in your pajamas and view the meeting on the webcast. So that counts as being in the audience. You think you have people fooled.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


It is a matter of public record as to how the Legislators voted.

Second, I have attended meetings of the County Legislator numerous times over the years.

Third, instead of attacking me personally, which accomplishes nothing, try discussing the issue. There were Legislators representing the City of Kingston who voted no. That is a fact.

Anonymous said...

All Republicans voted yes, the following Democrats voted yes as well: Rich Paret, Dave Donaldson, Susan Zimet, Mike Madsen - All other Democrats were a no vote.

Anonymous said...

Why does the County pay rent to unregistered landlords in the City of Kingston.