Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Proposal for Economic Development in Kingston

As I have been campaigning throughout the city, people have continuously expressed concern about the lack of jobs and the lack of economic development in general.

Years ago, the City of Kingston had numerous small businesses dotting the landscape. Many of the businesses were owner occupied. There were small grocers, barbershops, butchers, and so forth. Many semi-retired lawyers, doctors, and other professional businessmen renovated their living rooms or parlors into a small part-time office.

Sadly, there are precious few of these types of businesses remaining in the City of Kingston. One of the reasons why is the homestead versus non-homestead tax differential. Currently, the tax rate for a business is more than double the residential rate. Thus, if a person decides to open a business in their home, they are facing a substantial increase in their property taxes. This expense makes it financially unwise to make such an investment. Granted, one may petition the Planning Board to get some portion of the property levied at the residential rate, but such a process is long, tiring, and cumbersome.

If you drive through the City of Kingston, the number of empty storefronts is staggering. Something must be done to stimulate our local economy and get these storefronts open for business once again.

Since the City of Kingston needs economic development in the worst way, and since owner occupied businesses are something the city also needs, it is time for the tax law in Kingston to be amended.

I propose that a business that is owner occupied be levied at the homestead rate instead of the commercial (non-homestead) rate. The property would have to be truly owner occupied. Simply having a cot in the back room would be insufficient. This law would apply only to those people who own a business and actually reside on premises, perhaps in an apartment above the store, or something similar. The law would also require a criminal penalty for those falsely claiming residence to avail themselves of the tax benefit.

The intention is to provide an incentive for people considering or actually operating a small business out of their residence or in a building annexed to their residence. The business community in Kingston has been stifled with high taxes and choking city regulations and red tape. We need to offer incentives to our businesses to get them growing and expanding again.

Naysayers will no doubt question this proposal and wonder aloud how the tax break would be funded. These same naysayers have not offered one single plan to improve our local economy, create jobs, address the crushing level of taxes, cut city spending, or fight crime. As I have noted before, my comprehensive plan contains more than enough spending cuts to allow for this plan, as well as my previous business proposals. The residents will not see their taxes increase as a result of this plan.

We must get our local economy started and running again. We need jobs and economic development so our citizens can work and earn a good living.


Anonymous said...

Another great idea. We need jobs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rich, when are your opponents going to submit a plan? You are the only one offering plans on taxes, spending cuts, economic development, and crime.

Ralph Mitchell said...

I would take your proposal all the way. Equalize the Homestead and Business property tax rates totally in one year, ie. in next year's budget. Why next year's budget? Because this is the budget that has to include the new Municipal contracts being negotiated with the Police, Fire and DPW unions. With the 2% property tax cap, it will be that much more difficult for the 3 unions to win at the negotiating table or with the binding arbitration. Also, the aldermen/woman would be required to vote on the budget. This would expose if the alderpeople are serious about bring business to Kingston again. Let me know what everyone thinks about this.

Anonymous said...

Great idea after great idea. Rich you are the best. I hope you win the primary so I can vote for you in November. I am a democrat but, have had it with this administration. Neither Clement or Gallo has given no ideas on how ot better Kingston and help solve our financial problems.

How do you feel about meters in all City parking lots?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of union contracts, Rich can you address what you think teachers, police, and fire fighters should be paid and what benefits if any they should receive in your opinion? This would be helpful.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


Your question is extremely vague. Can you be more specific? Are you asking about my position on negotiations?

Anonymous said...

you must first start with getting "RID" !!!!! of Sue Cahill!!!!!.and totally revamp the entire planning board.the board is neither concerned or encourging to welcome busisnesses into this great city.frankly there attitude is " WE WOULD RATHER NOT HAVE YOU COME HERE ".the entire process the board forces you to endure is discourging at best hurtfull and totally obstructive.the next time city police officers are threatened with their jobs,the protest should be at a planning board meeting and not at caucus.small busisnesses are the ECONOMIC ENGINE that keeps this country rollin.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


I agree that that entire planning process needs some serious review. I do not, however, want to get into personalities.

As Mayor, I will review the entire process and will make whatever changes are necessary, including personnel if required.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about being vague. If you controlled our police, fire and teacher contracts how would you change them in terms of salary & benefits? Basically what do you feel is "fair" for these people to receive being they are paid using tax dollars?

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


I understand your question now.

I think the Police, Fire, and DPW do an excellent job for the city. They are worth every penny we pay them.

However, we are facing a difficult economy. As such, I am not sure the city can afford significant raises.

I think the current contracts should be for 2 years only. For the first 2 years, we need to really control expenses tightly. Perhaps in the next negotiation (after 2 years), the economy will be better.

Until the economy improves, any person in the Mayor's chair will be hard pressed to grant raises. The money simply is not there.

As for health benefits, it will be difficult to obtain concessions from the unions. It might be feasible to get a deal altering benefits for new employees, i.e. requiring contributions toward them by the employee.

I also think we will see quite a few retirements at the end of 2011. A hard look must be given to the idea of not replacing some of the retirees and redistributing the work. Some additional money will have to be given for those doing added work, but it will result in savings to the taxpayers overall.

I hope this answers your question.

Anonymous said...

Not really. Do you feel teachers making $110,000 plus benefits for 25-30 years work of work is too high, low, or about right? And what about cops and firefighters making 80-90k plus benefits? These examples are from reality. Finally what percentage of health insurance cost should be paid by the public employee? 6%? 10%? 50%?

Ralph Mitchell said...

The structural problems with the City of Kingston budget are very bad for the foreseeable future (ie.beyond 2 years, probably beyond 5 years. According to Mayor Sottile, Kingston is carrying around $3.5 Million of unpaid pension liabilities, which he plans on amortizing over the next 6 years at $600,000 per year.
This is painfully serious money that Kingston will have a hard time collecting from a dwindling tax base. If Kingston has to live with a 2% property tax cap, the new contracts for DPW, Fire and Police will have to be drastically cut. Positions will have to be cut. Unless the mayor and council delay the inevitable cutting, it is a crisis of monumental proportions.

Anonymous said...

in response to your entry of 8:56.there are no personalitys afforded.although the process should be handled with upmost intelligence,not ignorance.when it comes to voting weather a busisness want to set up shop here.the board should NOT ever vote on personal opinion, and vote only on policy and addition as a member of the busisness comunity its my TAX dollars that contribute to and for salaries for police,fire,dpw. all of which were under the AX the last past budget processes.the planning board should be at the front gate with open arms weclomeing busisnesses to this city,and not chasing them to set up shop elsewhere

Anonymous said...

Do we be paying overtime to Fire Dept to pump out certain people's basements and unlocking certain people's cars and pretending to be an ambulance company, and working on Mayor's campaigns during contract negotiations?

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