The Future of the City of Kingston
By Jean Jacobs GOP Candidate for Mayor, City of Kingston
Having attended the committee meeting several weeks ago it was discussed that the City of Kingston had not completed a Comprehensive Master Plan since 1963. I was shocked to hear this information and realized we must have lost millions of dollars in stimulus grants due to lack of updated statistics when applying for grants. I could not believe what I was hearing. Fragmentation leads to failure and the City of Kingston Governmental Administration have been addressing so many areas that require attention without a Comprehensive Plan to Steer them and the future of Kingston. I have served for years on committees that develop Master Plans for the future and I can definitely speak to the importance of this document and the accountability it represents.
Currently we are wasting our time and tax payers' money by picking and choosing our concerns, such as planting trees, cleaning parks, smoking in parks, term limits, garage sales, etc. We are not taking into consideration developing the goals for the future growth of the City of Kingston which, could include all of the issues and generate revenue at the same time by the creation and implementation of the Comprehensive Master Plan.
The Master Plan is the planning document which gives a general framework which includes planning for the development of our fine city. The purpose is to lay out future plans for an area and to provide reasonable certainty and predictability for potential investors. The plan should serve as a document for the common citizen to understand proposed changes and put them in a proper context and it should define the obligations for city officials and those to follow on appropriate decision making.
What should the Master Plan accomplish?
1. Give direction for positive change while keeping livability (guide how much development)
2. Give guidance for day-to-day decisions
3. Give better visual definition physically (height restrictions, open space)
4. Analyze impact of new development (especially the impact of new roads, sewer lines)
5. Give guidance for redevelopment of older areas (blight removal vs. historic rehab)
6. Encourage proper timing for development (e.g., provide incentives for housing, not offices)
7. Should be clear enough for common citizen to comprehend
8. Should be considered an obligation for elected officials and those that follow.
9. Revitalize parks and recreation
Elements of the plan will include a designation of permitted land uses, development of public facilities, and an analysis or transportation and circulation patterns. Such master plans are usually developed using the "rational planning process," a process that includes the following steps.
• survey and analysis of data
• make projections into future
• develop goals for future growth
• establish planning policies based on goals
The comprehensive plan will give a detailed look at the entire city from transportation challenges to maintaining parks and open space for residents. The biggest challenges facing the city planners, such as protecting the environment and managing growth, are the top concerns for residents.
Comprehensive Master Plan should be seen as an opportunity for the city to look ahead and build consensus on the direction the community is moving in. The steering committee will set developmental goals, objectives and polices generate revenue while meeting the needs of the community. A strategic plan for the future.
We are going in numerous different directions without realizing the cost savings and revenue generating opportunities. For years this has been an opportunity knocking at the Doorway of Kingston. I hold each and everyone of you past and present accountable and to take action on this critical juncture in the Historical City of Kingston. The sky is the limit here with Kingston being the first Capital of New York State and the revenue and grant possibilities are endless with updated statistics for the future of Kingston. Had we recognized the importance of updating this years ago, we may have the required fund balance to offset the cost of a long awaited improvements. Bonding is not a stable financial management approach and basically we are borrowing to pay our bills.
My Comprehensive Business Plan as a candidate for Mayor offers a change in the organizational chart. The Mayor and the Common Council should not be in charge of appointing positions or negotiating contracts. When elected Mayor of the City of Kingston I would create a position of a Business Manager. The current system needs to be managed and governed by someone with business and contract credentials. The Mayor is the CEO and he/she will delegate and will be responsible for the day to day operations of The City of Kingston.
The responsibility of every candidate running for an elected position is to educate their public so the voter is informed regarding issues when they go to the polls. I do not support term limits because we must encourage and promote the importance that every vote counts. With less than 50 per cent voter participation at the polls we must begin to be innovative and create that "Fire in The Belly" in each registered voter to take charge of their right to vote. Voting at the polls is democracy in action.
This would definitely be included in my Comprehensive Business Plan for the future of the City of Kingston.
GOP Mayoral Candidate
City of Kingston