Thursday, December 8, 2011
COMMON COUNCIL MEETING 12/6/2011
PUBLIC SPEAKING SPEECH BY JEAN JACOBS
My name is Jean Jacobs and I reside at
Wall Street Kingston NY.
I am a life long resident of the City of
and have been a Community Activist for over 30 years. Kingston
Good Evening Mr. President Members of the common council and community residents in attendance this evening.
36.6 million dollar budget
Our city is in a financial crisis and city government is broken. Ladies and Gentlemen this is not my opinion this is fact. If the City of
continues down this
path we will lose the ability to control our destiny. The City of Kingston
government must learn to live within a budget. We must cut our spending and do
more with less. We are going to have to shift our fiscal priorities and
fundamentally restructure how city government operates. We cannot continue to
spend what we don’t have. Kingston
The City of
realizing the fate of our financial crisis should have created a Municipal
Finance Review Panel over a year ago. Every Department should have provided a
budget for their department with a 10 per cent reduction recognizing the fiscal
crisis. I have said it before and continue to express the importance that the
budget process is a work in progress 12 months of the year. Kingston
An immediate spending freeze should have been imposed months ago when we realized we were facing a financial crisis which required emergency action by municipal governmental officials.
There should have been an immediate review of all contracts with third party vendors with a high emphasis on considering to bring services in-house with current personnel and project a savings to offset the current budget.
A Fiscal Emergency must be a priority when sitting at the table with contract negotiations and certain sacrifices must be made to rebuild the city’s foundation. Including shared sacrifices and difficult decisions.
As a resident and taxpayer I was shocked that the Common Council Public Officials working and paid on behalf of all the public at large did not offer any budget proposal propositions to the Mayor as a result of his budget proposal. The Mayor stated that the council usually reduced tax hikes in proposals that he has submitted in the past. What concerns me considerably, is the fact that the only proposition to the tax payer is to use a portion of the current fund balance to lower the tax burden, increase bus fares, increase parking violations and hire a part time meter maid. This is a dangerous fiscal proposition especially when the fund balance should remain there for unexpected expenditures and for bonding purposes. The term in the Kingston Times quoted Budget TAKEN AS IS proves that we have failed as fiscal managers. Now we are at the bewitching hour trying to resolve what is a year long process and making last minute recommendations that have not been discussed, or investigated to the level of acceptance required including the homestead non-homestead increase and once again the tax payer is asked to finance the shortfall. I agree this is a formula that requires further investigative reporting and decision making but not at the eleventh hour.
Ask this question: How did city officials reduce spending to offset this increased cost to the taxpayer?
Last but not least are you actually considering the financial crisis that we are experiencing and we are going to bond once again 644,000 for equipment and three police cars? This resolution was passed the other evening 9-0.
The Reality is we are facing a national, state, county and city financial crisis. The only propositions after an entire year are raising once again revenue generating efforts on the tax payer. SHOW ME THE MONEY I am a No vote on this budget.