Friday, November 9, 2012

"Mission Impossible"

November 8, 2012
From: Jean Jacobs
Location: City Hall
Re: City of Kingston 2013 Public Budget Hearing 

Good Evening Honorable President James Noble
Members of the Common Council and the General public in attendance this evening:

Professionally and publicly I have managed and worked with million dollar budgets throughout my professional career. Therefore, I felt compelled to speak this evening regarding the City of Kingston Proposed 2013 budget 36.8 million down from the 2012 budget 36.9 million and voice my concerns and compliments. The budget tax levy amount to be generated by property taxes is unchanged from 2012 at about 15 million. Therefore why has the tax levy increased by approximately 3 percent?

The tax rates are proposed to rise to compensate for the total value of properties falling approximately 48 million a city wide decline in lower assessment rolls is the result of city wide decline in property value. This should be a major concern to the Common Council in recognizing how Kingston must begin to grow the tax base and begin to increase the values of homeowner’s properties. Municipal governmental officials should be most concerned with the following trend.

n      48 million Decrease in homeowners assessment property values which is an estimate of 3%.
n      48% Increase from last year in the Safety Net Welfare Projection 2013: $1,753.841 up considerably from last year $1,189.08. This increase is passed on to the taxpayer. Previously 2012-75 per cents per 1,000. 2013 increase to 1.15 per 1,000.
n      What does this tell you?
n      2% State tax cap
n      Limited fund balance at the beginning of the budget process
n      Mandatory Unfunded Mandates
n      6.3 % increase in pension costs
n      8.3 % in health care costs
n      No layoffs in staff
n      No employee raises
n      Contracts are still to be determined for city employees

How do you govern and financially manage with many of the roadblocks I have outlined in my discussion this evening. Quite frankly a little magic and leadership with an emphasis on protecting and recognizing the taxpayer is paramount. Therefore I look to the municipal leaders in my community in each Ward to recognize the importance of fiscal management by working together with our Mayor in a collaborative effort to increase the tax base and reduce costs to the taxpayers.

“My shout out to my community and taxpayers” Please I urge you to become more involved in your tax dollars and have a voice in the process. I attended the Mayors Press Release outlining the Budget for 2013 and I would have hoped more Citizens and Alderman would have attended.  

Hopefully prosperity is at our doorstop and the future of Kingston will continue to prosper and grow.

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