Editorial: Business in Kingston

Forgive me, those who are non-fans of Citizen Kane, but in the pondering of the attempt of the Business Alliance of Kingston to establish a business improvement district, I am reminded of this one part of the faux-newsreel which makes up the first part of Orson Welles’ classic:

“Mr. Kane, how did you find business conditions in Europe?” asks a reporter.

“How did I find business conditions in Europe? With great difficulty,” replies Charles.


He might have said the same thing about Kingston these days. Given the pressure many businesspeople feel, both from the enduring recession and high tax burden, is a business improvement district, which would add even more to the tax burden, the right idea?

Maybe — there are some benefits to pooling some resources for the promotion of the Broadway corridor and surrounding areas. Beefing up security in an area which carries a rep (deserved or un-) as being hostile territory to most people might make shoppers feel better about going there, as would tidying up what honestly is a pretty dingy streetscape. Promotion you would need to get the word out that you’re making Broadway safer and cleaner so the money you spend on safety and cleanliness is not wasted.

Another thing I can’t help but think of is a printout of an e-mail that was posted in the window of our next-door neighbors for a while. It was written by a prospective building-buyer to a local realtor and expressed shock and disbelief that similar commercial buildings in Rhinebeck and Kingston had such disparate tax bills — the one in Rhinebeck was on the hook for $3,000 a year while the one here carried (not very comfortably, I imagine) a $13,000 annual levy, if I recall correctly. The point being that Kingston’s businesspeople are already taxed pretty damned thoroughly. Anything that would add to that would have to clear a pretty high bar of awesomeness to be justified.

There are 2 comments

  1. gberke

    Ah, a wanted and needed comment. And it is incredible that Rhinebeck taxes are dirt cheap next to Kingston. (what’s with this “if I recall correctly”?? please check your numbers before you publish them…)

  2. gberke

    I went to the presentation, and I saw the problem, at least one of them: the BID was very very poorly done. But it only took 3 years.
    The presentation of BIDS by experienced BID managers was perfect… but that was NOT the “BID” BAK had done…
    Business in general and BAK in particular just does NOT want to involve the community… a BID would be a great selling point to all the neighbors… I mean would not be thrilled to have your neighbor come by and tell you how he was making his place look nicer, with you in mind, and he hoped you’d like it?
    You need the keen eye and professional assessment of people like Haye Clement, Andi Levin… and I don’t know who else I’d add. A professional and social and business view

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