Hugh Reynolds: On Broadway

The columnist Reynolds.

The columnist Reynolds.

They say the traffic moves real slow on Kingston’s Broadway. But big things, under and at grade, are coming to Kingston’s potholed main thoroughfare, and soon.

Central Hudson will be digging up the stretch from Albany Avenue to Henry Street later this spring, and Verizon plans to update its services. After that, city contractors will come in with blacktop and heavy equipment to give Broadway its first repaving in 20 years.

Ah, 1994, a great year for paving and planters around Kingston. There was a new administration in town after then-alderman T.R. Gallo won an easy victory over incumbent Republican John Amarello the year before.

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“We couldn’t believe it,” alderman-at-large and future mayor Jim Sottile told me at the time. “Amarello left us over $800,000 in the road account. We spent it on Broadway and a lot of other places.”

One egregious and infuriating bumfuddle the city plans to avoid in this year’s Broadway repaving is setting manholes at least two inches below grade. Even with fresh paving 20 years ago, Broadway drove like an obstacle course and has gotten steadily worse.

The city government is also in the process of implementing a near $390,000 federally funded traffic study on Broadway and the Washington Avenue corridor. Owing to a series of timing tweaks over the years — instituted by parochial aldermen — the city’s main thoroughfare is little more than a series of stops and starts between red lights while the occasional vehicle enters or crosses over from lightly traveled side streets.

Meanwhile, a city planning group announces that the master plan called Kingston 2025 could go before the public this summer. I’m hoping they can make it through 2014. The last city master plan, which among other things accompanied urban-renewal demolition to the city, dates to 1961.

A leapfrog strategy

Recent revelations that some members of the county legislature are pushing state takeover of local elections costs represent little more than a continuation of the so-called “Cahill sales-tax crisis.” Though the much-publicized “crisis” cost Ulster County government coffers between $4 million and $5.4 million, depending on who announced the figures, it saved taxpayers an equal amount when 1 percent of the tax was suspended in December and January.

Kevin Cahill. (Photo: Phyllis McCabe)

Kevin Cahill. (Photo: Phyllis McCabe)

The county also traded its sales tax receipts for about $9 million (at full implementation next year) in Safety Net welfare expenses.

Kevin Cahill, in demanding Safety Net relief for Kingston and the towns, also sought to have the county pick up an estimated $600,000 local share of what he termed “rapidly expanding” election expenses. Indeed. The memorializing resolution, which was summarily referred to committee at Tuesday’s regular legislature meeting, speaks to its $720,424 “financial impact,” about 20 percent higher than last year’s estimate. In the spirit of negotiation, Cahill dropped that demand last June, but only for a time. Observers speculate that the assemblyman will include election costs in any extension of the sales tax, which comes up for negotiations in October.

In the spirit of negotiation, he dropped that demand last June, but only for a time. Observers speculate that Cahill will include election costs in the next 1 percent extension of the sales tax, which comes up for negotiations in October.

Petitioning “the state” via Cahill to pick up the county share, which the county would probably have to absorb in any case as a function of extending its sales tax, represents a kind of leapfrog strategy. It is aimed at placing Cahill on the defensive as he fights for his political future in a Democratic primary for Assembly against Susan Zimet of New Paltz.

For now, the bullfrog ain’t jumping. Neatly sidestepping, Cahill wonders why this particular subject is coming up now (just prior to nominating conventions). There is plenty of time to discuss such matters down the road, he suggests.

Up the GOP

Former Republican assemblyman George Amedore is serious about running for a second time against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk. While a single press release does not a campaign make, Amedore’s charge that the reconfiguration of utility capacity zones which went into effect May 1 could cost mid-Hudson customers $300 million over the next three years got my attention.

I asked him through a spokesperson where the candidate got those numbers. Central Hudson, which opposes the new zone designations, and other official sources, the flak said.

I like the strategy. George Amedore as populist candidate as opposed to George Amedore the right-wing echo of 2012? Hey, it might work. He lost by only 18 votes, remember?

Local officials are now conducting a rearguard action, and we know how those things usually turn out.

In Dutchess, Rob Rolison, frontrunner in the Republican primary for state Senate, all of a sudden folded his tent over the weekend. Apparently it got a little too hot in the kitchen for the unofficial party nominee and son of former senator Jay P. Rolison Jr. Deploring “personal attacks and character assassination” by opponents he did not name, Rolison, who took almost 60 percent of delegate votes at a nominating convention in February, said in published reports that he could better serve the county in his position as legislature chairman.

Robison’s departure leaves a crowded field of Dutchess comptroller and notorious Tweeter Jim Coughlin, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik and Legislator Sue Serino of Hyde Park in the race to challenge Democrat incumbent Terry Gipson in November.

There is one comment

  1. citizen K

    What does this mean? Traded with whom? Who got what?
    “The county also traded its sales tax receipts for about $9 million (at full implementation next year) in Safety Net welfare expenses.”

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