Letters: Basic fairness; the value of history

ktx hudsonfultonstampBasic fairness

Ulster County is renegotiating its contract with the City of Kingston for the distribution of sales tax revenue. For more than a decade the county has given the city 11.5 percent of the 4 percent county sales tax collected each year, which amounts to roughly $12 million annually.

The new formula would cut Kingston from 11.5 percent to 10 percent (or $1.6 million), and the towns from 3 percent to 2 percent (or $400,000). That 2.5 percent reduction would be added to the county’s 85.5 percent, making the county’s take 88 percent of its 4 percent sales tax. The county address claimed “all we are looking for is basic fairness.”

A little research reveals that Ulster County has 34 buildings and parcels off the tax rolls in the City of Kingston totaling $53,087,300 of assessed market value. All these properties are serviced by the KPD, KFD DPW and the KRD at no cost to the county. The city would be well within its rights to impose a payment in lieu of taxes agreement (Pilot) for compensation of these services rendered.  So the new tax formula could look like this: $53,087,300 divided by $1,000 equals $53,087.30. Multiply that by  $10 per $1,000 of assessed value for the four departments above, and the annual payment retroactively owed to the city for services rendered is $2,112,492 annually or over 10 years $21,124,920. Or the city could impose its own sales tax, which would have an even more detrimental impact on the county.


The county executive’s address claimed, “All we are looking for is basic fairness.” The county needs to remember that “basic fairness” is a two-way street, and that city and town taxpayers are also county taxpayers and voters, something we seem to be forgetting here.

Charles Landi, Kingston

The value of history

What a great contribution the Buried Treasures lecture series was to the history of Ulster County and in particular our historic City of Kingston. This enlightening and educational program provided the community with the insight and understanding of the individuals and events that formed our community over the years.

Paul O’Neill took the helm of this undertaking and with all the other members who helped they should get a heartfelt thank you from our citizenry.
The excellent reporting and coverage provided by Kingston Times showed the interest of history that should be reinforced in the educational systems in our area. The value of this history for the promotion of tourism is a gift that should not be ignored.
To all those that brought these wonderful events to us, thank you.

Marc C. Phelan, Port Ewen

Roundabout runaround

There is a proven less costly alternative to a roundabout in Kingston. Let me ask you, would you rather spend $430,000 to fix a perceived problem or $4.5 million?

I’m referring to the actual cost to install the demand-sequenced traffic lights at the Washington Avenue with North Front Street and the Washington Avenue with Schwenk Drive intersections versus  the estimate to construct a roundabout at the Albany Avenue with Broadway and Route 587 intersections.

I recently met with mayor [Steve] Noble and the roundabout came up in the discussion. I shared my thoughts on what I believed was a viable alternate. I respectfully suggested that advocates of a roundabout take a field trip to the Washington Avenue intersections and observe firsthand how intelligent software can correct a problem. I also respectfully suggested as mayor of Kingston he has the authority to declare a roundabout is not the correct solution to a twice-a-day two-traffic-light-sequence [which] changes a “problem” worthy of a $4.5-milliom solution.

Lately our politicians have put on the mantle of “we have to protect the taxpayer from paying more for essential services than is necessary.” Ending any further consideration of a roundabout is a good first step.

Ronald E. Dietl, Kingston