Kingston Common Council approves $43.1 million budget

The Kingston Common Council unanimously adopted a budget of $43.1 million for 2021 at its December 1 meeting. The budget keeps the tax levy of $17,650,940 unchanged and represents a 3 percent cut in spending over last year.

City tax rates are estimated at $8.98 per $1,000 of assessed value for residential properties and $14.25 for commercial “non-homestead” parcels. The council also approved the city’s sewer rate at an amount of $6.20 per unit, which is up $0.01 per unit.

“I’d like to recognize Mayor Steve Noble in terms of keeping our tax levy at the same rate every year he’s been in office,” said aldermen Rennie Scott-Childress at the Tuesday meeting. “I appreciate the work he’s done to keep the tax levy at the same rate so our taxpayers are finding relief over time.”

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One of the changes made by the aldermen during the council meeting include the removal of the funding for a vacant project manager position, which was originally proposed by Noble. The removal reduced the budget by $87,138.

Aldermen Douglas Koop and Don Tallerman were opposed to the removal of the position.

“We depend so much on grants and we have a spectacular record in getting grants and I think that will continue to accelerate,” said Koop. “I think over the long haul our grant writers are doing a superb job and we want to allow them to focus on getting more grants, therefore we need someone to manage the projects.”

The aldermen also voted to add a part-time pay budget line in the Building Safety department. This would allow the code enforcement officer to work additional hours if needed. Additionally, the council adopted a resolution to fund a vacant engineering technician position for the full year, rather than the half year proposed in the mayor’s budget.. This change comes at a cost of $35,004 for the general fund and $11,668 for the sewer fund, with a total cost of $46,672.

The council opposed (0-9) the move of the senior account clerk and reimbursement from the housing department to the economic development department, as they all favored keeping “the status quo,” as alderman Scott-Childress put it, which is also the advice that corporation counsel gave.

Other changes the aldermen made to the proposed 2021 budget include:

An increase to part time salaries and benefits in the zoning department by $12,284. Of this amount, $10,097 is salary and $2,287 is benefits. (9-0)

An increase of $10,000 to the city’s contingency fund in the case that the council needs to hire its own attorney, aside from relying on corporation counsel. (6-3)

There is one comment

  1. Vic Cangialosi

    Why print this and block everything else Geddy, you paper is going down hill, I wonder what your stance is on the Kingstonian, oh probably can’t read your opinion.

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