Vince Rua is a Man of Action
CITY OF KINGSTON TAX SCAM
The Daily Freeman has reported and City Hall brags that Kingston’s property tax rates have been reduced.
However while property tax rates have declined slightly, assessments have increased significantly. In reality, your taxes have not declined.
In fact, every commercial property’s assessment was increased 10% during 2018. This imposes a great burden upon small business owners. And the Daily Freeman reported that for homeowners, assessments have increased on average 3.2%.
NO MORE PILOTS
Vince respects and adheres to due process when advocating for We the People. One element of the Vince Rua for Mayor platform is to create a new Senior Citizen Campus in Kingston. In December, 2017, Vince addressed the Common Council with a request to consider further investigating a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) request supported by the current mayor. The proposed request was for a 35-year PILOT tax break at the Clinton/Yosman Senior Housing facilities.
Vince raised concern for this PILOT request after learning that the new developers had lawsuits pending against them not disclosed in their application. He further discovered documented cases of neglectful property management at their senior centers in New York City.
Moreover, not once did this developer demonstrate the NEED for any tax breaks, yet the current mayor pleaded for huge tax breaks for this multi-million dollar real estate developer.
NEW PILOT GUIDELINES
As a result of advocates like Vince Rua, the Ulster County Economic Development Agency rearranged its voting members with the hope that tax breaks will no longer be used as political favors…but be based on empirically quantifiable and justifiable reasoning including new job creation.
And now, the Mayor is trying to circumvent the new County IDA by establishing his own IDA…to ensure tax breaks go to his pet projects whether they create new, sustainable jobs for future generations…or not!
Vince is both a man of words and action. He led the charge to end the dirty deal involving a proposed PILOT for the glorious Alms House which is on the National Historic Register.
His hands-on research revealed that this sweetheart deal our current Mayor supported for his campaign contributors would enrich them to the tune of as much as $16 million for creating just 5-10 jobs over 32 years!
As Vince investigated this project, other troubling details came to the surface. Among them, the Alms House was being purchased far below current market value…with NO objections from Kingston’s Mayor! The City’s Planning Board, ultimately agreed with Vince’s advocacy and denied the developer’s plans for this property.
Vince questioned the Mayor’s 2017 proposed budget as taking Kingston dangerously close to the brink of bankruptcy. The Mayor responded that his fund balance was not as low as Vince had reported to the Daily Freeman, but rather a higher number due to “an accounting error in the City’s audited financials from 2016”.
Self-proclaiming City Hall’s incompetency by not being able to do simple math in 2016, now, this same mayor’s 2017 budget was revealed to be off by almost $2.75 million due to other inaccuracies! This resulted in the Mayor setting Kingston’s property tax levy $2.75 million higher than necessary.
The same thing was just revealed for 2018…although not quite as clearly as above. In 2018, the Mayor proposed a budget calling for a tax levy of another $17 million to cover a proposed deficit of $1.28 million…but…we now know the actual results for 2018 were a surplus of $1.1 million…or another correction of budgeting errors of almost $2.4 million. This resulted in Kingston’s property taxes being set $2.4 million higher than needed.
The current mayor has charged Kingston taxpayers over $5 million more than necessary in the last two years! Then, outside of the budget process he asks for and gets approved the acquisition of Planet Wings for $200,000 MORE than its assessed value…to use as a park and take OFF the tax rolls! (Explaining to his Common Council that this will “not cost the City a penny…because it is coming out of Fund Balance”.) Well…it is our tax dollars and I will reverse this deceptive trend.
Our current mayor’s policy of decreasing public parking rather than increasing parking continues to negatively impact retailers, restaurants and other commercial business interests throughout the city. His newest plan to charge for weekend parking has made a bad situation worse. I will eliminate parking fees from Friday to Sunday in Kingston…period…and study our parking needs further from there!