A Statement from Mayor Steve Noble
December 6, 2017
It is with great enthusiasm that I applaud the adoption of the City of Kingston’s 2018 budget. I want to thank the Common Council for reviewing my recommended budget in detail, meeting with the leadership of each department, and assessing the proposed expenses and revenues for appropriateness and practicality. The Council’s adoption of my 2018 Recommended Budget with few amendments reflects the work we have done together to build an efficient and proactive government that works for the public. I want to thank all of the staff who work tirelessly year-round to provide high quality services to the community and who collaborated with me to identify efficiencies and opportunities for expanded services during this budget season.
I also want to thank our residents, business owners and other stakeholders who participated in our community budgeting process. Through surveys, public budget forums and department meetings, I sought to build a 2018 budget that reflected the needs and interests of our community. I believe wholeheartedly that this adopted budget is consistent with those needs and advances our collective efforts to build a strong, resilient community. Our work together over the past two years has set the foundation for introducing the “participatory budgeting” initiative I included in the 2018 budget, the first of its kind in the City’s history. Community members will have a direct say in the allocation of a significant portion of revenue collected through off-street parking fees, so that we may make improvements in our business districts that are appropriate for the unique needs of each district.
In addition to maintaining and expanding our public services, I am pleased that for the third consecutive year, the tax levy will remain flat and the tax rates for both homestead and non-homestead will decrease. We have also placed over $1,000,000 in contingency in preparation for potential settlement contracts and non-recurring expenses. We will also be making investments in public safety, including new technology services for our Police Department and the addition of four full-time firefighters in our Fire Department. Our Building Safety Division will have more capacity to respond to property issues through the addition of a part-time code enforcement officer. The 2018 budget also includes a fully grant-funded part-time Director of Health and Wellness and partially grant-funded part-time Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs.
I commend the Common Council for sharing our vision for a community that does not fall stagnant to the status quo, but instead, one which continues to advance, to innovate, and to grow. That is the Kingston I know and love. With this adopted budget, we have the tools necessary to keep our City moving forward.