Ulster Chamber Hosts Kingston Mayor Noble at Breakfast Meeting

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April 21, 2016
KINGSTON—Mayor Steve Noble likely anticipated the No. 1 question on business owners’ minds at a breakfast meeting of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce, so he raised it himself. Details about the sales tax revenue-sharing agreement between the city of Kingston and county are not yet going to be released, he said, because New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli still is reviewing the document.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein announced about a month ago that an agreement in principle had been reached. Under the previous five-year contract that expired at the end of February, the county pocketed 85.5 percent of sales tax revenue and shared 11.5 percent with the city and 3 percent with the county’s 20 towns.
Mayor Noble said he had no update to offer at the Chamber breakfast. “I wish I could stand up here today and tell you exactly the details about what’s in the sales tax agreement…but we’re not quite there yet,” he said. “The county executive and I talked about it over the weekend, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if I could announce it at the Chamber breakfast?’ but it just isn’t there yet.”
During the Wednesday morning event, Noble told the more than 200 business leaders gathered at the Best Western Plus that his administration is intent on helping them “reconnect” with their government. “One of the things we have found is that people often felt disconnected with government. They knew that government taxed them and made business harder.
“They felt government made decisions that didn’t represent their values, so for me, opening up government isn’t just about making agendas available or even about publicizing our meetings better. We want to lay out what government is supposed to be doing. If we put a greater emphasis on nurturing that connection, in the end, we’re all going to benefit,” he said.
Noble also recapped the last three months of his new administration, noting that the city is in the process of upgrading infrastructure and addressing parking issues throughout the three business districts.
The mayor said he expects to roll out a pilot program later in the year that will include installing metered kiosks, so people can pay with credit cards and use their smart phones from any location to replenish them.
Noble said one of the city’s early victories was the salvation of the historic Nathaniel Booth house on Wilbur Avenue. The dilapidated 18th-century bluestone home that once belonged to diarist Nathaniel Booth, was spared demolition in recent weeks. The closing on the property from the current owners to Kingston Preservation, Inc. will take place next week, Noble said. Stabilization and preservation efforts can then proceed.
“People come to Kingston because we have beautiful architecture and because we have history here. Tearing down these types of buildings isn’t what I want. I want to be able to find the right community partners to be able to protect and restore these types of community treasures,” Noble said.
The Mayor told the audience that he recently completed a survey of city workers, asking each to offer suggestions and comment. Using a similar method at the Chamber breakfast, he asked attendees to offer their suggestions on index cards about how the city can improve the business climate. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to compile all of that and really use it to guide us in the coming days,” he said after his Chamber address.
The Ulster Regional Chamber hosts monthly breakfast meetings that are both informative and educational. The next meeting, scheduled for May 24th at the Best Western Plus will feature a program on the topic of ‘How to Build an International Brand’ with Woodstock Chimes CEO Garry Kvistad and Tonner Dolls Founder and President Robert Tonner. Registration information is available at www.UlsterChamber.org.

Ward Todd, President/CEO
(845) 338-5100