Kingston mayor announces sales tax deal with Ulster County

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Noble, right, mingles at an Ulster County  Chamber of Commerce
breakfast on Wednesday

KINGSTON – The formula for sharing sales tax revenue between Ulster County, with its individual city and towns, has finally been hammered out, after months of wrangling between Kingston Mayor Steven Noble and County Executive Michael Hein.
Matters came to a head last February, when the county legislature’s
Ways and Means Committee began mulling changes to the traditional revenue
Legislators were keen on shaving off some of the money they share with other municipalities.
Noble, initially, took a hardline stance, refusing to budge on the city’s longstanding cut of 11.5 percent from every sales tax dollar collected within Ulster County.
Based on language revealed at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Wednesday, and a monthly news conference held the day before, Noble appears to have compromised and taken a slight budget hit.
However, the exact details cannot be revealed until the state comptroller’s office signs off on the agreement. Until then, the deal remains confidential and cannot be officially disclosed to the public.
“I think that when you have a compromise, nobody is really happy,” Noble explained. “You are in a place where you agree what is in the best interests of everyone. It’s a way to be able to recognize there are some real opportunities by working together instead of looking at these problems and not being able to come up with a solution.”
The mayor said the goal is to still gain public input, so the agreement will go before the Kingston Common Council and the Ulster County Legislature.
“There’s still that entire public process that still gets to occur, and that’s what I really wanted and pushed for in this, that public process will still be able to happen,” the mayor said.
Noble added that he hopes the deal, with a June 30 deadline, will be approved by local governing bodies soon.
“For us [the city], we will shoot for the Finance Committee in May, and then pass it the first week in June, if not earlier,” Noble said.
Other issues discussed before the business organization on Wednesday included enhanced business services, efforts for better cooperation between city and county bus lines, and the future of Kingston’s two hospital campuses. Noble also discussed a pilot program to install newfangled credit-card operated parking meters.