Are We Our Brothers’ Keeper? Legislation for the Coming Month

Every month at Common Council, the Aldermen vote to accept the communications for the upcoming month. These communications are requests from Aldermen, the Mayor, or Department heads to have a particular issue or piece of legislation forwarded to the appropriate committee for discussion and vote. The communications packet is not a complete picture of what will be discussed at the upcoming committee meetings because late communications are accepted and are not at all uncommon (which is why the agenda for the meetings is always posted a day or two before the meeting), but most of what will be discussed is in there.

In the month of September, to be voted on at October’s common council meeting if they pass committee; all of the communications submitted can be found here. There are a few noteworthy items that will be discussed and voted on in the various committees this month:

A Local Law to Establish a Municipal ID Program for Kingston-

This draft local law was submitted to the council by Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a local grassroots organization. More info about NLMH can be found here. The Municipal ID law aims to provide a means of access to photo ID for those unable to obtain government-issued identification, including immigrants, homeless people, transgender people, senior citizens, young people, and those who have been formerly incarcerated.

There are many reasons to establish a municipal ID program; to improve public safety, to enable all residents to participate fully in the community, to alleviate discrimination in seeking employment or housing experienced by trans individuals in obtaining identification cards that reflect their gender identity..these are a few of them. A municipal identification card would encourage crime reporting and witness cooperation, enable more City residents to open bank accounts, access parks or other public facilities, and receive resident discounts at local businesses, events, and arts institutions. The card could function as a public transportation pass, library card, resident golf card, and parking meter card all in one. The cards would also benefit children and youth who become lost and normally possess no identification or emergency contact information and elderly citizens who no longer drive and therefore no longer possess a valid driver's license.

This item will be discussed at the Laws and Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 19 @ 6:30 pm, Kingston City Hall Conference Room 1.

Police Department Budgetary Transfer for the launch of the Peaceful Guardians Project-

Mayor Steve Noble submitted a communication requesting a budgetary line transfer for the police department for $20,000 to be shifted from “regular pay” to “contracted services” to cover the cost of launching the Peaceful Guardians Project, a joint program to be conducted by the Kingston Police Department and the Center for Creative Education.

The Peaceful Guardians project is a mentorship program that pairs officers from KPD with eligible youth in Kingston City School District with the aim of developing positive relationships between both the individual participants and both groups of people; officers and youth. For the police, the program focuses on stress management and wellness, and education about managing fear and anger and promoting communication skills. For the youth, the focus will be on academics, school attendance and career planning. The results will be monitored by an “independent third party”.

This item will be discussed at the Finance and Audit committee meeting on Tuesday, September 18 @ 6:30 pm, Kingston City Hall Conference Room 1.

Kingston City Land Bank-

The Mayor submitted a communication asking to have the Kingston City Land Bank placed on the agenda for Finance Committee. He plans to make a presentation about the progress of accessing grant funds to support the Land Bank and ask the Aldermen to consider resolutions authorizing him to execute agreements relating to accessing grant funds. Because most grants are reimbursements, this most likely means the Mayor will ask the Finance committee to vote to bond for money to spend on the Land Bank that will be reimbursed by a grant after it is spent.

The Kingston City Land Bank was formed to acquire city-owned and distressed or vacant properties, redevelop them and return them to the tax rolls through homeownership. The goals of the Land Bank are to redevelop struggling neighborhoods, increase the available housing stock and the affordability of it, and to provide the opportunity for homeownership to residents that might not otherwise have it.

This item will be discussed at the Finance and Audit committee meeting on Tuesday, September 18 @ 6:30 pm, Kingston City Hall Conference Room 1.

Hope to see you all there!

-Cassandra Burke

Cassandra BurkeComment