Welcoming Inclusive Community
In 2017, after a request from the Kingston Interfaith Council, Steve proposed a resolution declaring the City of Kingston a welcoming and inclusive community. This was an important moment in our city’s history- an opportunity to say to our neighbors that they are welcome here and that they are valued. The evening in which the resolution was adopted was historic, with hundreds of community members coming together to ensure that their voices were heard.
In May 2017, the City of Kingston hosted a two-day workshop, supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to evaluate the City’s priorities to work toward equitable development and support community goals for housing, local businesses, jobs, transportation, and preserving opportunities for residents. The goals identified by the workshop participants included:
- Strengthen existing neighborhoods and provide access to economic opportunity
- Maintain neighborhood culture through economic change
- Complete sidewalk network and make streets safe for all users
- Sustain and create affordable housing
- Communicate effectively among community
In 2018, Steve launched the City’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting pilot project. Participatory Budgeting is a process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. For this year’s pilot project, $15,000 was set aside for improvements or projects in each business district (Uptown, Midtown and Downtown), for a total investment of $45,000 to be decided by the public. These funds were allocated based on revenue received from off-street parking fees. After hosting a series of community meetings, developing a slate of projects proposed by the public, and launching a project selection survey, the community selected three projects to be completed in 2019.
Also in 2018, Steve worked with local community advocates, including the leadership of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, to craft legislation establishing a Municipal ID in the City of Kingston. Steve saw this proposal as one that would enhance public safety, with more individuals being willing to come forward to speak to police officers now that they would have identification to show. The local law was unanimously approved by the Common Council and the ID program is expected to launch within the next 6 months.