Have you ever been really sure of something and then learned more facts that resulted in your changing your mind? That happened to me. I’m one of the first signers on the petition for the city of Kingston to dissolve. When I signed the petition, then-mayor John Smith had announced firmly that he would not run for mayor for another term. I believe John was the best mayor Kingston has had in the 20-plus years my husband and I have lived in Kingston. Along with John’s announcement was the fact that it has been difficult in recent years to get people to run for city council. So, I sadly felt it may be time to dissolve the city.
Since then, a couple of things have happened. First, Jim Herda ran for mayor and we had no trouble getting council members. The current council not only ran for office and was elected, but they are excited to take on the challenges and opportunities of governing our small community. I have known Mayor Jim Herda for several years now and, if I had known that he was running for mayor, I would NOT have signed the petition.
The other thing that happened is I called the County Auditor’s office to see if they could help with what our taxes might do if we were governed by Kingston Township. I was given the two rates, our current rate, and what our rate would be if in the township. The township rate was lower, not by much, but lower, but there was a caveat. That township rate does not include the budget that the city of Kingston has that would have to be merged with the Kingston Township budget. In essence, that small difference in taxes may be even less small when factoring that financial information into the equation.
I know that if we have a city government, the main concerns of the mayor and the council will be the 160 or so residents of the city. If the current city residents are merged into the township, that governing body has to take into consideration all the residents of the territory they govern. They simply cannot put the wishes of the city residents above those of other township residents and be doing their job properly.
One of the most significant things that John Smith as mayor and the council did, was for the city to install a fire hydrant. That fire hydrant reduced our home-owner insurance premium by about $300 a year. Our new Veterans’ Memorial is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The Kingston Mini Mart is opening again in the spring. Properties in town are selling. Things are looking really good for Kingston now and I encourage everyone to get out to vote “Against Dissolution” of the city of Kingston.
Deborah Harms, Kingston