Kingston mayor: Stop sticking us with the county's welfare bill

The Daily Freeman reports that Kingston mayor James Sottile and legislator David Donaldson are pushing for Ulster County to take over all Safety Net payments. (Ulster County is the only county in New York State that bills individual municipalities for the program.)

Getting the county to take over payments will be a tough sell to towns that aren't currently on the hook for Safety Net. But recent revelations that Kingston has been signing some of its neighbors' welfare checks could help the effort to pass the buck to the county:

The county says those Safety Net clients in the Zip code who live outside the city will no longer be the responsibility of the city but the actual towns where they live. Some officials, including Ulster town Supervisor James Quigley, a Republican, say the change could cost their municipalities thousands of dollars.

The issue has Ulster County legislator Mike Madsen steamed up:

Alderwoman MaryAnn Parker has been saying it for years! Take the County to task for laying the brunt of the SafetyNet costs on the City of Kingston. She has been right all along.

...I have been discussing this with other members of the Legislature to the point that sometimes the banter gets a bit heated, but I feel I am chipping away at this issue. There have been years of prior attempts made by my colleagues that have fallen short during the budget hearings late in each fall, but the sudden interest by many influential parties this early in the year could make the issue a rallying call to make Ulster follow the procedures enacted in ALL the other 61 Counties in New York State.