Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Deconstruction" Abandoned

This afternoon, I went to check on the deconstruction of the old Hudson Orphan Asylum and discovered this.




Whether intentionally or because of an unanticipated collapse, the meticulous deconstruction and salvage of materials seems to have been abandoned in favor of a more brutal knock down. 
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An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Columbia-Greene Community College has been working on developing a certificate-granting program in the skills needed for restoring and preserving buildings. Now it's ready to begin. C-GCC will be enrolling students in its new Construction Technology Preservation Certificate program beginning in the Fall 2019 semester.

On Friday, March 29, C-GCC will be hosting a Construction Technology Workshop to introduce potential students, building and construction business owners, and interested community members to the new program. The event takes place from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Room 612 of the C-GCC Professional Academic Center on the Columbia-Greene campus, located at 4400 Route 23. For more information about the workshop, click here.   
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Ear to the Ground

Last week, Gossips reported that there was only one candidate running for alderman in the Fifth Ward and one in the First Ward. Then, Eileen Halloran, who had previously declared her intention not to run, changed her mind. So once again, there are two incumbents running in the Fifth Ward: Halloran and Dominic Merante. Today there's word that two more candidates have joined the race for First Ward alderman where previously there was only one: Rebecca Wolff. According to Gossips sources, the new declared alderman candidates in the First Ward are Jane Trombley and Ginna Moore.
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Everybody's Doing It

The Albany Business Review reported this morning that Troy is undertaking a project to update its zoning: "Troy is overhauling its zoning code to make (denser) development easier."  

Photo: Donna Abbott-Vlahos|Albany Business Review
The article states: "The last zoning code Troy wrote, in the 1980s, was suburban and automobile-centric--hardly suited to a city known for its urban downtown." Sound familiar?
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The Longest Planning Board Meeting: Part 2

After more than an hour and a half spent discussing the Stewart's expansion, the Planning Board turned its attention on Thursday to Colarusso and the already completed but never properly permitted repairs to the dock and the proposed haul road through South Bay.

In January, the retaliatory lawsuit brought by A. Colarusso & Sons against the City of Hudson and the Hudson Planning Board, challenging the determination "requiring them to obtain a conditional use permit for their commercial dock operations" and seeking "declaratory relief regarding a laundry list of complaints," was dismissed. Now that "laundry list of complaints" has become the eleven things the Planning Board is empowered to examine in its review of the operation.

City attorney Andy Howard advised the board to keep the dock and the haul road separate and to make findings on each. Still the presentation by Colarusso engineer Pat Prendergast and the discussion it provoked moved between the two issues. 

On the subject of the haul road, Prendergast noted that the part of the haul road in Greenport had already been approved by the Greenport Planning Board. He claimed the road between Route 9 and Colarusso's headquarters on Newman Road would would remove 12,000 asphalt trucks from the streets of Hudson every year. When asked by board members--first by Clark Wieman and later by Betsy Gramkow--by they haven't started using that portion of the road already, Prendergast responded that they were ready to do all of the haul road but insisted that it was more efficient to do the construction of the entire road--from the quarry to the dock--at one time. What he didn't mention was they would lose some of their leverage for getting Hudson to approve the portion of the haul road that passes through South Bay if they removed 12,000 asphalt trucks from city streets before approval was granted.

Railroad tracks and "road" c.1968 
Photo courtesy Hudson Area Library History Room
The plan for South Bay involves moving the roadway from its current location to the center of the berm where the railroad tracks once were. Prendergast told the Planning Board that Norbert Quenzer would be consulting on the revegetation along the route. He explained that the existing path would be "top-soiled and seeded." Six feet on either side of the proposed two-way paved road would be mowed; the rest would be allowed to grow back naturally. 

Planning Board chair Walter Chatham spoke at some length about the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) and the FGEIS (Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement). He told that board that the LWRP recommended a two-way haul road "to alleviate truck traffic in the city." He went on to say, "My sense is that the purpose was to mitigate not eliminate the business," and he counseled the board, "There is a lot of noise around us now, but we need to look at what the actual benefit to the community would be." He also confessed, "I didn't understand that the haul road idea originated from the LWRP and didn't originate with Colarusso." (In the interest of historic accuracy, it should be pointed out that in 2011, when the LWRP and the FGEIS were adopted, Colarusso did not own the property. It was owned by Holcim, and company called O&G was hauling gravel to the dock.)

When the discussion returned to the topic of the dock, Chatham said that the "salt shed" was "not an attractive enhancement to the waterfront as it is." He pointed out that the cladding is rotting off and asked, "Can we dress up things?" He also spoke of screening and suggested that gravel might be stockpiled in six small piles instead of one big one.

Returning to the haul road, Chatham said he sought an agreement that there would be no trucks associated with Colarusso--hauling gravel to the dock or coming for asphalt or other material--on Hudson streets except in an emergency. The representatives from Colarusso said such such a guarantee was not possible because the haul road between Route 9 and Newman Road could not be used when blasting was occurring the the quarry.

The Colarusso discussion ended with the Planning Board deciding to make a site visit to the dock and haul road to "form some opinions" and "come up with conditions" for granting a conditional use permit.
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Monday, March 18, 2019

A Little Known Bit of Information

A movie called Captive State was released on Friday and is now playing at the Octoplex on Fairview Avenue, also known as Spotlight Cinemas. The movie, which stars John Goodman, imagines life nearly a decade after an occupation by an extraterrestrial force.


Captive State is set in a Chicago neighborhood. It's not known how much of the film was actually shot in Chicago, but post-production was done right here in Hudson, in a house on Allen Street. Knowing that makes this comment by Andrew Todd, in a review of the film on Birth.Movies.Death, especially interesting: "Captive State feels like nothing quite so much as an entire television series edited down to feature length."
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Rethink Your Plans for Wednesday Evening

Gossips has just learned that the Common Council Public Works and Parks Committee meeting, which was to take place on Wednesday, March 20, at 5:15 p.m., has been canceled.

A Meeting to Discuss Policy

On Tuesday, March 5, ICE agents attempted to detain two people at the corner of Warren and Fifth streets in Hudson. Bryan MacCormack, executive director of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, who was driving the car transporting the two, alleged that the Hudson police officers who were at the scene violated the executive order that made Hudson a "welcoming and inclusive" city.

A meeting was called soon after the incident by Mayor Rick Rector with MacCormack, HPD Chief Ed Moore, and others, to explore the allegations and determine if amendment or clarification of the policy was needed. A second meeting was planned, which MacCormack insisted be a public meeting. That meeting took place on Friday, March 15, and Dan Udell was there to document it. His video can be viewed here.
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

In the middle of this week, winter officially ends and spring begins, but the lineup of meetings this week may distract you from fully appreciating that longed for event.
  • On Monday, March 18, GAR Associates and city assessor Justin Maxwell will hold an informational meeting to answer questions and provide assistance to property owners who wish to challenge their assessments. The meeting is intended for property owners who don't use computers and cannot access the instructional information available online and for those who are not fluent in English. Bengali and Spanish interpreters will be present. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • On Tuesday, March 19, the Common Council Finance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, followed by the regular monthly meeting of the Common Council at 7:00 p.m. On the agenda for the Council meeting is a resolution "supporting universal rent stabilization and control" and advocating for the passage of the following bills now before the state legislature, all having to do with tenants' rights: S2845/A4349, S185/A2351, S2591/A1198, and S2892/A5030.
  • On Wednesday, March 20, the vernal equinox occurs at 5:58 p.m. Meanwhile, the Common Council Public Works and Parks Committee meets at 5:15 p.m. at City Hall, followed by the monthly meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals at 6:00 p.m. No agenda is available for either meeting.
Update: The Public Works and Parks Committee meeting was been canceled. Anyone planning to attend can instead celebrate the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring.
  • Wednesday, March 20, is also the last day to request an appointment to challenge your assessment. To do so, call 1-866-910-1776. 
  • On Thursday, March 21, the Common Council Economic Development Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall. No agenda is as yet available for this meeting.
  • On Friday, March 22, the Historic Preservation Commission holds its second meeting of the month at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall.
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The "Deconstruction" Continues

This was the sad state of the original Hudson Orphan Asylum yesterday, on Saturday, March 16.



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A Woman's Prerogative

After last Monday's rancorous informal Common Council meeting, Alderman Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) declared she would not seek reelection. Since then she has reconsidered. Yesterday, Halloran informed Gossips that she would run after all. 

That leaves only the First Ward, which after the wards were redrawn in 2017 is the largest ward geographically, with only one candidate seeking to represent the ward on the Common Council: Rebecca Wolff.


There are two weeks left to gather signatures on designating petitions. Only thirty-two signatures are needed to get on the ballot to run for First Ward alderman. 
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Friday, March 15, 2019

The Longest Planning Board Meeting: Part 1

At three hours, last night's Planning Board meeting was perhaps not the longest in history, but it was certainly the longest in recent memory, and the Council chamber at City Hall was packed with members of the public. The agenda included two controversial projects: the Stewart's expansion at Green Street and Fairview Avenue, and Colarusso's unauthorized repairs to the dock and the proposed haul through South Bay. Gossips will report on the meeting in two parts, the first dealing with the Stewart's proposal.

Chuck Marshall returned with new elevation drawings, this time showing a 3,700 square-foot building similar to the one in Troy.



He talked about the eight-foot retaining wall built of Versa-Lok blocks along the south side of the site, to be surmounted by a four-foot high vinyl fence. He talked of landscaping and curb islands and hedge maples. (According to the Central Park Conservancy website, "the hedge maple is an ornamental tree that is no longer widely planted in North America due to its invasive tendencies.") He also informed the Planning Board that the Department of Transportation was now involved with the project, and everything in the intersection or the roadway would have to be reviewed by DOT.

A representative from Creighton Manning then walked the Planning Board through the traffic study done last November. The essential message from the traffic study was that volume of traffic at the intersection was not expected to increase significantly when Stewart's bigger and better gas station and store were in place. In questioning from the Planning Board, it was revealed that the traffic study had not included a safety analysis of the intersection.

When the public hearing finally began, there were comments about the safety of the corner and concerns about light escaping from the facility impacting the houses across the street. Matthew Frederick, who had proposed six ways to tweak the design to make it better on this blog Hudson Urbanism, suggested the plan could be significantly improved by turning the store into a street-facing building. When Marshall asserted that the building Frederick was proposing was "almost the same building" as the one he was presenting, Frederick rejoined, "If you see this as not much different for what you're proposing, then why not do it?" He suggested the axiom Planning Board chair Walter Chatham had cited back in December--"The perfect is the enemy of the good"--should be instead "The better is the enemy of the bad."

The impact the expanded Stewart's would have on the immediate neighborhood and the entire city was a recurring theme in the public comments. Cynthia Lambert, who lives on Green Street, introduced it when she declared that she didn't know what Hudson had to gain from having a bigger Stewart's. "We are losing what people love about Hudson," Lambert said. "Making a bigger and better Stewart's is not the way to go."

Kurt Wehmann, who owns a house on Fairview Avenue directly across from Stewart's, asked what impact the Stewart's expansion would have on property values. He said that when he bought the house just last year the realtor told him not to buy the house because of the proposed Stewart's expansion, but he did "because he thought Hudson would do the right thing." Lambert cited three foreclosures on houses in close proximity to Stewart's (two across Green Street, the other right next door), a house next to Stewart's that had been unsellable until Stewart's bought it recently, a house on Green Street that was on the market for two years before being sold for half the asking price, and a house on Fairview Avenue that has been on and off the market for several years with no buyers. Frederick noted that the two properties immediately adjacent to Stewart's--the two properties that Stewart's has purchased and plans to demolish--were not in good shape because they were adjacent to a gas station.

The subject of the host community benefit agreement was raised by Nick Zachos, who said that he thought it was meant to "create a fund for affordable housing . . . to create as much affordable housing as is being taken away." Marshall told him there had to be "some kind of nexus" to the project and said that the Common Council has to negotiate the host community benefit agreement.   

At one point, when Lambert repeated the questions "What exactly has Hudson to gain by this? Why are we doing this?" Chatham responded, glibly and one hopes facetiously, "We want people to come from all over the United States to see our Stewart's."

Dan Udell and his camera were present for the first 95 minutes of the three-hour meeting, and his video recording can be viewed here
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

The "Deconstruction" Begins

I haven't visited the old Hudson Orphan Asylum since the weekend, when the barriers and fences were in place but no demolition had begun, so I don't know exactly when the "deconstruction" commenced. The picture below shows the building as it appeared this morning, with its roof removed.

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Albany Business Review on Stewart's

In a bit of serendipity, the Albany Business Review has an article this morning about Stewart's and its plan to build twenty new stores this year and remodel or expand at least a dozen others: "Stewart's Shops getting 'more aggressive' with store renovations."

Since the pay wall is likely to prevent some readers from reading the entire article, I'll quote some of the more relevant parts:
The convenience store chain could spend $55 million or more replacing smaller, older stores with shops that include extra space for prepared foods such as soup, sandwiches, meatballs and coffee. . . .
One of the biggest obstacles over the past few years, [vice president of facilities Chad] Kiesow said, is the time it takes to get new stores approved by local planners. . . .
Social media has given residents and property owners a platform to share concerns about development. That means Stewart's spends more time working with planning boards and attending public hearings before projects are approved. . . . 
[T]wo of the stores Stewart's is building this year have been in the works for three years. Another project was planned five years ago. . . .
Although Gossips is not exactly "social media," I will take credit for sharing concerns about Stewart's expansion here in Hudson. It's not clear exactly when Stewart's started planning for the new store at the corner of Green Street and Fairview Avenue, but two years ago, in March 2017, when Chuck Marshall started petitioning the Council to change the city's zoning laws to accommodate the company's expansion aspirations, they were already in contract to buy the two houses that must be demolished to realize their plans.

Stewart's is back before the Planning Board tonight, and the Planning Board will begin hearing public comment on the proposed project. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.
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Of Zoning and Planning in Hudson

In November 2018, the Common Council passed a resolution establishing "a special committee to be known as the Zoning and Planning Task Force." Nothing has been heard of this special committee in the ensuing four months, but at the informal Common Council meeting on Monday, Council president Tom DePietro announced that the visit by Alexandra Church, the city planner from Newburgh, scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, is to be the "kickoff event" for the Zoning and Planning Task Force. As a reminder, that special committee, according to the resolution, is tasked with "reviewing the City's Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code, analyzing future development opportunities and obstacles, and recommending a course of action to be taken by the City of Hudson as an appropriate vehicle to address zoning and planning issues in the City of Hudson," and its work, also according to the resolution, is to be completed by December 31, 2019.  

The task force is made up of nine members: the chair of the Planning Board (Walter Chatham) or a designee; the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (Lisa Kenneally) or a designee; the chair of the Historic Preservation Commission (Phil Forman) or a designee; the chair of the Conservation Advisory Council (Jonathan Lerner) or a designee; the mayor (Rick Rector); the Common Council president (Tom DePietro); the code enforcement officer (Craig Haigh); and two members of the Common Council. Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) has been designated to chair the task force, but it has not been made public who the second Council member on the task force will be.
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Not to Be Missed

Tonight at 6 p.m., the Stewart's proposal is back before the Planning Board, and the public hearing on the proposal begins. Meanwhile, Matthew Frederick has been giving thought to the proposed Stewart's expansion and shared his ideas yesterday in a post on his blog, Hudson Urbanism: "One way to stop Stewart's expansion and six ways to make it better." Frederick's post is recommended reading before tonight's Planning Board meeting. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Help with Those Assessments

At Monday's informal Common Council meeting, Alderman Shershah Mizan (Third Ward) reported that many of his constituents had seen increases in their assessments, and he wanted the Council to pass a resolution to reassess those properties. During the subsequent discussion of the process by which assessments can be challenged, it was decided that a special meeting was in order to help people with language barriers and no access to computers understand how they could challenge their assessments.

Today, it was announced that Justin Maxwell, the assessor for the City of Hudson, has coordinated an informational meeting, with Bengali and Spanish translators present, to answer questions and provide assistance to property owners who wish to challenge their assessments. The meeting is for general information only and not for individual property review. Maxwell and a representative from GAR Associates, the group that is carrying out the revaluation project, will be present to address concerns and explain the informal challenge and formal grieving process.

The meeting will take place on Monday, March 18, at 6:00 p.m., at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street. 

Another outcome of Monday's meeting, the deadline to schedule an informal review of your assessment has been extended from Friday, March 15, to Wednesday, March 20. A review can be scheduled by calling 1-866-910-1776. The deadline for submitting documentation to challenge your assessment by mail or email remains the same: Friday, March 29.     
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Ear to the Ground

After Monday's rancorous Common Council meeting, Alderman Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) has declared that she will not be running for re-election. That leaves only incumbent Dominic Merante running for alderman in the Fifth Ward. With only seventeen days left to gather petition signatures to get on the ballot, no one has so far stepped up to run for the second seat to represent the Fifth Ward. 

Mayor Rick Rector has made known his intention to run for re-election and received the endorsement of the Hudson City Democratic Committee (HCDC), but there's a rumor making the rounds that Kamal Johnson, who is serving his first term as First Ward alderman, intends to run for mayor and is expected to announce his candidacy today. 

With the possibility of both First Ward aldermen vying for citywide office--Rob Bujan for Common Council president and Kamal Johnson for mayor--the First Ward is left with no incumbents and only one candidate. The HCDC has authorized Rebecca Wolff, who is not a Democrat but a member of the Working Families Party, to gather petition signatures to run for First Ward alderman on the Democratic line. So far, Wolff is the only potential candidate in the First Ward.

In the Second Ward, incumbent aldermen Tiffany Garriga and Dewan Sarowar are being challenged by Mohammed Rony. In the Third Ward, there are a number of challengers to incumbent aldermen Calvin Lewis and Shershah Mizan. The rumor is there are four, but Gossips has only been able to confirm two: Victor Mendolia and John Darby. In the Fourth Ward, both incumbents--Rich Volo and John Rosenthal--are expected to seek re-election.

At this point in time, it appears that the county supervisors from each ward--Sarah Sterling (First Ward), Abdus Miah (Second Ward), Michael Chameides (Third Ward), Linda Mussmann (Fourth Ward), and Rick Scalera (Fifth Ward)--will be running for re-election unopposed.

So here's the question: What happens if only one person runs for alderman in the First and Fifth wards? 
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Adaptive Reuse of JLE

Yesterday afternoon, the proposals submitted in response to the RFP for a feasibility study for the adaptive reuse of the former John L. Edwards School as city offices and a youth center were received and opened in City Hall by Council president Tom DePietro. Aside from Gossips, the only person present to witness the event was Fifth Ward alderman Eileen Halloran.

Photo: Jonathan Simons
Eight proposals were received from the following firms:
The eight proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee made up of DePietro, Mayor Rick Rector, DPW superintendent Rob Perry, Fifth Ward alderman Eileen Halloran, Third Ward alderman Calvin Lewis, Planning Board chair Walter Chatham, Fifth Ward alderman Dominic Merante, and commissioner of public works Peter Bujanow.  

The proposals will be on the City of Hudson website later today, on the Common Council page. Public comments on the proposals are welcome and can be submitted to councilpres@cityofhudson.org.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Interesting Info Learned Today

On my way to the IDA meeting this afternoon, someone asked why I was going to that meeting. My answer was simple: I might learn something interesting. And I did. 

Today was the IDA's annual meeting, and members of the IDA were reviewing the audit report with accountant Victor Churchill of Sickler, Torchia, Allen, and Churchill. One item in that report was the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on the IDA's only PILOT agreement: Hudson Terrace Apartments, a PILOT initiated in 2010.

The report indicated that the full tax on Hudson Terrace Apartments in 2018 would have been $228,248. The PILOT, what was actually paid in 2018, was $167,404--about 73 percent of the property tax.
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Activity at Stewart's

In February, Stewart's Shops began the site plan review process before the Planning Board. Day after tomorrow, Stewart's will be back before the Planning Board, and the board will begin hearing public comment. Meanwhile, there's been some activity at Stewart's.

Yesterday and today, trucks from R. M. Dalrymple, a company that specializes in the sale and service of petroleum equipment and seems to work almost exclusively for Stewart's, have been parked in the parking lot of Stewart's #209, and workers have been focused on a hole in the pavement. Today, it appears, they were pouring cement into the hole, probably filling an underground tank to take it out of service. It's hard not to speculate they are moving ahead with their plans for a new facility even before they have gotten site plan approval from the Planning Board.
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Watch for Yourself

Dan Udell's video of last night's Common Council meeting, shot from a different angle, is now available on YouTube. Click here to watch.

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Lapse of Civility

The current Common Council, under the leadership of Tom DePietro, takes pride in the civil manner in which it conducts its business. All of that seemed out the window last night, in a meeting that lasted for more than an hour and a half and included many a feisty moment.

The discord started with a resolution forwarded to the full Council by the Housing and Transportation Committee, chaired by Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward). The resolution calls for extending New York State's Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) of 1974, the law that created rent stabilization, to the entire state. The resolution also expresses support for the following bills now before the state legislature--S2845/A4349, S185/A2351, S2591/A1198, and S2892/A5030--all of which relate to tenants' rights.

Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) had concerns about the potential cost to the city of adopting rent stabilization, suggesting it might discourage investment, and protested, "This is an awful lot to ask us to understand and then vote on next week." When DePietro assured her, "This doesn't commit us to anything," Halloran opined, "I don't see Hudson as a place that needs rent stabilization." After several other aldermen reiterated that the resolution simply declared support for legislation, DePietro called for an introduction and a second to introduce the resolution.

That was the last of the resolutions to be introduced, and it was then that audience member Annette Perry rose to deliver an emotional indictment of the Common Council, the main themes of which seemed to be that she was born and raised in Hudson, and it was her town; the members of the Council (or some other undefined you) were taking over her town and wrecking it; and she was not going to let them ignore the kids and the elderly. She accused the Council of "taking from the kids" and "meeting in secret" and complained about the condition of the Youth Center. It is not clear if there was any particular incident that inspired her outrage.

DePietro tried to placate Perry by saying the Council was looking into moving the Youth Center to the former John L. Edwards school and announced that the proposals to do a feasibility study of the potential adaptive reuse of the building would be received and opened today, Tuesday, March 12, at 4:00 p.m., in City Hall.

Alderman Shershah Mizan (Third Ward) then brought up the issue of assessments, stating that some of his constituents saw the assessed value of their property double or triple, and wanted the Common Council to pass a resolution to have those properties reassessed. Mizan was told that's not how the process worked, and city assessor Justin Maxwell explained that the property owners needed to challenge their assessments. Advice was offered about the process by other aldermen, and Mizan was assured that all information needed was available online, but he protested that many homeowners don't have a good command of English, and Alderman Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward) noted that many did not know how to use a computer. Maxwell promised to work on getting interpreters and setting up a meeting with GAR on the weekend expressly for Bangladeshi homeowners. The possibility of extending the deadlines for challenging assessments was also raised, but no decision was made regarding an extension, and it may not be possible since the assessment rolls need to be finalized by July 1.

When DePietro asked if any other aldermen had issues to bring before the Council, Halloran stood, which is not typical for aldermen when they have the floor, and declared that the environment of the Council Chamber was getting "more confrontational" and called for a return of civility. DePietro said he was not allowing anyone to "go over the line," which he defined, in part, as questioning someone's motives. Garriga took Halloran's complaint to be specifically about Perry's tirade and accused Halloran of judging her (Garriga's) constituents who come to City Hall. The exchange devolved into intimations of racism and then segued into aldermen taking turns declaring what they have done, individually and collectively, to help the youth of the city. Audience member Claudia Bruce took the opportunity to bring up the revenue from the lodging tax controlled by the Tourism Board, which now amounts to about $140,000, and express the opinion that the money should not be used for branding and marketing the city but for other things--namely, the Youth Center and sidewalks. DePietro encouraged people concerned about how the funds were spent to attend the next Tourism Board meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. at 1 North Front Street.

When DePietro invited comments from the public, a woman who identified herself only as Gloria from CCSM (Columbia County Sanctuary Movement) wanted to know whom to hold accountable for the police "violating the executive order." When DePietro said the Common Council had no jurisdiction over the police and referred her complaint to the mayor, she said, "The mayor is not getting my anger and frustration." Bryan MacCormack, executive director of CCSM, then said, "If our only access is the mayor, it's a closed door meeting. The public has to be involved." Mayor Rick Rector, who was present at the Council meeting, responded, reiterating many of the points made in a statement released on Friday. He avowed that he had supported the "Welcoming and Inclusive City" resolution when he was on the Council and continued to support it and stressed that he just wanted to get to the facts. "If the police did something wrong, we will correct it. If I did something wrong, I want to know." The woman from CCSM told Rector that his statements "don't sound like they are coming from a sincere place."

After DePietro asked MacCormack to provide more evidence that the HPD is violating the the "Welcoming and Inclusive City" resolution, and MacCormack alleged the police were present at the incident last Tuesday "to protect the safety of ICE not anyone else," it was decided that the mayor's next meeting with CCSM would be a public meeting, to take place on Friday, March 15, at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall.
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