The Hudson Common Council supports all residents, workers, and visitors regardless of immigration status. The Council has passed resolutions supporting immigrants and encouraging state and federal action. We will continue to embrace initiatives that support diversity.
The Hudson Police Department provides an essential service, ensuring our safety. The HPD should prioritize tasks to create a safe environment for all of our residents, while building trust with the community.
Immigration enforcement does not improve our city or make the city more safe and would likely distract from other priorities. Immigration enforcement can be costly--there are costs of officers, detention, and transportation as well as the loss of contributions from people detained and deported. The threat of deportation or prosecution for no reason other than immigration status may discourage residents without legal immigration status or who have family members or friends without legal immigration status from reporting crimes or injuries, cooperating in investigations, seeking opportunities for the children living in this community, or summoning help when needed.
The Council will be discussing recommendations to optimize law enforcement policy to focus on safety concerns. At the next Legal Committee meeting we will discuss the recommendations in more detail. We encourage all Council members and members of the public to attend.Several members of the audience, including Michael Chameides, chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee, expressed support for such an action. The Legal Committee meeting at which the resolution will be discussed will take place on Wednesday, January 25, at 6:15 p.m.
Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) asked about the status of the lodging tax and was told by Heather Campbell, the city treasurer, that there was no system in place to track and collect the tax and that the system required would have to be far more sophisticated than anything that the City has in place now for collecting taxes. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) expressed his opinion that the implementation of the tax was the responsibility of the executive branch to figure out. He suggested that, even though Governor Andrew Cuomo had not signed the enabling legislation until the end of November, the State Senate and Assembly had approved it at the end of June, and the executive branch should have started at that time creating the infrastructure necessary to collect the tax.
Rector also expressed his frustration with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. After recounting the history, as he understood it, of the LWRP over the past ten years, he asked, rhetorically, "Where do we stand as a community?" He went on to say, "A revision could take years, because the original one took years." (The City recently received a $45,000 grant from the Department of State to update the 2011 LWRP "to address climate change and sea level rise, as well as current planning and potential new projects.")
Audience member Linda Mussmann, who chaired the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee when the 2011 LWRP was drafted, suggested that the City impose a one-year moratorium on waterfront development and set a one-year deadline for revising the LWRP. (A one-year moratorium on all development within the Waterfront Revitalization Area was enacted in 2006, when work on the 2011 LWRP began.) She expressed the opinion that "it would be very fair to Colarusso to stop [work on the haul road] for one year."
Don Moore, who was the president of the Common Council when the LWRP was adopted in 2011, said, "The causeway was a central issue when the LWRP went to Albany." He then asked his own rhetoric question: "How does the haul road get integrated into the overall plan?" He went on to say that the land transfer needed to be in place before the Department of State would review the LWRP, and the transfer never happened. The land transfer Moore cited is explained on page 132 of the LWRP: "Holcim has indicated it has no plans to use the 7 acres of land south of the port and may be amenable to entering into an agreement with the City whereby the company would grant to the City title or some form of title to the approximately 7 acres south of the port and transfer its holdings in the South Bay, subject to a right-of-way over the causeway, to a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) or the City. At this time, the company has indicated it has no plans to sell or provide an option on the approximately 7 acres adjacent to the port."
The City's negotiations with Holcim in 2013 for those seven acres, which ended up being close to ten acres, were protracted by a controversy over whether or not Standard Oil had ever owned part of that stretch of waterfront and complicated by the Valley Alliance discovering and producing evidence that the City of Hudson already owned most of what it was trying to get back from Holcim because the waterfront land had been illegally transferred to Holcim's predecessor, St. Lawrence Cement, back in 1981. It has since been revealed that negotiations with Holcim for the transfer of that land broke down in April 2013 because Holcim was getting ready to sell its holdings in Hudson and Greenport to A. Colarusso & Sons, which bought the property at the beginning of 2015, and Colarusso did not want to give up that waterfront land. It also came to light last spring that, according to the Department of State, the LWRP had never been officially submitted for review in 2011, and they were unwilling to review it now because it was a five-year-old document.
In the meantime, the 2011 LWRP, which was adopted by the Common Council, thus enacting its zoning provisions, could have brought a number of alterations that have already been made to the haul road and the dock before to Planning Board for review if the right people had been paying attention.
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