Last Monday, at the informal Common Council meeting, a resolution authorizing "the Mayor or other city officials" to apply for a NYSERDA ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) Clean Vehicle Infrastructure grant was presented. The purpose of the grant was to establish electric vehicle charging stations in the city.
The resolution raised several questions, the first being where it had come from, since it had not passed through any committee. It turns out that the resolution had originated with Alderman Michael O'Hara (First Ward), who was not present at the meeting to answer questions about it. O'Hara had given it to Council president Claudia DeStefano, who gave it to Council counsel Andy Howard for vetting prior to presenting it to the full body.
Several aldermen recalled proposal a few years ago to create two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the municipal parking lot at the train station. The proposal originated with National Grid and was first discussed at a Public Works Committee meeting in March 2013. In May 2013, there was a resolution before the Common Council. When it was discussed at the Common Council meeting on May 13, 2013, several objections were raised: it would cost the City money; only those people who could afford electric or hybrid cars would benefit; it would eliminate two parking spaces for the general public. The fate of that resolution is not clear, but there are no EV charging stations in the parking lot at the train station--or, if there are, they are so well-hidden that they cannot be found in a simple drive through the parking lot looking for them.
O'Hara was at the Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday to provide more information about the current plan to create EV charging stations. He explained that it is part of a larger plan for Hudson to become a Clean Energy Community, which is a program of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority). Being a Clean Energy Community would qualify Hudson for up to $100,000 in grants, but to become a Clean Energy Community, Hudson must complete four of ten "High Impact Actions." One of those actions would be to install EV charging stations. O'Hara is proposing that the City seek a grant from NYSERDA to install the charging stations. The grant requires a 20 percent match from the City, which he anticipates would be covered by an in-kind contribution: DPW's work on preparing the site. O'Hara told the committee that the site chosen for a charging station was the municipal parking lot behind City Hall.
At the Economic Development Committee meeting, Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) said he would like the Council to look at all ten High Impact Actions and decide which ones to pursue, suggesting that everyone had not been "brought into the overall strategy." The resolution, which was introduced at the informal meeting, will very likely be discussed further at the regular Common Council meeting on Tuesday, June 20.
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