Wednesday, May 5, 2021
- Since the dock is an ongoing operation, the impact of which is known and fully mitigated by the Code requirements with which we comply, the scope of review of the Dock Application is limited to the impact of the Bulkhead Repair on the recreating public;
- the scope of the review of the Haul Road Application is limited to the impact of the proposed improvements;
- SEQRA review on the Dock Application should be limited to the impact of the Bulkhead Repair and the additional conditions imposed by the Planning Board pursuant to the City Code; and
- no further SEQRA review by the Planning Board on the Haul Road Application is required or permitted.
a) As of 2011, commercial dock operations could continue as a nonconforming use; b) the right to operate as a non-conforming use terminated when they did the "triggering" act of working on the bulkhead; c) now that the right to operate as a nonconforming use has been terminated by the triggering act, they need to get a special use permit for the entire operation in order to continue to operate; d) the Court said that "SEQRA review for continued commercial dock operations is necessary."
|Photo: Paul Abitabile|Hudson Area Library|
The Brennan Center for Justice reports that 361 bills and provisions to make it harder to vote, five of which have already become law, have been introduced in 47 states since the end of the 2020 election. . . . The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step in combating the sweeping voter suppression laws being proposed and passed across the country that disproportionally prevent minorities, the elderly and the youth from voting.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
As of midday Tuesday, the Columbia County Department of Health had recorded nine new positive cases of COVID-19. There were two new cases on Saturday, and 14 cases combined between Sunday and Monday. County DOH Director Jack Mabb said the infection rate in the county remains “very constant.”
One death attributed to COVID-19 on Monday brings to 94 the number of virus deaths in the county since the pandemic’s beginning. There are currently no county residents hospitalized as a result of the virus.
Moderate Income (20 percent of AMI)
- One bedroom $1,120
- Two bedroom $1,360
- Three bedroom $1,560
Middle Income (not more than 130 percent of AMI)
- One bedroom $1,350
- Two bedroom $1,525
- Three bedroom $1,725
Monday, May 3, 2021
- On Monday, May 3, the Tourism Board meets at 7:00 p.m. The link here to join the Zoom meeting.
- On Tuesday, May 4, the Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) meets at 1:00 p.m. On the agenda, along with other things, are the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) requests for 75 North Seventh and 708 State Street, the two apartment buildings being proposed by the Galvan Foundation for the area of the city they are calling the "Depot District." Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
- At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, the Planning Board holds a special meeting to continue its consideration of Colarusso's applications for special use permits. The board is expected to review its responses on Part 2 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and begin its consideration of Part 3: Evaluation of the Magnitude and Importance of Project Impacts and Determination of Significance. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
- On Wednesday, May 5, the subcommittee of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissions meets at 6:00 p.m. At the last meeting of the committee, which can be viewed here, Quintin Cross reported on a survey of HHA tenants being conducted by Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition. At this week's meeting, more information about the survey results may be presented, as well as a draft RFQ (request for qualifications) for new development of HHA property. To join the Zoom meeting, click here.
- Also at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, the Common Council ad hoc committee taking up the topic of inclusionary zoning holds its second public meeting.
- On Thursday, May 6, Mayor Kamal Johnson holds a public hearing at 4:00 p.m. on the proposed law creating the position of a Fair Housing Officer for Hudson. To review the law, which was passed by the Common Council on April 20, click here. To join the public hearing on Zoom, click here.
- Also on Thursday, May 6, the Conservation Advisory Council holds its monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
The Hudson City Treasurer’s Office deals with tens of millions of dollars in complex accounting and forecasting of revenues and expenses. Like municipalities and organizations across the country, that accounting was made more difficult by the many uncertainties surrounding COVID and my office felt it would be irresponsible to not plan for the most difficult fiscal outcome. As all finance professionals do, we also have a mechanism for checking, finding and quickly disclosing any errors in our estimates and reporting. I am very pleased that our worst fears did not materialize and that we are closer to reaching our minimum balance in unassigned funds, required by statute the last several years. I strongly encourage the Common Council to reinstate the fund balance policy to ensure we can weather any future emergency.
The fund balance policy, which the City imposed on itself several years ago, requires that the unassigned fund balance can never be less than 25 percent of the total city budget. The 2021 city budget is $11,854,839; 25 percent of that is almost $3 million--$2,963,709.
Sunday, May 2, 2021
Saturday, May 1, 2021
The new owners posted about their acquisition and their plans for it on Instagram and provoked a firestorm of criticism. Michael Hofmann, now a candidate for city treasurer, wrote a letter to the Common Council with the subject line: "This is gentrification. What are we doing about it?"
The HPC granted a certificate of appropriateness to everything in the proposal except for the storefront. It was the opinion of the HPC that the square windows proposed for that space were inappropriate. So far, Gossips has seen no evidence that work has begun on this building.
|Photo: Jonathan Simons|
Friday, April 30, 2021
The City of Hudson has a $2.5 million-dollar unassigned fund balance, according to April report from the City Treasurer. That's $1.6 million more than $900,000 estimate the Treasurer gave in the prior month.
SAVING THROUGH SPENDING DECREASE
Significant savings were realized through spending decreases. Actual expenses were $1.0 million lower than budget, and significantly below forecast. In August of 2020 the Mayor asked all departments to create a spending reduction plan and issued an executive order that all expenditures $1000 or over had to be approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA). This led to savings beyond what the Treasurer's office anticipated.
Furthermore, the City's sales tax revenue was greater than the April 12 report anticipated. By approximately $150 thousand. Studies have shown that cash assistance to people with low and moderate incomes stimulates the economy because people spend the money locally and immediately on essential services or use it to start small businesses. State and federal programs like increased unemployment assistance and stimulus checks added more money to the economy. Furthermore, the city started a universal basic income pilot program.
"Fourth quarter sales tax was the second highest on record, and is a good indicator of overall economic health," says City Treasurer Heather Campbell.
The city also participated and led several programs to support businesses. This included the Shared Streets program, The Berkshire Continuity Fund, the Galvan MWBE [Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises] Fund, and Tourism Board grants.
Prioritizing public health is also a key to a functioning economy. The city took consistent measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus and reduce its impacts on our community. This includes the Hudson Safe campaign and the distribution of essential supplies.
While the pandemic has reduced tourism and hospitality economy, Hudson received more funds in lodging tax than previously anticipated. Ending the year strong with over $220 thousand in lodging tax revenue. "It was extremely encouraging to see lodging tax rebound, since it also bodes well for local businesses," says Campbell.
In addition, the previous report had a miscalculation where some allocations were counted twice, so that it appeared that less money was available than there really was.
Throughout the pandemic, the city sought to reduce expenses but prioritized our employees.
"Our employees provide essential services that our residents, businesses, and visitors need," says Mayor Kamal Johnson. "Every department contributes to our city's safety and prosperity. During the pandemic, we needed our employees more than ever."
NO PROPERTY TAX INCREASE
Due to the financial burdens put on citizens in previous years the city did not raise property taxes.
"Given the fiscal difficulties residents struggled with this past year, we avoided adding to their financial burden," says Common Council President Tom DePietro.
FEDERAL AND STATE RELIEF
"The adjusted financials do not include any of our Federal or State Relief funds, the relief funds will make it possible to continue important projects and initiatives."
The city anticipates additional Federal relief from the American Rescue Act of $667 thousand, payable over the next two years.
Trees are amazing.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tells us that one hundred mature, healthy trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year, while creating oxygen! And that those same one hundred mature trees catch about 139,000 gallons of rainwater per year. Plus, strategically placed trees can save up to 56 percent on annual air conditioning costs.
You can add to the arboreal work-force by planting a tree. To plant a tree in your yard, talk with a local nursery regarding appropriate native NY trees to select from. We of the Hudson Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) recommend taking a photo of the area you want to plant, note any power lines, know the kind of sunlight and from what direction the area gets, and know your goals, such as reducing air conditioning costs in the summer, blocking wind in the winter, year-round privacy, winter view revealing, beauty, color, and/or size. For an extra charge, some nurseries will offer planting the tree and with that a one- or two-year guarantee of health and vigor. Now is a fine time to plant a tree if you will be able to water it regularly throughout the summer. Whether you or a nursery will be planting the tree, before digging always remember to call Dig Safely NY. They will check your digging location with Hudson Department of Public Works and all utilities. Once they are sure that it is safe, they will grant approval. Allow about four days to one week to get the go-ahead. This service is free. The phone number is 811; the website is digsafelyNY.com.
If you wish to plant a Street Tree, please go to the CAC webpage on the City of Hudson website and download the Street Tree Application form and the Street Tree Guide. The list of street trees for Hudson is on a grid, noting name, growth rate, salt tolerance, drought tolerance, and if mature height is good for growing under power lines. The Street Tree Application will be reviewed by the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the CAC. The DPW will know if there are power or gas lines in the sidewalk hear the hoped-for planting site and the CAC will know what size hole needs to be cut in the sidewalk for the selected species of tree to have the best chance of survival. In the Autumn, the DPW will cut the sidewalk for the planting of the tree. Autumn is the best time of year for planting street trees. It is the rainy season, the the trees get well settled in before winter, then flourish in the Spring.
If you can't plant a tree, befriend one. Select a favorite tree in a park or on a street and keep an eye on it through the seasons. Please remove weeds that may grow in the tree pit and tidy up litter that may accumulate around it. If you become aware that it needs pruning, or has suffered storm damage, that it might be stressed due to disease or mistreatment, please contact a member of the CAC. If you see a tree that you feel presents eminent harm to pedestrians or property, please call the DPW.
Our hard-working tree canopy, street trees and park trees, is about to get much deserved attention by professional foresters. The Hudson Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) is very pleased that the City of Hudson was awarded a NYS DEC Urban Forestry grant. This Summer, a team if ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified foresters will inventory all of the street trees and most of the park trees and write a five-year Community Forestry Management Plan. The city will receive all of the inventory data with GIS mapping location, species, size, and health evaluation electronically so that data on each tree can be kept up to date. This information will be very important for understanding our current urban forest, for planning maintenance, and for creating a planting plan for more trees.
A healthy tree canopy is good for the health and well-being of all. Trees help clean the air, keep buildings cool, keep tempers down, have traffic calming effects, drink up storm water, increase property values, create beauty and promote a connection to nature and to each other. All residents deserve to breathe clean air and live in a healthful environment. The environment and all residents can benefit by reduced energy for cooling.
A single tree belongs to our whole community and the whole community forest belongs to each individual. Trees take their civic duty seriously. Let's return the honor.
Happy Arbor Day 2021!
Thursday, April 29, 2021
A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 6 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 175, and the number of active cases was 87. There were 141 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 14 were hospitalized, and 4 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 13.
It is believed that Robert Jenkins, son of Seth Jenkins, one of the original Proprietors, designed the Hudson Almshouse. Robert Jenkins was born in Nantucket and came to Hudson with his family in 1783, at the age of 11. How much more likely is it that Jenkins would have been influenced in his design for the almshouse by buildings in Massachusetts than by buildings in England, Ireland, or West Virginia?
On Thursday, April 29, 2021, at 11:32 a.m. HPD received a called from a citizen reporting several gunshots in the 200 block area of State Street.
Responding patrols from HPD as well as the New York State Police and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office arrived quickly to the area. A 20 year old Hudson man was located, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Albany Medical Center, his condition is unknown.
HPD patrols stopped a suspect vehicle and several young men are detained and are presently being interviewed.
HPD is being assisted at the scene by the NY State Police Forensic Investigation Unit and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. Sheriff Bartlett has assigned some of his patrols to help with call coverage within the city.
“The situation is stabilized. At this time this event does not seem related to the 'shots fired' call from April 17.” Chief
Galvan Foundation announces the acquisition of 10-12 North Fourth Street and 402-406 Warren Street. Galvan plans to develop the corner site into The Hudson Public, a 30 room hotel with ground floor commercial space fronting North Fourth and Warren Streets.
Galvan is developing the hotel in response to the growing need for centrally-located hospitality options, resulting from the City of Hudson's Short Term Rental Law. The Hudson Public will also function as an "artist's residence" for artists performing in Hudson.
The Hudson Public will be among the first minority developed, owned, and operated hospitality venues in the city of Hudson. The Hudson Public will prioritize diverse and local hiring as well as commercial leasing.