The seniors who have been fighting for the continuation of two valued programs--yoga and aerobics--got the commitment from the City of Hudson they were looking for today at a lunchtime meeting at the Youth Center. At the end of the hour-long meeting, which repeated much of a discussion that took place at Monday night's Youth & Aging Committee meeting, Mayor Richard Scalera announced his intention to commit $8,000 from his discretionary fund* to pay for the two programs in 2011. Before Scalera made this announcement, a compromise had been reached with the participants in the program: the City would cover 50 percent of the costs; the participants would come up with the other 50 percent. The $8,000 figure represents half of the total cost of the programs ($16,000) as estimated by Youth Director Trudy Beicht at Monday night's meeting.
* In the early 2000s, the mayor's salary was increased by the Common Council from $13,000 to $60,000. During the mayoral campaigns of 2005 and 2007, the mayor's salary--that is, how much each candidate expected to be paid--became a campaign issue. (Dick Tracy, who was the mayor in 2006-2007, received an annual salary of $45,000 during his term.) To eliminate this, the mayor's salary was frozen at $45,000 in 2008. At this point Scalera, who had just returned to office for his sixth nonconsecutive term, had retired from his job at the Hudson Correctional Facility, and the terms of his pension prohibited him from earning more than $30,000 a year. At Scalera's suggestion, the Common Council approved using the excess $15,000 to establish a fund that the mayor could use at his discretion for municipal purposes, with approval from the Common Council.