Friday, September 16, 2011

Does Everyone Know What Chutzpah Is?

Gossips has learned, from a number of sources, that on Thursday, September 15, Theresa Parsons, president of the Hudson Area Library Board of Trustees, accompanied by HAL trustees Mark Young and Dan Jablanski, who had attended his very first library board meeting the night before, appeared at the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) meeting to request that the library be allowed to keep some or all of the $300,000 owed to HCDPA after the sale of 400 State Street to Galvan Partners.  

When the library purchased 400 State Street from the Hudson City School District in 2005, it did so using $300,000 in returned HUD grant monies from projects that had been awarded HUD grants but decided, after the fact, that they did not want to comply with HUD requirements. In exchange for the $300,000, the library entered into a mortgage agreement with HCDPA. So long as the library occupied the building and used 51 percent of the space, no mortgage payments would be required, but if the library were to sell the building or to cease using it as a library, they would owe HCDPA $300,000. The library board recently sold 400 State Street to Eric Galloway for $470,000, which means that, after paying off their mortgage, giving HCDPA $300,000 to invest in other worthy causes, the library still has a profit of $170,000. But the library board wants more.

The City of Hudson contributes $120,000 a year to the Hudson Area Library--60 percent of the library's annual operating budget. The library is chartered to serve Hudson and Greenport, but Greenport contributes only $5,500 to the library's annual budget.

Those present at the meeting whom Gossips interviewed used the words brazen, outrageous, audacious, astounding, greedy, and incomparable nerve to describe Parsons'  request. The HCDPA board--which is made up of Mayor Richard Scalera, Common Council Majority Leader Ellen Thurston and Minority Leader Richard Goetz, Hudson Housing Authority Board Chair George DeJesus, and Hudson Planning Commission Chair Donald Tillson--has yet to make a decision about whether or not to comply with Parsons' request.   


  1. Sounds like the got their "chutzpah" from HSD , DSS, HPD ... biz as usual around here.

  2. Carole –

    I attended the HCDPA Meeting on Thursday to follow up on and to ask for a response to a letter I wrote to that Agency’s Board in early June. As long as I remain a trustee of the Hudson Area Library, I will continue to advocate for the library and its patrons. You can categorize it as chutzpah; I call it being committed to the library and its mission, a cause I am passionate about, much as you are committed to historic preservation.

    For you to speak of “profit” and “the library” in the same breath is disingenuous at best. Since day one following the purchase of the building six years ago by the then library board on which you served as vice president, the library has struggled to survive financially. Emergency funds and endowment funds were depleted to pay for high overhead costs formerly covered by the School District and to make necessary and emergency repairs to the building. Still the library managed to accomplish a great deal with one fulltime employee and a slim part-time staff bolstered by a cadre of loyal volunteers. The current board was also faced with a $110,000 debt to the Columbia County Economic development Corp., a liability incurred because of a cost overrun on restoring the roof (a roof which if it had been completely repaired and restored as planned, would have cost upwards of $600,000).

    A library is a valuable and valued asset of any community. It is no less worthy of consideration for HCDPA funding than any other community organization. I make no apologies for my efforts to have some of the funding from HUD that passed directly to the School District returned to the library for its mission.

    I invite any of your readers to contact me by email via the library’s website and I would welcome meeting any of them in person to talk about the library’s plans.

    Theresa Parsons