Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To the Finnish

At last night's Common Council meeting, the aldermen unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor William Hallenbeck to enter into a purchase agreement for 701 Union Street. John Mason has the story in today's Register-Star: "Council OKs first step to buy Finnish Line for police, court."

For more than a decade, the need to provide a better facility for the police department and the city court has been a problem city government has struggled to solve, and there had been a series of solutions proposed--some involved entirely new construction, some involved repurposing existing structures, all seemed out of reach or unacceptable for one reason or another. During all but two of those years of unsuccessful proposals, Rick Scalera was the mayor of Hudson, so now that it looks like the problem may be reaching a resolution, he felt compelled last night to point out that the space requirements he had been working with were far greater than the space that the police department and the Unified Court System now seem willing to accept. The building at 701 Union Street is 12,000 square feet--6,000 for the court; 6,000 for the police. "Good to hear now that the court and police are willing to compromise," said Scalera. He then commented that he didn't think that the police, who now have 4,500 square feet in their building on Warren Street, were going to be satisfied with 6,000 square feet.

On a related topic, the Council also approved reimbursing Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency the $71,158.61 HCDPA has paid to Spacesmith for developing the design for the now abandoned senior center project. That amount represents 85 percent of the outstanding invoices from Spacesmith. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) objected to paying 85 percent of what was billed when only 50 percent of the work had been done. He protested, "We asked for a design at a certain level, and we got a design at a different level"--one the City couldn't afford. Alderman Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward)--in what seemed like an example of a kind of municipal financing shell game--pointed out that if the City didn't reimburse HCDPA the $71,158.61, HCDPA wouldn't be able to contribute $100,000 to the current plan to repurpose part of the Armory, owned by the Galvan Foundation, as a senior center.

When the resolution to reimburse HCDPA came to a vote, only Friedman and Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) voted nay.

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