Thursday, April 7, 2016

How Much Is Enough?

Almost every day, Amanda Henry reports on her City of Hudson Commissioner for the Aging Facebook page about a new donation made to the Senior Center by a business or an individual--a computer from Jonathan's, shelves from Mario's in Valatie, storage items from Lowe's, cards and board games from one donor, a toaster from another, and a host of other items.

But the generosity of many and the tireless (often thankless) effort of one are coming up short when it comes to getting the Senior Center open and ready for business. 

In her report to the Common Council Youth & Aging Committee on Wednesday night, Henry asserted: "Unless the City is willing to support the opening of the Center, other funders will not--it’s that simple. Outside funding opportunities exist for programs that will help keep seniors safely in their homes and community for longer--out of assisted living facilities. Programs that address healthy lifestyle choices, exercise, nutrition, and maintaining cognitive ability are far more attractive to foundations. Funding requests for social and recreational programs are unlikely to be granted."

Henry explained that her goal was to make the senior center self-funding within two years. The means to accomplish this goal recommended by Henry is to form a not-for-profit "Friends of the Senior Center," with a board of directors, which would function under the umbrella of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce until it was awarded its own 5o1(c)3 status.

Henry also informed the committee that, after more than three months of working full time and gratis to develop a senior program for the City of Hudson, she would being leaving her position as Commissioner for the Aging effective April 11. She characterized the work she has been doing as that of an executive director not a commissioner and offered to continue the work of executive director, on a consultancy basis, full time until the middle of May and two days a week from mid-May to mid-June, to see the project through to its next phase. She recommended hiring someone part time--20 hours a week--with "direct experience in running a senior center and the necessary computer skills to provide the metrics we will need in order to apply for outside funding." She indicated that George Bednar, who retired a year or so ago as recreation supervisor at the Youth Center and is currently employed as the bingo caller for seniors at the Youth Center, would continue working 10 hours a week "in a support and custodial role."

All of what Henry proposed would cost $11,657.75 more than the $90,012 budgeted for the senior center and senior programming in 2016--$50,012 of which goes to the Galvan Foundation to make good the commitment Galvan maintains HCDPA made to the Senior Center back in 2012. The committee agreed to forward a resolution to the full Council to appropriate the requested $11,657.75.

Also seeking more money was Youth Commissioner Ken Hollenbeck. In the 2016 city budget, a total of $247,079 was appropriated for the Youth Department. Hollenbeck wants another $54,800 to hire a part-time youth director and nine more (than were budgeted for) part-time employees for the summer and to purchase a new pool table ($2,100), bumper pool table ($1,100), air hockey table ($1,600), and the accessories for the above ($500), as well as three new computers ($2,400). The committee agreed to forward a resolution to the full Council to appropriate these funds as well.

Interestingly, what Hollenbeck requested for the Youth Department--$54,669.75 over and above the quarter of a million dollars budgeted for 2016--is more than the total of what was budgeted for the Senior Center ($40,000) and what Henry requested ($11,657.75): $54,669.75 more for the Youth Department, $51,669.75 in total for the Senior Center.


  1. the City of Hudson is not a huge urban center that has tons of money from all sorts of tax revenue.

    Hudson is a city with a tiny tax base where 40% of the property is off the tax rolls.

    Hudson doesnt have any money, and cannot afford all these complex structures to provide its citizens with services. it cant even have garbage pick up.

    amanda henry is right. Hudson needs a charitable foundation that is charitable, meaning it gives with both hands and doesnt take anything back.

  2. Can this be the same city that deployed a Jack Booted Centurion Guard, to remove a member funded not for profit from shore and wants to replace it with NFPs whose paid staffs, require grant dollars and the DPW to do what fishermen have done historically, as a labor of love?