Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another Change

TGW Consultants, first known as The Grant Writers, have been working with the City of Hudson and Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) for at least a dozen years. Bill Roehr and John "Duke" Duchessi are familiar faces to City Hall habitu├ęs, reporting to the Common Council about grant opportunities and conducting the requisite public hearings during the annual CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) ritual.

Duchessi's most recent appearance before the Common Council was on July 10, when he was dispatched to stand in for Sheena Salvino, executive director of HDC, and tell the aldermen about the City of Hudson's entries in the CFA (Consolidated Funding Application) process. The two CFA projects had been drawn from the City's Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) application, and Duchessi was ill-equipped to answer the aldermen's questions about the two projects or explain why they had been chosen. When pressed for information, Duchessi told the aldermen he had not been involved in preparing the DRI application and had only been asked at the last minute to appear at the meeting. It seems that was Duchessi's final appearance before the Council.

TGW's contract with the City and HDC expired at the end of July, and it was not renewed. (I'm not suggesting that the awkwardness of the July informal meeting had anything to do with that decision. My point is simply that after a dozen or more years of service to the City and a string of successful grant applications, including in 2007, the first $1 million grant for the Hudson Opera House, it was an unfortunate swan song for Duchessi.) At last night's informal Common Council meeting, a resolution was introduced authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Laberge Group for grant writing. 

Laberge Group, headquartered in Albany, does many things besides preparing grant applications, among them engineering, planning, and surveying. The following is quoted from a proposal submitted by Laberge Group which accompanied the resolution:
Laberge Group employs a team of professional planners, community and economic development specialists, and experienced grant writers to assist communities in identifying funding needs and securing resources to implement important municipal projects. Each member is empowered by their expansive breadth of knowledge, diversified experience, and pride of excellence. . . .
Ms. Nicole T. Allen, AICP, Planning Services Manager, in response to the City of Hudson's award of contract, will provide on site consultation with the Mayor and assigned City Staff to identify program/project needs and assess projects for grant applications. A Laberge Group team of experienced planning and grants development professionals will work closely with Ms. Allen in the coordination of each funding task.
It seems that Hudson may be about to become more proactive in its planning and its pursuit of funding.

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