At the Legal Committee meeting this past Wednesday, Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) once again brought up the issue of a vacancy registry, complaining that it has been before the committee for months (actually, it's been years), and there has been no progress. She urged the committee to look at similar legislation in Albany and Watervliet and use it to draft legislation for Hudson. Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), who chairs the committee, suggested that the committee should wait until the mayor's Housing Task Force completes its work.
|Members of the Housing Task Force (left to right): Rebecca Wolff; Mark Morgan-Perez; Dan Kent, Galvan Foundation; Joe Czajka, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress|
The subject of vacancy came up at Friday's meeting of the Housing Task Force. It seems the issue of vacant buildings will be addressed in the Strategic Housing Action Plan being drafted by the group. The subject was broached when Joe Czajka, senior vice president of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, who is chairing the task force, commented that there are buildings in Newburgh that sit vacant for decades. Mark Morgan-Perez expressed the opinion, "If a person's strategy is to buy a property and sit on it, they should pay." Morgan-Perez's statement brought to mind something said by Tom Swope back in March 2012 when he was the executive director of Galvan Initiatives Foundation. Speaking on the WGXC radio show @Issue, Swope explained that previously it had been "hard to justify economically" developing all the properties Eric Galloway had acquired, but "under the guise of the foundation," which at that point had only just been created, "we can make it make sense." On Friday, Dan Kent, the current vice president for initiatives for the Galvan Foundation, responded to Morgan-Perez's statement by saying, "That's going to add to the cost of the rent, because it will cost more to develop a property." Kent went on to say, "Is [a vacancy tax] an effective incentive? From our perspective it is not."
Although the Strategic Housing Action Plan does not yet seem to be in its final form, it is anticipated that it will be adopted by the Common Council by the end of June. It is expected that the document in its current form will be presented to the Common Council Housing and Transportation Committee at its next meeting, which takes place on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:45 p.m., in City Hall.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CAROLE OSTERINK