Thursday, November 15, 2018

Highlights of Tuesday's Council Meeting

Dan Udell's video of the informal Common Council meeting, which took place on Tuesday, November 13, can be viewed online here.

For Gossips' account of the highlights of the meeting, read on.
  • A resolution was introduced creating a Zoning and Planning Special Committee, "dedicated to reviewing the City's Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code, analyzing future development opportunities and obstacles, and recommending a course of action to be taken by the City of Hudson is [sic] an appropriate vehicle to address zoning and planning issues in the City of Hudson." As originally presented, the resolution indicated the special committee, "to be known as the Zoning and Planning Task Force," would be made up of seven members: the chair of the Planning Board or designee; the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals or designee; the chair of the Historic Preservation Commission or designee; the chair of the Conservation Advisory Council or designee; the mayor; the Common Council president; the code enforcement officer. 
At the meeting, Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) noted that two aldermen should be part of the task force. The resolution was so amended and then introduced. The resolution specifies "the Zoning and Planning Task Force shall operate and exist until December 31, 2019." It is to meet at regularly scheduled times, and its meetings are subject to Open Meetings Law.
  • A resolution was introduced to sell 427 Warren Street, the old police station. The resolution specifies that the building will be sold "to the highest bidder by sealed bids in a Public Auction, with a minimum required bid of $300,000"--$300,000 being the building's most recent assessment.
At the end of the meeting, when public comment was permitted, Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann asked why the auction would be carried out by sealed bid instead of having a live auction, in the manner that foreclosed properties are sold. She argued that open bidding might be more competitive and could drive the price higher. City attorney Andy Howard told Mussmann auction by sealed bid and an open auction were essentially the same thing. Mayor Rick Rector commented that there was a lot of interest in the building, apparently implying that the interest in the building would ensure the City would get a good price.
Mussmann also asked if the money from the sale of the building would go into the general fund (to balance the 2019 budget) or if it would go toward paying down the debt on the new police and courts building. Council president Tom DePietro told her it was going into the general fund, but the general fund could be used to pay down the debt.
  • Resolutions were also introduced authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement about appropriate fees to be paid to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society for sheltering dogs found at large in Hudson and an agreement with Wes Powell for his services as dog control officer. DePietro explained that the first resolution was necessary because "Hudson was being stuck with some extra fees" by C-GHS. Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) said she wanted Wes Powell "to come in and speak with the Council," presumably before the Council voted to renew his contract with the City.
  • There is also a resolution authorizing the city treasurer to accept a check for $25,000 from the Galvan Foundation to buy a new vehicle for the fire chief. It seems money for a new vehicle was written into the proposed budget presented by the Hudson Fire Department, but in its efforts to rein in City spending, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment eliminated it. So the HFD turned to Galvan for the funds. According to the HFD website, the vehicle now used by the fire chief is a 2013 Chevy Tahoe.
  • A proposed local law was also introduced raising the penalty for confining "a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures." The maximum fine is currently $50; the local law would raise the fine to not less than $250 and not more than $500 for the first offense.
It should be noted that the law applies only in cases of extreme temperatures, "where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold." It should not prevent companion animals from going along on jaunts about town with their humans, in temperate weather, to do errands or take photographs. 


  1. What? Galvan buys "a new vehicle for the fire chief"? What? Is this public property or Galvan property? Have we lost all sense of the difference between public and private? Who owns this vehicle? Who does the fire chief answer to for his pretty red car?

    1. Galvan owns this town.

      I thought everyone knew that.

  2. I'd like to see another story (or two) added to the top of the old police building. It looks awful relative to the other structures on Warren St.

  3. Galvan, how about fixing up some of these properties instead? Too many to manage properly, right?

    Two houses and their yards near mine are ramshackle, and I've just been told that the decrepit fence separating our properties can't be replaced "for years." You're a lousy neighbor.

  4. Why are we complaining about someone donating a vehicle, would it be better for the city to buy it and add it to our tax bill? I see lots of money being spent year after year and taxes steadily increasing, donations to the city should be graciously accepted, seems to me.

  5. Galvan buys the city a vehicle but can't remove the graffiti on the side of their own building at 7th and State which they have known about for well over a year. Or fix one of the most dangerous portions of sidewalk in town, located next to their building at 5th and Columbia. Lousy neighbor, indeed.