Tuesday, March 17, 2020

News from Tonight's Common Council Meeting

Gossips did not attend tonight's Common Council meeting, nor did five of the aldermen. I listened to the live stream on WGXC. Aldermen John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), Rebecca Wolff (First Ward), Jane Trombley (First Ward), and Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) were present by phone; Shershah Mizan, it was explained, "had an emergency" and wasn't there in the flesh or on the phone.

At the outset, Council president Tom DePietro told the Council that they would "stick to essential business." Among that essential business was extending the agreement for the Shared Services Response Team (passed unanimously) and appointing a new dog control officer (passed unanimously). The fate of the resolution to take $3,200 from the fund balance to reupholster the benches in the Council Chamber didn't fare as well. It was defeated, with several aldermen making statements that now was not the best time to pursue the project because, in the words of Rosenthal, "No one's going to be sitting on them."

The bond resolution for improvements to the waste water treatment system passed unanimously, as did the resolution to accept the gift of the Purple Heart Community sign from Alderman Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward). 

The vote to enact Local Law Introductory No. B of 2020, the law that would channel all revenue from the City's lodging tax into the general fund and eliminate the percentage originally allocated for the use of the Tourism Board, was unanimous in support of the action, but the resolution to implement the law as quickly as possible met with opposition. Halloran asked, "Why wouldn't we have a public hearing?" Rosenthal suggested a public hearing might be difficult in the current circumstance. Trombley expressed "extreme concern about Hudson businesses" and urged her colleagues to "take a breath." DePietro noted that, if the Council defeated the resolution, the mayor could still sign the legislation without holding a public hearing. Merante insisted that the public needed a say in the matter. In the end, the resolution passed with opposition only from Merante and Trombley.

The Council did not succeed in overriding the mayor's veto of the resolution do to an RFP for a vacancy study. There were six votes in favor of overriding the veto--Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), Calvin Lewis (Third Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward), Wolff, and DePietro--and four votes against it--Halloran, Merante, Rosenthal, and Trombley. Eight votes are required to override a mayoral veto, so the effort fell short. Before the vote, DePietro said, "We will pursue this whether or not we override the mayor's veto." Garriga noted that the number of units that would be subject rent stabilization--154--was more than the number of units in Bliss Towers and asserted, "That proves we should do the study."


  1. SHAME ON THE COUNCIL!!! They spent an evening when the world is in the midst of of pandemic - with their primary focus being disbanding the local tourist board and discussing upholstery!?!???? ABSURD!! Seems it might have crossed someone's mind to use the meeting to work on an action plan for the city and each committee to address a local health and economic crisis that could very well destroy Hudson as we know it. WTF!!

    1. In advance of the coming storm, what is an "action plan" supposed to look like at the local level when devised by the legislature rather than an executive?

      Moreover, government at large can only address the crisis in our own nation following a well-established path from POTUS to state governors (i.e., state-level departments and services) to local executives (county- and municipal-level departments).

      Without offering a single suggestion for the Common Council, you might as well have shamed them for not coming up with a magic forumla.

      Whaddya say we all pitch in instead.

      I'm so appreciative that the Council found a way to meet, and that tomorrow my recycling will still be collected by our intrepid city workers.

  2. A few suggestions that immediately come to mind:
    1) They could consider suspending or delaying the lodging taxes due at the end of March. This would allow lodging businesses to keep paying their employees for a few more weeks.
    2) Consider using the lodging tax $ in reserve to pay for food delivery to the elderly who won't be able to leave their homes.
    3) Consider using the lodging tax $ in reserve as a fund to give short term loans to a) local businesses to keep their employees paid or b) to residents to help them pay their rents or utility bills
    4) Begin exploring what they might need to do to make civic buildings available for make shift hospitals should CMH be overrun.
    5) Start a conversation about what they plan to do should tax revenue drop by 50%.
    I don't expect the council to solve all the problems this crisis will bring to Hudson but all their energy should be directed to making the impact less.
    Last night seemed like a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic as it was sinking.

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