It wasn't until midday yesterday that Gossips was able to confirm that there would in fact be an informal Common Council meeting last night, and it wasn't until 4:00 in the afternoon that the documents on the agenda for that meeting appeared on the City of Hudson website. One of those documents was a stunner, although it probably shouldn't have been given that Mayor Kamal Johnson cited the project first among his achievements during his first hundred days in office: a resolution to execute a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for the apartment building proposed by the Galvan Foundation for the "Depot District."
The PILOT, which will be in effect for forty years, sets the amount to be paid in lieu of property taxes at $77,000 a year, to increase by 2 percent a year over a period of four decades. (The original PILOT on Hudson Terrace, established in the days of urban renewal, was for thirty years.) Among the justifications for this PILOT given in the resolution is that $77,000 is a "$58,000 increase in revenue compared to the current assessment." The current assessment is on this building.
There wasn't much discussion during the meeting about the resolution establishing the PILOT. Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) wanted to know the difference between a PILOT that goes through the IDA and this one, which is being offered by the City under Article 11 of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law. Halloran was told by attorney Christine Chale that "this is a better fit for this project."
When Council president Tom DePietro called for an introduction and a second, Calvin Lewis (Third Ward) moved to introduce, and Rebecca Wolff (First Ward) seconded. Later in the meeting, DePietro said someone had texted him to point out that Lewis works for Galvan and therefore should not have been the one to introduce the resolution because there was the appearance of a conflict of interest. DePietro called for someone else to introduce the resolution. Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward) obliged. DePietro then suggested that Lewis talk with Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council, about whether or not he should vote on the resolution next Tuesday.
Gossips has on a few occasions bemoaned Galvan's efforts to reimagine Hudson according to its own whims. This project is yet another example. The area has been dubbed by Galvan the "Depot District," and this project has been assigned the address "75 North 7th Street." The proposed project is on the east side of the street, the even side. Besides, the address is already taken, by this house on the west side of the street.
Of course, the house is owned by Galvan, as is every other building on that side of the street, from State Street to the Central Fire Station, so they probably think they can co-opt its address.
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