At the Common Council Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, city treasurer Heather Campbell painted a rather gloomy picture of Hudson's finances. She reported that "spending continues while revenues decline" and predicted a $1.3 to $1.9 million revenue shortfall for 2020. "We haven't seen things bounce back as much in June and July as we had hoped," Campbell told the committee. She went on to say, "If we're at that high end [of projected revenue loss], we could wipe out the fund balance this year." Alderman Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward), who preceded Campbell as city treasurer, commented, "That will have a huge impact on the mill rate, because the fund balance is the go-to to keep down taxes." The mill rate, of course, is how much property owners pay in taxes for each $1,000 of assessed value.
In a virtual town hall meeting back in April, Mayor Kamal Johnson said he had asked all department heads to submit plans for reducing their budgets by 5 percent and 10 percent. Members of the committee wondered if those budget cuts had ever been submitted, because there seems to be no indication that any proposed cuts are being implemented. Alderman Rebecca Wolff (First Ward), who sits on the Finance Committee, said she wanted to see the budget cuts that had been received by the mayor. In June, Johnson issued an executive order on police reform, which declared that the budget for the Hudson Police Department would be reduced by 10 percent. An article that appeared in the Register-Star on August 11 reported that there were still no plans for how that would be accomplished: "No clarity on 10% police cuts."
Council president Tom DePietro, who chairs the Finance Committee, observed, "A couple of departments do last minute spending to use up what was budgeted," and maintained, "It's considerable in a few instances." When asked which departments he was talking about, DePietro answered, "The police and DPW." Campbell added the Youth Department.
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