Thursday, October 15, 2020

Council Takes Up "Breathe Act"

At its informal meeting on Tuesday, a resolution was introduced directing the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) to reduce the police budget for 2021 by an amount equal to 13 percent of the police budget for 2020. This is the statement made in the resolution:
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council urges the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to aim for a 13% reduction in the Hudson Police Department operating budget from the department's 2020 expenditure ($630,636) and direct approximately $300,000 of that savings into a budget line that can be spent on developing new initiatives and programs supporting public safety that are different from traditional policing strategies.
The resolution seems to have been inspired by the Hudson Breathe Act, which was introduced in the Legal Committee on September 23 by Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward). That proposed legislation, authored by "Citizens of Hudson," called for diverting 22 percent, or more than $1 million, of the 2020 police budget to various social service and preventative agencies, among them HCDPA (Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency) and the Youth Department. At the meeting on Tuesday, Council president Tom DePietro called the resolution "an iteration of the Breathe Act."

Alderman Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) expressed concern that the resolution allocated money for "new initiatives and programs" that were undefined. "We're cutting the money," she said, "but we are unclear how it will be spent." Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) responded, "The resolution sets the stage, and we can move forward from there." Nora Feldhusen, a supporter of the resolution and possibly one of the people involved in drafting the Hudson Breathe Act, pointed out that the 2021 budget will be passed before the recommendations from the Police Reconciliation and Advisory Commission (PRAC) will be ready, so it can be assumed that those recommendations will include the initiatives and programs to be funded by the $300,000.

The challenge will be to cut $630,636 from the 2021 police budget. In his presentation to the BEA on October 5, Chief Ed Moore indicated that only $350,000 of the budget was discretionary. Contractual obligations controlled the rest. At the informal Council meeting on Tuesday, DePietro suggested attrition--not replacing retiring officers--as a possible means to reduce the police budget.


  1. There is absolutely no evidence that the Police Budget needs to be reduced by 13%; if anything, given the crime rates, the Police budget should be increased by !3%.

    1. What crime rates? And since when does throwing more money at something solve the problem?!