At its regular monthly meeting last night, the Common Council did not pass the resolution calling on the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to reduce the 2021 budget for the Hudson Police Department by 13 percent, or $630,636. Those voting for the resolution were Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), Jane Trombley (First Ward), Rebecca Wolff (First Ward), and Council president Tom DePietro. Those opposed were Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward), Calvin Lewis (Third Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Shershah Mizan (Third Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), and Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward).
Before casting his nay vote, Merante stated that the reduction would affect public safety and went on to say, "We will lose three or four officers, in particular female officers," since female officers are among the most recent hires. Similarly, Sarowar, before casting his nay vote, said he was "all for saving money but not on public safety." Walker, who also voted against the resolution, said he felt change was needed but "we need to think strategically and rationally."
Before voting in support of the resolution, Trombley said the resolution was "largely symbolic and nonbinding." "What's important," she maintained, "is that we starting rethinking . . . [and] re-imagining what public safety can look like."
At the end of the meeting, when opening the meeting for public comment, DePietro urged, "Please don't start arguing about the resolution that was defeated." He added, "This discussion is not over."
Michael Hofmann, one of the authors of the Hudson Breathe Act, which was the inspiration for the resolution, called it "a first step in answering a national call" and spoke of "our black neighbors who suffer disproportionately under police oppression." Curiously, the only African American on the Council to vote in support of the resolution was Garriga, who had introduced the Hudson Breathe Act to the Legal Committee on September 23. The other people of color on the Council--Lewis, Walker, Mizan, and Sarowar--all voted against the resolution.