Friday, February 19, 2021

It's That Time of Year Again

The City of Hudson ended 2020 with a $1.2 million deficit to be made up from the fund balance and started 2021 with a $11,854,329 budget, balanced with another half million from the fund balance. On Wednesday, an ad hoc committee of the Common Council will be meeting to discuss what City-owned buildings can be sold to replenish the fund balance. Still, in the face of the City's dire financial situation, Mayor Kamal Johnson, in presenting the 2021 budget to the Common Council, spoke of the commitment to not raise taxes for property owners in Hudson. The Hudson City School District, in discussing its budget for 2021-2022, appears to be showing no such commitment.

The HCSD Board of Education held its first budget workshop on Tuesday night, concurrent with the Common Council meeting. Gossips was not in attendance at the budget workshop, but a reader provided some intel from that meeting. Once again, HCSD is anticipating a budget of more than $50 million and talking about increasing the tax levy to the maximum allowable. 

Only five members of the community participated in Tuesday's meeting, and only one asked any questions. The recording of the meeting has not yet been made available, but when it is, it can be found here

Tuesday's meeting was the first of a series of budget workshops. Others will take place on:
  • Tuesday, March 2, at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 16, at 6:oo p.m. 
  • Tuesday, April 6, at 6:00 p.m.
At the April 6 meeting, the final draft budget will be presented. A public hearing on the proposed budget will take place on May 4, at 6:30 p.m. The vote on the budget takes place on May 18.

Click here to review the entire budget development timeline.


  1. The schools have been challenged in the past year like never before. But that makes them exactly like the rest of the world. So it's telling that, in the face of massive change, the Hudson City School District and its board remain consistent in their collective disregard for taxpayer reality. Bravo.

  2. The school budget for the City of Hudson is one of the most expensive in the State per capita. Each student costs in excess of $ 30,000 per person.

    the problem in Hudson is the budget is enormous, but the level of performance by the teachers is in the lowest 10 % in the State.

    The school system has previously been on a watch list of terrible performers.

    No one looks at the budget, and no one demands better quality of teaching.

    What are the parents and the students actually getting for all this money ? in other districts similar to Hudson in the State, communities that are poor can have really good school systems where students learn at much less cost.

    It is not about the money, it is about the level of teaching. the students in Hudson are not doing well and it is not for a lack of money.

    Perhaps we can spend less and get more if we actually study why the system is in the lowest quarter of all schools. I just do not buy that its only economics.

  3. The Hudson Cuty School District (HCSD) is a runaway train....headed nowhere. Imagine, this year they want approx another $25 million from the HCSD taxpayers; last year slightly less, next year will be in 3 yard they ask Hudson taxpayers for $75 million dollars. Where does the tipping point come. This money does not exist in real life. This Pentagon-like body we are strapped to will one day bankrupt this city. And don't forget that the State and bits of Federal funds they get are OUR money as well. And to clarify about the "public forum" last week on the budget. Questions are asked ONLY by typing them into the Zoom question bar. No interaction. No follow up. They NEVER hear your voice. And that says it all. They don't want to hear your voice. They want to slide by this $25 million request with zero to minimal questioning. Last month they attempted to have a parent meeting to help on return to school/health issues...only 20 parents showed up so the Board answer to increase the number was to hold a raffle for a special prize for parents during the next call. So if you won't show up for your kid you might show up for a bottle of organic shampoo. I told them that it was ridiculous and they should get back to engaging with parents in real time and real ways.Not to mention engaging the community that hosts their buildings and shoulders their bills. The level of taxation and increases should be tied to improving academics.Period. How best to fight the pandemic than to over-prepare kids for a tougher world ahead. Members of the Board are VOLUNTEERS. There was no draft here. So shed no tears for them. By now the Supt of schools should have been removed after a dozen years failing the kids and the voters should vote out a board that thinks that Hudson's piggy bank has an endless supply awaiting their command.

  4. If the property tax is not enough to make you question the pathetic leadership of the HCSD, most notably Carrie Otty, then take this into your calculation:

    I have recently received from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Office of Counsel, in response to my FOIL request the official following numbers on non-property taxes (taxes beyond the property taxes on the ballot and keep in mind that each school district chooses this optionally). One half of districts in the State DON’T DARE enrage taxpayers with this kind of shenanigans. BUT the HCSD has charged us the following recently:

    2010 - $170,070

    2019 - $616,553

    2018 - $1,013,746

    2017 - $601,573

    2016 - $627,309

    2015 - $622,315

    2014 - $666,502

    2013 - $436,043

    2012 - $261,236

    2011 - $689,007

    2010 - $689,780

    Grand Total - $6,394,134

    And the 2020 numbers are still unfinished.

    This tax is called the Sales Tax on Telephone and Utilities. It is the “whisper tax”. Until I came along to a Board meeting they called it the “non-property tax tax.” I told them to fix the name and they did.

    So, for turning on your lights, watching your TV, using your iPad, using electricity of any kind, using or buying a phone, using propane to heat your cold feet………the HCSD has OPTED to charge you roughly 2% of your total bill, each month. CHECK YOUR BILLS. It’s there. Mulhern tells you it is for the HCSD directly. They are honest. Other businesses hide it. But let there be no doubt, on top of the massive property tax they ask you for each year they also charge you for EVERYTHING else you do, and can you believe it is optional? They do this in a whisper agreement, so you don’t get upset. Or turn your lights off. Where is the outrage and where is the stewardship of this School District out of control? Enough is enough. BTW, this tax period basically coincides with the reign of Carrie Otty and Ms. Suttmeier. The $6,394,134 “Otty-Suttmeier whisper tax”. Did you know they were doing this? Have you checked your bills or called your utility? Do it now.