Tuesday, February 9, 2021

News from the Common Council Meeting: Part 2

The treasurer's report was presented at the informal Common Council meeting last night, and as usual since the pandemic began, the news was sobering. City treasurer Heather Campbell provided updates on the City's three major revenue streams, other than property taxes: parking, building permits, and other taxes (sales, mortgage, and lodging). 

Revenue from parking in 2020 was 57 percent of what had been budgeted. The worst loss in revenue was from the city parking lot across from the train station, whose revenues were only 37 percent of what was anticipated. Campbell reported that in the month of December revenue from this parking lot was $2,600, when in the past it was $26,000. She suggested that, since the parking lot is primarily used by people commuting into New York City for work, this may be a source of revenue that never comes back because the pandemic has demonstrated to many people that they can work remotely.  

Revenue from building permits and fees remained strong during 2020, with the actual income from these sources being 94 percent of what was budgeted for the year.

Regarding tax revenues other than property taxes, sales tax for 2020 was 71 percent of what had been budgeted, mortgage tax exceeded expectation at 110 percent, and lodging tax, predictably, fell far below expectation at 29 percent. All together, taxes from sources other than real property was 67 percent of what had been budgeted for 2020.

Campbell concluded that the City's actual revenue for 2020 was $9.9 million and its expenditures were $11.1 million, resulting in a deficit of $1.2 million. Last night, DePietro made reference to President Biden's COVID-19 relief bill, which includes $350 billion in direct aid to state and city governments. If Congress passes the bill, it is not clear how much if any relief the City of Hudson can expect to receive. Failing a bailout from the federal government, the plan is to use the fund balance to make up the deficit, which would leave just $600,000 in unassigned funds in the fund balance. 

Last night, Campbell tried to point out that since 2011 the City has had a fund balance policy that requires the unallocated fund balance to be between 25 and 35 percent of the General Fund. That policy needs to be adopted every year, and the Council has not done so. DePietro told Campbell the policy could be changed and commented, "We all tend to fetishize what a fund balance is."


  1. Is it at all possible for Tom DiPietro to be a reasoned and responsible leader? Or does his need to be snide consistently trump whatever better angels he may harbor? The fund balance may or may not be fetishized by some (though our Treasurer's concern doesn't strike me as fetishization so much as merely doing her job -- granted an unusual occurrence in the Council Chamber and one its president might not recognize at first blush). But if it is, it is likely because it actually is our municipal insurance policy against catastrophe and being forced to financially reckon with the Council's stunning disinterest in the City's financial well-being. The fund balance is, in short, Hudson's citizens' treasure. And the Council spends it like irresponsible children. The lack of leadership is abysmal.

  2. I remember not too long ago when a common council president allowed me to ask as many questions as I had of Rob Perry at a DPW meeting, much to Rob's and committee members' chagrin. She was so casual about her job. Now the position seems to have too much significance and that power has gone to Tom's head. He, like our highest paid civil servant, Mr Perry, are both uncivil bossypants. They both remind me of Trump. Power and money will do that.