Monday, October 3, 2022

Of the Housing Trust Fund and the 2023 Budget

The Housing Trust Fund Board meets today at 6:00 p.m. At the last meeting of the HCDPA (Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency) Board, the Housing Trust Fund's expectations from the 2023 City of Hudson budget were revealed. They are recommending a salary of $80,000 for Housing Justice Director Michelle Tullo. In 2022, Tullo's salary was paid for by the anti-displacement grant.   

There were also recommendations for contributions from the city budget to the Housing Trust Fund. The fund has established with $600,000 in seed money from the anti-displacement grant. In 2022, the City contributed $20,000 to the housing trust fund. Going forward, the board is  proposing contributions from the City of $40,000 in 2023, $45,000 in 2024, $50,000 in 2025, and $55,000 in 2026.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA), consisting of Mayor Kamal Johnson, Council president Tom DePietro, and city treasurer Heather Campbell, is scheduled to consider the budget requests relating to housing justice on Wednesday, October 5, at 2:30 p.m. The BEA's budget workshops are open to the public, but they are in person only. 

The schedule for the BEA's budget workshops, which was revealed today, begins this week and continues through the rest of the month. Here are the topics of the workshops this week.
  • Monday, October 3, at 2:30 p.m.--Department of Public Works
  • Tuesday, October 4, at 2:30 p.m.--Youth Department
  • Tuesday, October 4, at 3:00 p.m.--Conservation Advisory Council
  • Wednesday, October 5, at 2:30 p.m.--Housing Justice
  • Wednesday, October 5, at 3:00 p.m.--Mayor's Office
  • Wednesday, October 5, at 3:30 p.m.--City Clerk, Common Council, Parking Bureau
  • Thursday, October 6, at 2:30 p.m.--Assessor's Office
  • Thursday, October 6, at 3:00 p.m.--Planning Board
  • Thursday, October 6, at 3:30 p.m.--Senior Center
  • Friday, October 7, at 2:30 p.m.--Treasurer's Office
  • Friday, October 7, at 3:00 p.m.--Legal Counsel
  • Friday, October 7, at 3:30 p.m.--Non-Departmental
All the BEA meetings are in person only at City Hall.


  1. As I recall, Craig Haigh, our head of the Code Enforcement office, doesn't bring home close to $80,000 a year. He's closer to $60,000. If that is true, the salary for Tullo makes no sense and can't be justified. Is her work more important, more valuable than the Code Office head honcho's, even if the enforcement of our code may be lacking? B Huston

  2. WHAT?? Salary increase from $28,050 to $80,000 - Come on folks - This is ridiculous!! - Bernadette

    1. The chart indicates the $28,050 was for the third and fourth quarters of 2022. Based on that, the amount for the entire year would be $56,100. Still an increase from $56,100 to $80,000--a 43 percent increase--seems pretty generous.

    2. It’s not “generous,” it’s irresponsible but preciously the sort of execrable “management” that both the mayor and council president have consistently exhibited since they each took office. And what is the basis for a raise at all? What’s been accomplished? What would have been accomplished if the position didn’t exist? Given that nothing has changed since her hiring, I’d say she’s lucky to be employed at all. But what do I know? I’ve only built and run profitable businesses for 30+ years.

  3. When this kind of absurd stuff comes out of our City Hall, I keep coming back to the scene in Blazing Saddles where Mel Brooks, playing the Mayor, is in his office trying to master playing with the paddlewhacker toy, blindly signing papers (in his underwear) put in front of him by his aide and nuzzling the breasts of his buxom red-headed secretary. There are so many similarities.

  4. According to the SeeThroughNY website, Hudson in 2022 has 13 city employees who make over $100,000 a year. HPD officer Jason Finn is the top bread winner at $150,464. Of those 13 city employees in the $100,00-plus club, 12 are either police officers or in the Fire Department (at most 2, maybe just one, from the fire dept). Rob Perry, head of DPW, is the lone non-Hudson Fire Department or HPD employee in the over-$100,000 bracket. I have been saying for a few years that Perry makes just over $108,000 a year, but the site claims that he is now making $117,748 a year. If this is true, I was not aware that he recently got a raise of close to $10,000. I wonder what he did, if anything, to deserve the raise. Anyhoo, in the $80,000 - $100,000 salary range there are 9 employees, only 2 of whom do not work for HPD or the Fire Department, they being Tracy Delaney and someone named George Topple. I don't know how accurate the list is or how often it is updated because Ed Moore is not on the list and Tiffany Garriga and Mathew Parker, among other non-employees, are still on the list.
    How on earth does a police officer in a "city" of just 6,000 take home $150,000 a year? Isn't that the equivalent of like $75 an hour? What is he, Superman? For the amount of money many of our HPD officers make, there should be no crime or speeding vehicles in the city.
    Craig Haigh, according to the list, takes home "just" $63,165 a year. Jason Finn is paid over two and a half times that amount, and several HPD officers are paid twice as much as Mr. Haigh.
    Can you say "unsustainable?"
    Bill Huston

  5. The SeeThroughNY list of salaries for employees of the Village of Hudson Falls, NY (population 7,000) is an interesting contrast to the City of Hudson. No one there appears to make over $100,000 a year, and almost all of the Police and Fire employees are in the $60,000 - $80,000 range, half of what the biggest bread winner in our Hudson makes. One cop in Hudson Falls makes $90,000 and another makes $87,000 and that is as high as it gets. We have 18 Fire or Police employees making over $87,000 a year (almost all being cops), many making a whole lot more than that.
    Can anyone explain why this is?

  6. Last one: According to the SeeThroughNY list, not one employee of the Village of Catskill, on the other side of the RVW bridge, takes home a salary over $90,000. This includes Catskill Police officers.

  7. This is wildly inappropriate in so many ways. First, $80,000 is $5,000 more than the mayor's salary, and that's after the position got a 50% pay increase last year. It's about double the median income of Hudson - all for what? Going to meetings, managing one RFP and creating an Instagram account with almost no engagement? Didn't they also want to bring on a consultant to assist the Housing Director?

    Also, grant funded positions in government and nonprofits are usually considered restricted and temporary with a predetermined end date. I realize that the mayor may now be friends with this person and added them to the illustrious "40 Below 40" list, but if the funding ran out, apply for another grant. If you want to create a permanent position, justify it to the Common Council and open up a new application process.

    Does Hudson even need this position? We have some of the highest percentage of low income housing in the county and Hudson Valley. The latest proposal seems ok to me, but I think smart development can happen organically when vacant and underutilized land is sold instead of warehoused. There's already demand. The HHA already has its own administration. So why do we need this added expense? Could this not be better spent bolstering our almost non-existant code enforcement? Building enforcement, STR enforcement, sidewalk enforcement... hell, with what's being purposed in the Sidewalk Committee we many need a Sidewalk Czar to manage that pending bureaucracy. Either way, I'm not sure a Housing "Justice" Director is good use of the taxpayer's money. The name alone suggests service of an agenda rather than a public servant.

    Furthermore, I find it tragically ironic that they also want to use the general budget (ie property taxes) to pay this position and further bolster this Housing Trust Fund. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Find alternate sources to fund what seems to be this patronage slush fund for the mayor - apply for more grants, use the lodging tax... but don't use property taxes, one of the very things that makes Hudson unaffordable in the first place.

    It will be interesting to see how the budget pans out with the current rate of inflation and no more federal Covid funds. The party may come to an early conclusion.