On Tuesday, the Common Council placed an amended sidewalk law on their desks. Next Friday, January 27, the Council will vote on enacting the law. The amendments made to the law--waiving the annual maintenance fee for volunteer firefighters and veterans and reducing the fee by half for properties that currently do not have sidewalks--seemed intended to appease the law's opposers and avoid a referendum, but it remains to be seen if it will accomplish that.
The law is subject to a permissive referendum. According to New York Municipal Home Rule Law, within forty-five days after the Council has voted to enact the law, a petition protesting the law can be filed with the city clerk which would trigger a referendum. The number of signatures required on the petition must be equal to at least 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. There were 2,040 votes cast in Hudson for governor this past November, so that means the petition for a referendum would need at least 204 signatures. If that were to happen, there would be a proposition regarding the sidewalk law on the ballot in the next general election, which happens in November.
There seems to be general unhappiness with the proposed law, but it is uncertain if the discontent will result in a referendum. How such an action would impact the City's settlement agreement with the Department of Justice is not known.
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