Tuesday, September 19, 2023

We've Waited This Long . . .

Last week, Gossips reported that there had been two bids on the construction of the new Ferry Street Bridge: one from A. Colarusso & Sons, the other from J. H. Maloy, Inc., out of Loudenville. The bids were from $4,595,649 and $4,069,000 respectively. The bid from Maloy was the lower bid and hence the winning bid.  

At the Common Council meeting tonight, there was a resolution before the Council authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with A. Colarusso & Sons to construct the replacement Ferry Street Bridge. What happened? you might ask.

It seems that there were two insurance requirements that needed to be included in the bids. The first was the standard insurance required for all projects receiving federal funding; the second was insurance required by Amtrak. The bid from Maloy did not include the insurance required by Amtrak, the cost of which is substantial. Rather than absorb the cost of the insurance, J. H. Maloy chose to withdraw its bid, leaving only the bid from Colarusso.

When the resolution to enter into the contract with Colarusso came before the Council, Council president Tom DePietro said the resolution would be withdrawn because they were going to recommend that the Department of Public Works issue a new RFP for the Ferry State Bridge. According to DePietro, rebidding the project would only delay things a couple of weeks. Commenting on the situation, Peter Bujanow, Commissioner of Public Works, said the City had two options: they could award the project to the only other bidder; or they could rebid the project, if they determined it would be in the City's best interest. He suggested they could "try to solicit a wider net of bidders" the second time around. 

The meeting moved on from there, but toward the end, when Councilmember Vicky Daskaloudi suggested they should vote to confirm their decision regarding the bridge project and made a motion to rebid the construction of the Ferry Street Bridge, Mayor Kamal Johnson, who had just joined the meeting on Zoom, expressed his opinion that rebidding the bridge was "an extremely bad idea." He went on to say, "People have waited long enough already. To push this back further . . . is showing them a lack of trust in all of us." Johnson's entire argument can be heard in the video of the meeting on YouTube, beginning at 35:35. 

In the end, it was decided the Council would vote on the motion to rebid. The problem was there were only six members of the Common Council present at the meeting and able to vote: Art Frick (First Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward), Daskaloudi (Fifth Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), and Council president DePietro. For a motion or resolution to pass would require all six of them to vote the same way. Voting on the motion to rebid the project, four (Frick, Daskaloudi, Merante, and DePietro) voted yes, and two (Sarowar and Walker) voted no. When it was decided they needed to vote on the resolution authorizing the contract with Colarusso, the vote went exactly the opposite way: two (Sarowar and Walker) voted in favor; four (Frick, Daskaloudi, Merante, and DePietro) voted against.

It was decided that the Council would hold a special meeting on Friday, September 22, at 6:00 p.m., to resolve the issue, when it was hoped that more members of the Common Council would be present. The mayor immediately took to Facebook to rally support for his position. Here is a screen capture of his post on the Facebook group called "Unfiltered Hudson." (Click on the image to enlarge.)

In his post, the mayor makes the question of rebidding the Ferry Street Bridge project all about Colarusso. As a consequence, Friday's special Council meeting will likely turn out to be a prelude to the showdown that is expected to happen next Wednesday when the Planning Board holds a public hearing on Colarusso's application for a conditional use permit to construct a paved two-lane road through South Bay to enable increased gravel truck traffic to and from the river.


  1. Kamal will likely show up to that PB meeting (and post on his so helpful FB page) to demand: "Let Colarusso have their way down by the river! Stop harassing them!"
    You see the bind we are in? The company that builds all sorts of things for us (new streets, primarily) and sells DPW all sorts of material very locally is the same company that has repeatedly sued the city while its trucks pollute our air, damage our streets (that they rebuild at taxpayer expense), and rattle our bones, nerves, ears and buildings. There is no way out of this ugly relationship, it seems. They have us by the gonads -- even the mayor's gonads, it seems!

    1. There is a way out: Hudson should find another damn company to do the work! Don't voluntarily engage in the Stockhom syndrome. What the hell is the matter with this town of ours?!?!

  2. Only in Hudson, NY could we find a situation where City officials are handing out multi-million dollar contracts and erecting commemorative bronze plaques to a company that is filing multiple lawsuits against the City and abusing its residents with heavy truck traffic.

    1. the problem of truck traffic shouldn't be singularly blamed on Colarusso. There are huge box trucks that drive down residential streets and alleyways to deliver stock shipments to all of the huge department stores down Fairview Ave.

    2. Alexandra C-L you are 100% correct. These guys just do not like Colarusso's. They will find fault in whatever they do.

  3. A very odd move by the mayor to throw Tom and the Council under the bus. He has basically incited a mob to harass the Council for doing their fiduciary responsibility to the actual taxpayers who currently live within the city limits. This facebook group is mostly a nostalgia club and a place to air grievances and scapegoat "outsiders." Although the irony is many of them don't actually live and vote in the city of Hudson and live in Greenport, other parts of the county, or moved to the south. It's curious the mayor chose this specific place to rally and not the other local groups (with much larger reach) or his own social media. It's almost like he knew that Colarusso being the only other bidder would be a lightning rod as the low-information membership of the group would conflate this specific issue with the much larger issue at the Planning Board.

    Colarusso has become a proxy battle for them as it represents native v transplants, democrat v republican, blue collar v white collar, gentrification, etc... They just see it as the mean citiots (that somehow control the government) are picking on hometown heroes that fund Flag Day. But they don't pay the taxes that will fix the bridge and the gravel trucks don't pass by their houses. In the coming meetings, it's best that our officials remember who are their current constituents and who just goes to the high school reunions.