County awards bus contract to local firm

HUDSON–The County Government Committee, chaired by Livingston Supervisor Kevin McDonald, announced this week that Johnston & Pulcher had submitted the winning bid for the county bus operator contract. The amount bid was an estimated $376,245.

Kenneth Flood, county Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development, explained to the committee the due diligence process in considering bids from the current provider, Coxsackie Transport, First Transit, and Johnston & Pulcher. In addition to cost considerations, he reviewed inspection records and the state’s list of approved service providers.

The original contract with Coxsackie Transport began January 1, 2010, and a two-year extension was approved in August 2011 to run through December 2013. But at a September 2011 Finance Committee meeting, the two-year extension was shortened to one year. After developing a procedure that satisfied the requirements of the state Department of Transportation policy on competitive bidding, an Invitation for Bid (IFB) was issued in February and publicly advertised. Responses were due March 11, and Johnston & Pulcher’s bid was the lowest. Coxsackie Transport’s estimate was $427,950, and First Transit’s was $535,950.

In other business the committee:

Discussed transferring the Transportation Advisory Committee to the Public Works Committee. Gallatin Supervisor Tom Garrick said that this structure was consistent with the manner in which other counties operate within the state

Learned from Mr. Flood that the county will participate in the New York by Rail Day at Penn Station in New York City, to gain more visibility for the county. County Tourism Director Ann Cooper will attend the 2013 Empire State Tourism Conference in Niagara Falls

Heard Supervisor Ellen Thurston (Hudson-3rd Ward) suggest creating a tourism information booth to operate in Hudson on summer weekends. She said that Hudson has received media attention recently, including participation in Chef Ex, an exchange among five Great Barrington restaurants and the county’s Crimson Sparrow. The tourism office at the Chamber of Commerce is closed on weekends, and the county may be missing potential visitor revenue opportunities. She and Chamber President Dave Colby are discussing the mechanics of launching the effort, prospectively using volunteers, to give visitors information on county events

Heard Arnold Schneider, director of Columbia County Weights and Measures, report on sampling efforts in February. He cited a supermarket that is receiving a fine for underweight packaging. He also commented that gasoline prices appear to be too high by approximately 20 cents per gallon

Heard Suzette Booy, director of the county Real Property Tax Service Agency, present a list of tax corrections processed over the past month. She also requested a one-year license agreement for the county to participate in the multiple listing service among Greene, Dutchess and Columbia counties to share data, tax maps and tax bills.

She also explained that some property owners are not receiving the tax savings they are due under the agriculture value assessments provision, noting several cases where fire district tax assessments are not reflecting these tax reductions

Heard Rich Guliano, the county’s chief technology officer, request that the county replace the current McAfee security software, which is designed primarily for home use and has slowed the computers. The new product will provide web filtering and data encryption, and, if paid in one lump sum, would cost $16,250 for a three-year contract, a savings of up to $3,000 for the period.

Heard Assistant County Attorney Brent Stack reported on the process of implementing the 1% additional sales tax and supplemental transfer tax that, combined, will give the county an additional $258,000 in revenue. The procedure involves several steps and may take a year to complete.





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