And in conclusion… The annual Operation Unite Youth Government Day was held Tuesday, April 16. The event gives Hudson High School students the opportunity to see how local government works. Participating students shadowed city officials such as the Common Council president, council members, the city clerk, the mayor, the chief of police and the members of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. After lunch the students convened in the council chamber at Hudson City Hall for a mock council meeting, with students playing roles of council president and council members. The meeting became lively as participants introduced resolutions, debated the merits and voted on them. Resolutions covered topics like whether the school should provide halal lunches for Muslim students, whether Hudson should have rent control. and whether the minimum smoking age should be raised to 21. Above, 10th grader Zakhariah Choudhary argued a point on one of the resolutions. Photo by David Lee

Firefighters make a call: ‘We Need Help’

CHATHAM–Four local fire departments might be tackling the problem in different ways but they share the same issue–a lack of volunteers coupled with an aging membership. And their message is the same: “We need help.”

“We need volunteers. We have some older firefighters, they are going to age out,” said David Levow, a firefighter and recruitment coordinator with the Chatham Fire Department. “We need younger ones going through the pipeline. We need officers. We always need the young coming in. We want to keep the pipeline full.”

This year’s recruitment in Chatham has been boosted by Mr. Levow’s neighbor, Doug Welch, of Chatham, a retired creative director at an ad agency in New York City. “I told him when he retires he needs to come help with our recruitment efforts,” Mr. Levow recalled. “This past fall he said he was ready. He said what we really needed was to personalize the campaign. He came up with the idea. The theme being ‘We Need Help.’” Read more…

H’dale accepts small plot for safer turn

HILLSDALE–At the urging of Town Attorney Matthew Cabral, the Hillsdale Town Board voted unanimously at its regular monthly meeting to accept an Irrevocable Offer of Cession from the Tory Hills Associates on a .93-acre parcel. The land being transferred to town ownership is located southwest of Whippoorwill Road near the intersection with state Route 22. Area residents have complained that the intersection is a traffic hazard due to limited visibility for vehicles entering 22 from Whippoorwill.

Mr. Cabral noted that the parcel is valued at $500 and that removing it from the town’s tax base would be “negligible.” He said, “It makes sense for the town to accept this offer now.” The town is considering widening the intersection to improve traffic visibility.

Supervisor Peter Cipkowski expressed concern that the parcel is not large enough to satisfy the state Department of Transportation. Read more…

Hudson brings schools budget in low to ‘give…back’

HUDSON–The 2019-20 budget, course cuts and proposals, Columbus Day and pool parties were among the topics addressed at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting April 8.

The board passed a budget proposal that calls for spending $49,792,463 in the 2019-20 school year. This includes a tax levy 2.3% higher than last year’s even though the state tax cap formula would have allowed the district to increase the tax levy by up to 2.5%.

The lower tax increase “give[s] something back to the community,” because this year the district can afford to do so, said Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier, who presented the budget proposal. This will be the third straight year that the HCSD school tax levy will increase by less than the allowed maximum. Read more…

Livingston gas station plan critics cite local law

LIVINGSTON–The Livingston Planning Board held a second public hearing April 3, 2019 to address the Xtra-Mart gas station/convenience store. Global Partners, the company that owns the Xtra Mart chain, has submitted an application for a gas station and café on the northeast corner of the intersection of US Route 9 and State Routes 9H, 23 and 82.

The proposed station would be a 4,800-square-foot structure including 16 gasoline-dispensing stations with a 4,000 square foot canopy, two diesel dispensing locations and a 1,000-square-foot canopy, two enter/exit curb cuts on Route 9 with 32 parking spaces and a diesel island truck queue.

Like the first public hearing, Planning Board Chairman Phil Schmidt opened the hearing and announced that Global Partners would not be present. He then recused himself from the proceeding. Planning Board member Robert Berlinger stepped in for Mr. Schmidt. Read more…

Chatham close to requiring short-term rental residency

CHATHAM – The Town Board held a workshop meeting last week to discuss the short-term rental section of the proposed new zoning law. On the agenda they planned to discuss the FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet board members had written about the new zoning regarding short-term rentals but they ended up spending most of the meeting deciding what part of the short-term rental regulations each board member was comfortable with passing when they finally approve an updated zoning law.

The April 4 meeting started with a public comment period where several residents spoke about the residency requirement proposed in the law and the local lodging business.

Jodie Paris, owner of the Inn at Silver Maple Farm in East Chatham, said rumors of not enough places to stay in the area were not true. She said that many days of the year, there are vacancies at her bed and breakfast. “We don’t make money unless we bring people here,” she said of her business, adding that she has spent thousands of dollars promoting the area. Read more…