Bliss ponders how much for that kitty in the window

HUDSON–Pets, security guards, vacant apartments, Hudson’s Youth Center and boilers received attention at the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) Board of Commissioners meeting December 11. The HHA controls Hudson’s 9-story Bliss Tower (120 apartments), the three 2-story Columbia Apartment buildings (15 apartments) on same grounds, and the federal Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 program for housing elsewhere in Hudson.

Bliss tenants criticized inconsistent rules regarding what pets they are allowed to keep in their apartments, what information and documentation–if any–they must provide before being allowed to keep them, and whether they have to pay for them.

The discussion started when Tenant Commissioner Martin Martinez reported that a tenant had told him about being charged $75 for a cat. “I was never told of the policy,” said Mr. Martinez. “When did this start? Did it ever come before the board?” Read more…

Lower capital costs helps county avoid budget cuts

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2020 County Budget at its December 11, 2019 meeting. The budget calls for spending $159.5 million, of which $44.1 million (28%) is expected to come from the tax levy. The 2020 tax levy will be $786 thousand higher than for 2019, an increase of 1.82%.

That’s slightly less than the nominal “2% cap” (the actual limit varies from year to year) on municipal tax levy increases set by the state.

Table 1 shows the budget by appropriation category. Table 2 compares the 2020 appropriations with those for 2019. Table 3 shows the total tax levy for 2016 through 2020. Read more…

Funding query stalls E. Chatham span light

CHATHAM–On December 19, at the last Town Board meeting of 2019, the board tabled a motion to authorize the “implementation and funding for federal and state aid for the Albany Turnpike Road Traffic Signal project.” The traffic light would be the first in the town and would control traffic on the Albany Turnpike Bridge in East Chatham.

The bridge was replaced in 2013 by CSX, the railroad company that owns the tracks below. Once the new, one-lane bridge was open, area residents came to town meetings to express concern about safety issues on and around the bridge. The board discussed ways to make it safer, which included reducing the speed limit on the bridge and installing mirrors (which are not approved by the state).

The board eventually settled on designs that would create an exit lane from Route 295 leading to the bridge and a traffic light. The state awarded the town a grant for the project and plans went to the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval. Read more…

Show us your papers

CRARYVILLE—When Taconic Hills School District voters head to the polls this May, they better make sure they can prove who they are and where they live if they want their votes to count.

Under the district’s new system of poll registration, people who claim residency in the district and want to vote, must bring documents to the polls with them that bear their name and the physical address of the place they call home for most of the year.

Last June, a majority of the nine-member board voted to switch to a system of poll registration for voters—dumping its prior method of personal registration. The move was prompted by the discovery that people who were told they were not eligible to vote in the May 2019 election– illegally voted anyway, according to the accounts of some board members and school officials. Read more…

New super announced, principals’ roles adjusted at ICC

KINDERHOOK– The Ichabod Crane Board of Education appointed Jason Thomson as the next superintendent of schools at a special meeting Wednesday, December 18. According the resolution passed unanimously by the board, Mr. Thomson’s appointment will start “on or about February 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023.”

“Mr. Thomson comes to the district after serving as superintendent of Delaware Academy Central School District at Delhi for the past nine years,” according to a press release from the Ichabod Crane School District. The release says he began his education career as a high school special education teacher and middle school health educator/teacher. His school administrative experience includes serving as director of special education, building principal and vice-principal.

At the special meeting, Board President Matthew Nelson said it was the board’s “honor and privilege” to appoint Mr. Thomson. Read more…