HUDSON—The Columbia County Board of Supervisors wants to lease the St. Charles Hotel as an “enhanced satellite office” for the county Department of Social Services and an emergency housing facility. But the idea has drawn only scorn from the mayor.
The concept of a satellite office was proposed several months ago by board Chairman Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) in response to protests from city residents, officials and others opposed to the plan to move the Department of Social Services (DSS) to the old Ockawamick School building in Claverack, six miles outside the city. A press release issued Monday, June 15, from the department announcing the proposal for the St. Charles also said that using the hotel for emergency housing would save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to the present system, which relies on paying to house people in motels around the county and in Greene County.
Mayor Richard Scalera, who said he learned of the proposal a little over an hour before it was released to the public, called it a mind-boggling example of “planning on the go,” with no input from city officials. County officials say leasing the building would benefit the city.