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Hudson lawmakers slash budget for Shared Streets manager

Mar 24, 2021 6:00 am

Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Hudson Common Council March 22, cut funding for the city Tourism Board’s Shared Streets project manager by 50 percent. The council amended a resolution, lowering the budget from $30,000 to $15,000. The board is able to ask the council for more money to fund the position in the future, Common Council President Thomas DePietro said. The Tourism Board agreed last week to spend up to $30,000 of its funds on a project manager to oversee the program. The proposed part-time position would be paid $40/hour. The board’s budget started the year with about $210,876 after it spent $160,000 in grants and $54,000 on the Shared Streets program in 2020, according to City Treasurer Heather Campbell. The funding comes from half of the city’s lodging tax revenue up to March 2020. Last year, Hudson Hall was paid $10,000 to help manage the Shared Streets program, DePietro said. The project manager would oversee the program design, budget, permitting process, safety standards, portable bathrooms and hand-sanitizer dispensers. The job also includes outreach to local business owners who do not have storefronts on Warren Street to help them organize local pop-up markets. At the meeting, DePietro insisted the position is necessary for the Shared Streets plan to be solidified. “There is no plan if we don’t move this forward,” DePietro said. Resistance to the measure came from several representatives on the Council, including Second Ward Alderwoman and Majority Leader Tiffany Garriga who questioned the program’s benefits for business owners with businesses located off of Warren Street. A permitting process to set up pop-up markets already exists through the city clerk’s office, she said. Rebecca Wolff, 1st Ward Alderwoman and minority leader said the businesses that use Shared Streets permits should collaborate to hire a project manager instead of using city money. Tourism board member Selha Graham said that limiting the salary to $15,000 will make it difficult to hire someone to fill the position. Note: DePietro and Graham are volunteer WGXC on-air programmers. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.