A week can really change perceptions, or so it seems. On August 16, Council members were told that we needed to pass a resolution putting a tax increase on the ballot for May 2017. Tax increases, or in this case a reduction in the income tax credit, require approval by Hudson voters per our Charter. Council must decide first whether or not to put this issue before voters, and what the “terms” are.
The urgency for a Council vote on August 16 was in order to meet a Board of Elections deadline to put the issue on the November 2016 ballot. When it looked like the majority was no longer in favor of a decision this fall, the issue could have been shelved for future consideration and discussion.
And there are many factors to discuss- the amount of the “ask,” the number of years we would ask for the additional tax, and how we would define its uses.
We were told then that the need was urgent, there was no reason to delay, we needed to get started on these projects as soon as possible, including a more aggressive road improvement program.
Forward one week to our August 23rd Workshop. Faced with a decision as to whether or not to spend a projected $300k budget surplus on infrastructure, the road repair program this year, Council decided that the need doesn’t seem quite so urgent. “We’re not certain the surplus is real,” we are told. We’re also warned that there are many “irons in the fire” like the new school bus garage (paid for by the City) and Downtown Phase 2 planning that are competing for dollars. “The roads are in pretty good shape,” we’re also told. Read more in the Hudson Hub Times.
I don’t know if we will or won’t have a budget surplus this year. Whether we do or don’t, the $300k won’t hurt our budget. We spend that kind of money on many discretionary, unbudgeted items in the course of the year. Repairing the roads on the 2016 additional list moves all projects that follow it up by a half year just the kind of aggressive program we were told was needed.
It seems that roads and infrastructure improvements take on more of an urgency when the discussion is whether you should be asked to pay more in local taxes.
Read more on this and other issues, including whether or not Hudson restricts medical marijuana operations, under the section Notes from the Recent Council meeting.