The Town of Hudson will table a revised 2017 budget as soon as possible after discovering it had understated this year’s tax increase by two thirds.
A subdued Ron Goldenberg, the councillor responsible for fiscal policy, told tonight’s January council meeting they had used the wrong mil rate for 2016. Instead of the average 1.6% increase he had quoted to reporters, Hudson taxpayers face an average 4.9% increase before tariffs – exactly what I predicted in my blog Hudson’s true tax load, published a week ago.
Goldenberg and mayor Ed Prevost said it was an honest mistake, but it means the town will have to find ways to slash in the budget adopted Dec. 21. It puts the town in a quandary, especially with a long list of organizations already having received assurances they’ll be receiving municipal grants. There was some indication of that tonight when resident Trevor Smith asked why the list of recipients and the amounts they’ll receive hasn’t been released even though the announcement was made at that same Dec. 21 meeting.
Once letters go out to hopeful recipients the amounts of the grants will be made public, councillor Barbara Robinson replied. Recipients include the Hudson Village Theatre, Greenwood, the music festival, St Patrick’s Parade and more.
Goldenberg confirmed the revised budget will tax those whose properties are located on the sewer system who have never paid sewer taxes because they never connected. Some 250 doors, roughly a third of the eligible total, haven’t paid sewer taxes and tariffs since the system came on line nearly 10 years ago.
Following the meeting I asked Goldenberg when residents could expect the revised budget. He said he was hoping to get it done in time for the February council meeting.
It also came out that the town faced a potentially critical water shortage following the Jan. 4 fire in the town’s Como sector. A mother and her two daughters escaped with their lives after being rescued by a passing Hydro Quebec crew. Town DG J.P. Roy told resident Richard Rothschild the combination of the fire and four leaks in the system together significantly lowered the town’s water reserves. Rothschild noted the town would have been in serious trouble, had there been another fire in town. Roy said later that while the level was of concern, the town never faced an emergency situation.
More to come once I’ve listened to the tape and gone through my notes.