The Town of Hudson’s 2017 budget includes $160,000 for a new Legion roof and Community Centre kitchen upgrade even if the Canada 150 infrastructure grant request is rejected, according to a printout dated the day before the first 2017 budget was adopted.
Last Dec. 15, this administration adopted the first of two 2017 budgets. The day before the meeting, the town produced a spreadsheet which broke down the proposed 2017 disbursements to community organizations, events and causes.
The three-page document is the result of a resolution, R4280 adopted at the Sept. 6, 2016 council meeting. The Politique de reconnaissance de Hudson/Hudson reconnaissance policy was to “acknowledge receipt of a Town project for a Policy in recognition of organizations to be considered [by] Council first and thereafter presented for consultation by the citizens in a process to be determined by the Town.”
I’ve posted the PDF here:
The spreadsheet names the cause, organization or event, the amount given in 2016, the amount demanded in 2017 and the amount the town was proposing to give in 2017.
Under Hudson Royal Canadian Legion, the requested 2017 disbursement was listed as “Roof (included in the Canada 150 infra. Grant request).
Council’s decision: “$500,000 if granted, $100,000 if not.”
There’s a similar entry for Meals on Wheels, the major user of the Community Centre kitchen: “grant request Canada 150th.” The request was for “kitchen renovation. Kitchen fan up to date, etc. $60,000. Council’s decision read “kitchen renovation. Kitchen fan up to date, etc. $60,000.”
The way I read this, council approved the $60,000 kitchen upgrade whether or not the grant is approved.
A posting on the town’s website includes the following disclaimer:
“We want to reaffirm that the acceptance of our project in the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure program (PIC150) is an absolute prerequisite to go forward with the loan bylaw 687-2017 as stated in the motion and in Section 5 of the bylaw. If the Town does not receive the grant, the loan bylaw will be cancelled.”
What the posting doesn’t say is whether the town will find other means of financing the upgrade.
As Hudson residents now know, this administration had to present a revised budget a month later, after it was revealed the town had erred in calculating the budget increase. So it’s possible this document was revised to allow council to cut approximately $1M from the 2017 budget to lower the average tax increase.
But this spreadsheet was adopted without discussion at the Dec. 15 council meeting and was not repealed or replaced when the new budget was adopted in January.
I think we’re seeing the town’s contingency plan if the grant is turned down.
4 thoughts on “Plan B”
I really don’t understand why the exhaust ventilation should go under “Meals on Wheels, subsidy from the town” on that list of organizations who would be getting subsidies. I can understand HVT, Palliative care, Music Festival, are subsidies when the town hands out taxpayer monies but to do renovations to the exhaust fan in a kitchen that the town already owns, is beyond me. It should have been fixed in the first year of their mandate as it is something that was brought to our attention in 2013 by Philippe Baron. As far as the Canadian Legion (if grant 500,000, if not 100,000 roof) if the town considers this another subsidy to an organization, why is Barbara Robinson voting on this? I’m sorry but if the town considers it a gift/subsidy then it’s a subsidy and therefore a conflict of interest for a councillor who is the treasurer of the Legion to vote on it. Why not put the roof under maintenance of town buildings??? and lastly, why did we need an access to information request to get the list of who was getting money and how much? It’s almost as if the councillors and mayor are not ready to justify their choices, or they don’t think we care to know how our money is spent. Look at Rigaud, list was on their minutes, in Hudson, resolution adopted without saying how much and to whom. I am signing tomorrow as I would like to know what I’m being taxed for. And no, not a special by-law to fix a roof, what on earth are we paying taxes for then? no water, no sewers, terrible roads and snow removal? And in the PTI, $ for a revamped boat launch “linking to the eco-trolleys”. Those ecotrolleys better come with tank tires to navigate our strees! I don’t want to pay one cent more unless I know that the council is acting wisely and spending our money on priorities. It’s like they are not listening.
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It is simply impossible to donate a roof to the Legion. The Legion is a low rent paying long term tenant under the original deal when the Community Centre was built. They can’t own the gift of the roof, it’s the landlord who generally owns and maintains a roof.
Same with Meals on Wheels, and other items that got caught in the picnic blanket under the umbrella loan by-law.
If the interior of he Legion needs upgrading, including their kitchen, then that is a tenants responsibility.
The kitchen of the Community Centre should be safe, well wired and commercial quality. We should look for a good used stainless commercial kitchen at a significant discount, it will last forever under the light use it gets. Restaurants, often new ones, go bankrupt all he time, used equipment is common.
There have been various mumblings, not just in Hudson but in other communities, about making the Legion taxable as businesses. At one time there was talk about going after them retroactively. I’m against all those sorts of moves and so long as we have veteran members they deserve our support.
We’ll need to have a policy for this long term because there are fewer vets every year.
What to do when a significant number or a majority of those who use the Legion for curling are not vets? Then, my personal opinion is that I don’t think it would fit the criteria of a non-taxable not-for profit and will become gradually fully taxable like any other private membership club.
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This requires a mature conversation about wether the taxpayer should be required to subsidize certain community oranizations and events but not others. The taxpayer subsidizes parking at the Legion and the Manoir. we subsidize the classic car show but not the British car show. if one goes rhrough that list, it’s clear there are discrepancies. We all subsidize our schools and churches but we have issues subsidizing a commercial sector. Fine. Now let’s extend that conversation to everything.
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“We have issues subsidizing a commercial sector”, that’s for an understatement! When the Hudson SDC, created by the government to legally allow municipalities to use taxpayer funds to promote their commercial district, falls behind the cat shelter in the list of priorities to organizations getting subsidies, then that’s totally beyond me.
As far as the Legion, I agree Peter that we have to support whatever vets we have that are still alive but I don’t agree that the town should not go after back taxes owed by them. I presume it’s a provincial law, this Commission that denied the Legion tax exempt status? Then the town, either the DG or a tax lady, do not have the legal authority to exempt them from such taxes. That’s about as bad as what was done in the past, anyone with a sob story (legitimate or not and I’m not immune to people being in difficult circumstances as I experienced some of those in my life,) was given a pass by the person working in the tax department. I know this for a fact and that is why so many citizens were late on their property taxes for so many years. Only council, by resolution, can agree to make arrangements regarding back taxes; however, whether an organization is exempt is up to a higher authority. You do remember when a few organizations in Hudson, who did a great service to the residents and I don’t need to name them, but had never applied to be registered as a non-profit. They needed to do that to get any town money. Why is this such a problem for the Legion? Nobody is saying that they are not a good organization; however, the law applies to everybody and if they don’t pay their share, it has to be picked up by other taxpayers like you and me. Why not look into this issue, put the cards on the table as far as what the town is responsible for with this tenant, as they are a tenant, with an extremely favourable lease. I should know our council extended their lease, keeping in mind what the Legion does for the community. If the curling rink structure had to be replaced for example, I believe it is up to the curling club members to chip in. Isn’t this the way it works in all private clubs? Special assessments? This is only my opinion and maybe I’m wrong, I’m just looking here at the tax issue. Perhaps they should reapply but for that they might have to show that they do more for the community. Are all those inexpensive dinners and beers open to all Hudson citizens or just those who are members? Again, I reiterate, I am not against the Legion and I feel bad that they have been dragged through this, but this council has not been forthcoming. Why do we have to feel it is none of our business. Well, I disagree, it is our business, and citizens have to continue to ask questions when they are not clear on something, especially when it involves loan by-laws that we will all be paying for years after it’s passed. Also keep in mind, the cost of money is cheap right now, but what about 5, 10, 15 years? These loan by-laws are renewable are they not, I’m sure the interest given is not for 20 years if the loan by-law is 20 years?
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