Hudson tightens handout controls

Hudson Village Theatre has the town’s go-ahead to add an addition to the west end of their playhouse in Hudson’s former CP train station. Council’s conditions: it must be hooked up to municipal sewers and have two basement exits with old and new basements connected.

HVT executive director Kalina Skulska told me the addition will provide the theatre the space it needs for social events and theatre activities. She made a point of emphasizing the theatre isn’t looking for handouts from the town, adding HVT has gone it alone since its inception with the help of its sponsors and fans.

A coincidence? Council Monday night also approved a town policy for the recognition and support of non-profit organizations, allegedly in response to an embarrassing incident in which a cheque to a local organization was deposited into somebody’s private bank account.

In the preamble, the town links its financial support to an organization’s ‘recognition status’ and degree of accountability. Organizations requesting handouts from the taxpayers must be headquartered in Hudson, have 70% of their directors from Hudson, respond to a collective need, conduct all their activities in Hudson and not look to the town as a primary source of funding.

Institutional, political, religious, professional, philanthropic or any group “supporting or accompanying sick, addicted or incarcerated individuals” shouldn’t bother to apply.

The policy item that raised the biggest squawk was the requirement that any applicant with an annual budget of $20,000 or more, or having received a grant of $5,000 or more from the town is required to provide audited financial statements.

Hudson Music Festival co-organizer Lynda Clouette Mackay pointed out that an audited financial statement can cost as much as the grant is worth.
“There is flexibility, obviously,” said councillor Ron Goldenberg.
But you’ve passed it tonight, several in the audience pointed out.

Pro-mayor Natalie Best said at first there could be modifications to the resolution before it comes into effect, then persisted and signed. “It’s already passed but we’ll take it under advisement.”

Community Centre reno rush

The rush is on to spend as much of that $555,000 loan bylaw before Dec. 31. Council voted to approve a $22,460 contract with architect James Lalonde to prepare tender documents for the renovation of the Community Centre. Also announced was a notice of motion of delegation of powers to DG Jean-Pierre Roy so decisions regarding this and other town projects continue to be made in the period between the end of the current council’s mandate and the swearing in of their successors.

Following the council session Parks, Recreation, Culture and Tourism Director Nicolas Pedneault gave me a tour of the Community Centre with the emphasis on what renovations are needed. Roof leaks, crafty, leaky original low-grade windows and doors and worn flooring are obvious. Less obvious is the lack of a proper commercial stove ventilation hood and other shortcomings in the heavily used kitchen. The structure averages 100 visitors a day and has been designated as the town’s emergency shelter.

When the bylaw was adopted the town vowed not to spend any money unless it was matched dollar for dollar by the federal government’s Canada 150 and other community infrastructure programs. In other words, the taxpayer’s share of the total would be a maximum of $227,500.

Compost pickup coming

Organic waste pickup is coming as early as next year. Council voted for Hudson to join other Vaudreuil-Soulanges municipalities also part of the Montreal Metropolitan Commission in a project to collect compostables in 45-litre bins.

More new hires

Hudson’s next town planning services director was introduced. She’s Marie-Claude Besner and she’s been involved in urban planning since the early ‘80s. She replaces Natalie Lavoie, off to Two Mountains after 15 years in Hudson. Also hired is a new town clerk, two articling law students, a part-time employee for the finance department, facilities attendant and a mat leave replacement for Parks and Recreation.

$15G for snowclearing mayhem 

Transport André Leroux Inc. finally got the cheque for the last instalment of last year’s snow-clearing bill — $45,931.51, minus $15,000 representing the damage the town and Leroux agreed was caused to property by incompetent operators. Residents found the damage settlement to be ridiculously low and demanded whether Leroux will be tearing up Hudson streets again this coming winter. They were told it’s a three-year contract and the town will be working more closely with the contractor to ensure better service.

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2 thoughts on “Hudson tightens handout controls

  1. There is no way that the community centre project can be completed within the time frame imposed by the federal government (December 31, 2017) in order to qualify for the 50% grant.

    Council has only just awarded the contract to an architect to draw up the required drawings and specifications that will form the basis of the public tender on which contractors will bid. This segment alone will take us to the October council meeting – the last one of this administration.

    Follow this with a tender period of at least two weeks; submission and analysis of the bids and a recommendation to the new council on who to award the contract.

    In the middle of all this process – there is an election on November 5th – council’s first meeting will be shortly after that with the 2018 budget due in mid-December.

    There is no way that a half million dollar project can be completed in a month before the construction shutdown on December 23rd – assuming that the winning bidder’s price comes in on or under budget (and not over).

    Timing is everything – and I am afraid that the town sadly has missed the boat!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Council adopted a motion delegating signing and decision-making powers over this and other projects to DG Jean-Pierre Roy in the period between the last council meeting and the swearing in of the new council. Usually, delegated powers are shared between the mayor and DG. Unfortunately, Hudson’s mayor is unavailable.

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