Town of Hudson’s financial future rosier with latest independent audit
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Hudson resident Richard Grinnell asked council how many signatures his petition needs to have council hold a town-wide referendum on his suggestion to purchase the land at Sandy Beach.
Hudson’s financial future looks brighter according to Mayor Ed Prévost who was present for the monthly council meeting on Monday, October 4. “We have collected $471,000 in welcome tax to date,” he said in his commentary at the beginning of the meeting. Prévost emphasized this is good news for the town for two reasons: the amount exceeds budget expectations of $451,000 and real estate buyers are choosing Hudson. The mayor opted not to chair the meeting leaving that task to Pro-Mayor Deborah Woodhead. Prévost said he looks forward to chairing the next town council meeting in November.
Further positive financial news came in the form of the audited financial statement for 2015. “We have recouped most of the $1.7 million we inherited at the end of 2013,” said Councillor Ron Goldenberg in reference to the operating surplus of $1,089,833 for 2015 and a cumulative deficit of $134, 312. He reminded everyone of the how that deficit attracted the attention of the Ministère d’affaires municipales et Occupation du territoire (MAMOT) and the ensuing budget cuts, budget rules and monitoring processes that were put in place. “We hope to have the 2016 budget audited and presented by next spring (2017),” he added. Goldenberg forecasted smaller surpluses for the future noting administrative and other positions needed to be filled.
The 2015 independent audit was carried out by the accounting firm Goudreau Poirier. In their preface to the document, the auditors expressed an unfavorable opinion of the consolidated financial statement for the year 2015. “This is for non-conformities in prior financial statements that occurred before 2014 that have not been cleared up with the government of Québec,” said Goldenberg in an interview following the meeting. “We believe they will be cleared up once we have an audience with them.”
Council passed a proposal concerning the conservation plan presented at a public information meeting on Tuesday, August 23, that all the comments, suggestions and ideas received to date will be taken into consideration and that a final public consultation will take place in both English and French. During the first question period, resident Daniel Gautier asked council if they were willing to explore the possibilities and various aspects of preserving the waterfront property bordering the Ottawa River from Jack Layton Park to Sandy Beach. Gautier added he and resident Bill Nash are working together on the project. Woodhead replied council welcomed their input.
Resident Richard Grinnell wants the town to hold a referendum as to whether or not residents are willing to use town money to purchase the waterfront property in question. “How many signatures do I need on my petition to have the town hold a referendum?” he asked. According to Grinnell, he has already gathered about 200 signatures. “About 500 would be great,” replied Woodhouse. “I’m keeping at it until we hold a referendum,” said Grinnell.
In other urban planning business, council approved a proposal that starts the official process of changing zoning and urban planning by-laws to accommodate the subdivision of 12 lots on Mayfair Street in the Hudson Valleys development. The proposed changes will permit the construction of semi-detached dwellings with certain conditions attached such as the maintenance of buffer zones and that changes be made to a dangerous curve on Mayfair Street. Several residents raised questions and objections as to the feasibility of the project. Woodhead pointed out the process of changing the by-law included public consultation and the possibility of a referendum. The proposed subdividing of the lots was previously brought to council in November, 2014, and was included in an omnibus proposal in 2015 that was never approved.
Street paving and road repair in Hudson has been put on hold until a citizen’s complaint filed with MAMOT can be resolved. Council approved a loan by-law for $1,500,000 for the roads project at the Tuesday, September 6, meeting. According to Goldenberg, the by-law won’t receive provincial approval in time for work to begin in 2016. Director General Jean-Pierre Roy said the subject of the complaint is that the town did not seek the approval of the owners of private roads in Hudson before passing the loan by-law.