Good news – no tax increase; bad news – snow woes
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
Town employees were out in force this week clearing the massive mounds of snow that have built up in Hudson recent weeks and trucking them to the dump on Wharf Road behind the train station. Demolishing what looked like a giant iceberg some 30 feet high behind the Hudson War Memorial Library on Elm, Stephen Nikolaiczuk, cleared the way for easy access to the Post Office on Oakland.
Hudson’s 2018 budget will be presented at a special council meeting on Monday, January 29. Mayor Jamie Nicholls made the announcement during his opening remarks at the regular council meeting held Monday, January 15.
Keeping election campaign promises
Nicholls said he intends to keep his election campaign promise to not increase municipal taxes. Referring to the recent media attention following property tax increases that some say broke election promises made by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, “This is not a headline that Hudson wants.”
Resident Eva McCartney asked the mayor who was responsible for creating the budget. Nicholls responded budget planning comes under the purview of the Director General who takes into consideration the vision of the council and the needs of the town. He said that council had received a draft budget on Friday, December 15 and that a meeting to discuss the third draft was scheduled for later in the week.
“This will be a budget that is responsible and reflects the values of Hudson,” said Nicholls.
Commercial water and sewage rates
Business owner Katie Shaar asked council how they intend to handle the water and sewage rates levied on Hudson business owners. She said the results of a comparative review of similar taxes in neighbouring communities carried out by Hudson businesses showed a substantial difference in rates.
“For example, the pharmacy in Hudson is paying $2500 for water and in neighbouring towns they are paying $200,” said Shaar. The mayor said council and the Treasury Department are discussing the issue and the interests of the Hudson business community are being seriously considered.
Presentation of committees
A presentation of the organization and hierarchy of Hudson town council committees was made by Communication Coordinator Annie-Pier Gorup. The presentation defined the committees as being responsible for studying files in-depth and making recommendations to council for further action. As the presentation was in French, council agreed with citizens’ request to provide the information in English.
Reorganizing Public Works Department
Council approved a meeting of the Procedures and Practices Committee on Tuesday, February 13 to provide for the re-engineering of the Public Works Department taking into account public infrastructure, water treatment, inventories of fixed installations, rolling stock, buildings, and road operations. According to the preamble of the motion, the reorganization was prompted by the recent departure of Grants and Loans Coordinator Simon Corriveau who also took responsibility for the water treatment department.
Snow removal woes
Resident Pierre Bouchard asked about the snow removal process following the recent heavy snowfall saying Westwood Crescent appeared to not have been cleared up to that point. The mayor said he appreciated receiving the reports regarding snow removal and communicated the information to the Public Works Department. “We have been spoiled in Hudson,” said Nicholls referring to the fact that the previous contractor had been responsible for snow removal for about 10 years. “They knew the town really well,” he said, adding council was carefully monitoring the situation and considering the direction to take regarding snow removal in the future.
Publishing public notices
Council passed a Notice of Motion for By-Law 699-2018 establishing the terms of publication of public notices. Although the proposed by-law states that future public notices will only be published on the town’s website and social media pages, the mayor emphasized that the project was under discussion and not final.
“Not everyone goes to the town website or social media for information,” said resident June Penney during the second question period. She said the local newspaper was the source of information for many people, especially seniors. The mayor said the expense of publishing Notices of Motion in English and French media was also an issue. For the moment, the town will continue to publish public notices in print. The proposed by-law is in response to Bill 122 passed by the Quebec government in 2017 that came into effect on Monday, January 1, 2018.