22 July 2009

Reaction to the announcement

Local officials pleased with plan to keep DSS in city
by Jamie Larson
Hudson Catskill Newspapers
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Hudson officials responded favorably to the news Tuesday that the County Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer, R-Hillsdale, and Hudson Mayor Richard Scalera have reached an agreement to keep the Department of Social Services in Hudson after moths of sometimes contentious disagreement. The county had originally passed a proposal to move DSS out of the city to the old Ockawamick school building in Claverack.

While many details remain undecided, the proposal on the table, announced at a press conference at the 401 State Street county office building, would move county government offices to the One City Centre building, leaving the current 401 and 610 State Street county buildings open for potential DSS locations when the lease on the current facility on Railroad Avenue expires. Other options for DSS locations are also being considered, but to the delight of many in Hudson those options are also located within the city.

“I applaud Chairmen Baer and all those involved in the process,” Scalera said at press conference, standing beside Baer, “We are very excited that we will be sitting at the table.”

When the Ockawamick move was announced in the fall of 2008 an opposition to the plan sprung up immediately. Hudson politicians and citizens argued that DSS deserved to stay in Hudson as the city is the “county seat,” where all other major agencies are, and because such a high percentage of those in need of services live in or around the city.

Local activist, and Hudson Bottom Line Party founder, Linda Mussmann organized rallies and events to get Hudson residents out protesting the plan, and was pleased with the new county position.

Mussmann was still cautious at the press conference however, and asked Baer if the Board of Supervisors would keep looking for options for DSS in Hudson if the One City Centre plan didn’t pan out. Baer said that they would. Mussmann thanked them, saying she doesn’t enjoy the job of holding signs outside of government meetings, adding, “It’s nice to be a part of the process, and we look forward to working with you.”

Mayor Scalera thanked her. “I’m a true optimist, but don't put away those signs yet,” Scalera said, soliciting a slight grimace from Baer, standing to his left at the podium.

“They’re in the truck,” she said.

After the press conference Hudson Supervisor Rev. Edward Cross, D-2nd Ward, said he thanked Mussmann for all she did to get people behind the issue. He also thanked the supervisors who worked behind the scenes to put the new deal on the table after so much infighting on the issue. “We put down the swords and opened our ears,” he said, “I’ve never seen the board work so hard to accomplish something. It’s a very good day in the neighborhood.”

Fellow Hudson Supervisor William Hughes, D-4th Ward, said he was proud of the supervisors for their new position and happy for the people they represent. “Its been a long road,” Hughes said, “I’m glad to see there was an idea we could all go forward with and we can smooth out what was a contentious relationship. I think the city and the county needs that to move forward.”

No comments:

Post a Comment