Happy Earth Day, Hudson!

City of Hudson takes the Pledge and becomes part of NYS Climate Smart Communities!

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on obtaining grant money for Electric Charging stations and making Hudson part of the NYS Climate Smart Communities. Two resolutions came before the Common Council last week – overshadowed by other business.

The Electric Vehicle Charger grants (totaling about $45K), available via ChargeNY   and National Grid enable local municipalities to install electric car charging stations. Similar to the Village of Lake George, the City of Hudson plans to charge $1.75/hour for vehicle charging. Grant money for these stations is offered for a limited time – there’s a pool of money, that is depleted as other municipalities apply. The charging stations, once installed, will be added into a charging “grid” and smartphone app. People driving through will know that they are there, and can stop and charge while having lunch, dinner, or walking on Warren Street. This will also be an added benefit for renters who have electric cars, who are unable to set up charging stations at home.

Last week, I parked next to an all-electric Chevy Bolt in the Aldi parking lot on Fairview. Within the next couple of years, we will see more and more all-electric vehicles on the road as car manufacturers roll out electric options.

The Hudson charging stations, to be paid for and installed with grant funds, will be installed behind City Hall at no cost to the city, and any funds collected, above a base yearly maintenance cost, will be added into the City’s General Fund.  I submitted all of the paperwork on behalf of the  City and hope that we qualify.

Additionally last week, and with a potentially larger impact, the City of Hudson took the Pledge – to become one of New York State’s Climate Smart Communities.

From the Climate Smart fact sheet: The Climate Smart Communities Grant Program is a competitive 50/50 matching grant program for municipalities. The program funds climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and includes support. Climate Smart Communities Grant Program is administered through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

On Friday, April 19, I attended the Capital Region Climate Smart Workshop at the Guiderland Public Library to find out more about the program and grants available.

Me, talking with my hands, explaining to other Climate Smart Communities that the City of the Hudson just took the pledge!

In 2017, through the Climate Smart grants, the City of Kingston received $750,000 for the Design and Construction of Franklin Street Complete Streets Features. This funding enabled Kingston to design and construct new sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, and crosswalks along the entire length of Franklin Street.

In 2017, Sullivan County received $77,500 for an Organics Waste Management Plan. This enabled Sullivan County to hire and contract with a consulting engineering firm to conduct an organics composting facility and feasibility study.

Taking the Climate Smart Communities Pledge last week was the first step for Hudson, in a long grant process. The Pledge starts a point-based system and gives us access to the database, where we can document and upload our accomplishments. The more points a municipality receives, the better its chances for receiving grants. The Department of Environmental Conservation gives about $10M/year in Climate Smart (matching) grants throughout the state.

I’ve been Fourth Ward Alderman for a little over a year now. Last year, I completed the remaining High Impact Action Items for the Clean Energies Communities (a subgroup of Climate Smart) and the City will be receiving a grant of $35K for solar panels (location TBD) and funding for a residential incandescent to LED lightbulb exchange.

Within the year, I’ve attended three workshops throughout the state on solar energy, recycling, and Climate Smart Communities, networking with other government professionals. I’ve met and talked with officials from Scarsdale, NY on their composting program and now understand the logistics – what works, what doesn’t. A full scale, city-wide composting program is my goal for next year. This program will require a team/task effort and if you’re interested in being part, please let me know.

(My own personal goal, in my role as Alderman, is to bring in more funds to the City than my salary of approximately $5K/year. 🙂 With these two grants – $35K and $45K – I will have achieved that.)

Networking with other state officials at conferences proved to be very helpful – this is how I learned about the ChargeNY/Electric Vehicle grant! Someone I met at a conference said to me, “Oh, you should apply for that EV grant” and then sent me the link. I took this grant application into the City’s Economic Development Committee, filled out the forms and then sent out an RFP. We compared and decided the vendor, meet with them, and last week, wrote out the resolution for the City to move forward with the grant application and contract.

In the past year, this folks, is how I’ve learned government works – or, at least, CAN work!

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