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Community grant program will continue, but unfunded

The city of Hudson will continue a grant program for community events and activities, but without funding it for now.

The issue came before the City Council Monday night, with four of the five alderpersons present voting to continue the program. Alderperson Randy Morrissette II voted no. Alderperson John Hoggatt was absent.

The small program has been funded with room tax dollars. When the council approved its room tax revenue budget for 2013, it moved grants for The Phipps Center for the Arts and the Hudson Hot Air Affair celebration out of the program and into the regular city tourism and beautification funding.

The Hot Air Affair got $2,000 and The Phipps Center will receive $1,000 this year.

Mayor Alan Burchill asked if the council wanted to continue the program even though it hasn't been funded for this year.

Alderperson Lori Bernard, whose idea it was to start the grant program, wanted it to continue.

She said it was formed to take the politics out of disbursing funds to city organizations. A committee of citizens decides which grant applications to fund.

Bernard acknowledged that only two community organizations applied for a grant in 2012, and no group has yet in 2013.

"The reality is we didn't choose to fund it. That's why nobody applied," she said.

City Administrator Devin Willi said the city would advertise the availability of grant funds should the council decide to appropriate money for the program.

He said there were seven applications for funding the first year of the program, and five applications the second year.

In the Finance Committee meeting that preceded the council meeting, Finance Officer Neil Soltis reported that the room tax fund has $26,668 currently not spoken for.

Committee member Randy Morrissette II moved to add $5,000 to spending for the Fourth of July fireworks display, which would have brought the total to $15,000. He also moved to discontinue the community grant program. Both motions died for lack of a second.

Bernard suggested using some of the surplus funds for other city needs, such as replacing deteriorated trash bins in the downtown.

The room tax budget for 2013 is $155,000, of which the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau will receive 70 percent for operating the city's tourism promotion program.

The total room tax revenue for 2012 was $165,323, a 10.1 percent increase from the $150,045 collected in 2011.

Other action

In other action Monday night, the council:

  • Approved the final plat for 66 new townhouse units in the Red Cedar Canyon planned residential development. A spokesman for Hans Hagen Homes said the townhouses will be rental units owned by the builder.
  • Granted Bernie Rodel, 2420 Foxglove Circle, a conditional use permit to enclose and extend the rear porch of his townhouse unit into the normal rear yard setback area. The porch will be 19 feet from the property line. Rodel's townhouse is next to a city stormwater pond.
  • Approved Xiaolin Tan as the agent for the Dragon Pearl restaurant's beer and wine license.

  • Randy Hanson

    Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

    (715) 426-1066