The Hudson Common Council voted Tuesday to dismiss the recommendation to censure council member Joyce Hall following a statement she made at the meeting.
“I publicly apologize to John Kraft for the hasty manner in which I objected to Mr. Kraft’s nomination without documented evidence with me,” she said.
A committee of Hudson Common Council members sat as the Ethics Committee and met on Jan. 13. They voted to recommend censure of their colleague for comments made at a Dec. 6 meeting about John Kraft, former St. Croix County Republican Party chairman.
After the council voted to dismiss the censure, council members discussed ways to move forward and improve relations among the council.
Council members Bill Alms and Sarah Bruch requested discussion at the next council meeting.
Alms spoke with a colleague of City Attorney Nick Vivian who has expertise in council mediation. Alms proposed a discussion be placed on the next agenda about ways in which the council could participate in an activity to promote camaraderie.
Bruch proposed a similar concept, hoping to coordinate a trip to the local food bank to volunteer as a council.
In the Jan. 13 Ethics Committee meeting, Bruch said that the term “impartiality” used in the ethics code seems an impossible standard, implying no one be biased in any way toward any decision. Following up on that, Bruch called for a review of the ethics code and complaint process, which she asked to be added to a subsequent council meeting.
Bob Staebell retired after 13 years of service with the Police and Fire Commission. Mayor Rich O’Connor thanked him for his work in the community.
Council approved the appointment of Brian Wells to the Hudson Area Joint Library Board.
Storm damage repairs
Last fall, a severe storm ravaged Hudson, causing extreme damage, particular to the Hudson Area Public Library. The bandshell and bath house on the St. Croix River also were damaged in the storm’s wake.
Starting in May, and potentially earlier depending on when supplies are procured, construction will start to repair the city-owned structures. Work should be completed by fall 2022.
The library will take the longest and will be a top priority. During the construction period, closures of the building may be in order but will be kept as minimal as possible.
The library reopened its doors to patrons on Jan. 4 after being closed for more than three months because of storm damage.
Repairs from the Sept. 17 storm haven’t begun, but library staff sought a temporary solution to get patrons back in the building.
After the books and carpets were cleaned, a crew built a barrier across the children’s area. Patrons can now access the rest of the building and request items from the children’s collection.
Storytimes also returned to the library, but they’ll be held in the lobby instead of the storyroom. Bins of children’s books are displayed in the lobby so kids can browse some of their favorite books.
The windstorm sprayed glass shards throughout the building, prompting concerns that even a thorough cleaning couldn’t assure the carpet in the children’s department would be free of glass. The temporary barrier seals off the children’s area until the carpet is replaced.
Fiscal recovery funds update
The federal government released final guidance last week on the COVID-19 fiscal recovery funds. City Administrator Aaron Reeves provided the council with an update on one of the biggest changes.
The final guidance allows the city to take a standard revenue loss of up to $10 million. If the city chooses this standard amount, all of the roughly $1.5 million can be used for any government services with greatly reduced reporting requirements.
Staff recommend to the council in the near future to accept the standard deduction amount.
Staff will also outline funding priorities and present them to the Finance Committee for further discussion and guidance.
Council will then vote on where funds will be allocated.
Zoning code update
The Community Development Department is preparing to update the Hudson zoning code and is looking for a consultant to help take on the extensive project. The council approved moving forward with a request for proposals.
The following are outlined as some of what will be updated:
Landscaping and green infrastructure.
St. Croix Scenic Riverway.
Permitted and conditional uses.