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Results of DRI vote not public

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Hudson was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Capital region in 2017.
March 12, 2018 11:45 pm

HUDSON — Results of a vote to recommend $10 million in projects for downtown development remain under wraps, but according to the state Department of State’s Committee on Open Government, the vote does not have to be made public.

Local planning committee members for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Hudson decided March 1 that the vote to distribute the $10 million in public funds would not be an open session.

But the Local Planning Committee is not subject to the Open Meetings Law, a representative for the Committee for Open Government said Monday.

Committee members were expected to review the list of recommended projects for funding and submit their approvals individually to Stantec, the project consultant, by the Monday deadline. Committee members were asked to vote a second time by Friday.

This time, three projects put forth by the Galvan Foundation were removed from the application. Votes were due by Friday. The results of that vote have not been made public.

Members of the local planning committee, which is made up of community leaders and business owners, were appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Office last September. Several members have declined to say how they voted.

Steve Kearney, Stantec senior associate and planner, and Local Planning Committee co-chair Tiffany Martin Hamilton have said Downtown Revitalization Initiative press inquiries are being handled by the state Department of State press office.

“The Hudson DRI LPC (Local Planning Committee) continues its deliberations on a plan. All 10 DRI regions’ plans are close to completion,” Lee Park, director of Communications with the state’s State Department of State, said Monday in an emailed statement. “When they are finalized, they will be made available to the public.”

Local planning committee members are making recommendations for a list of projects to be approved, but they don’t have the authority to make final decisions. Therefore, their votes do not have to be public, Kristin O’Neil, assistant director for the state’s Committee on Open Government said.

“Based on our review — the committee of open government’s review — they appear to not qualify as a public body that would be subject to the open meetings law,” O’Neil said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.