News from Town Hall
Hillsdale is a caring community. This was most recently exemplified in a call I received a few weeks ago from two concerned persons who prefer to remain anonymous offering to contribute $10,000 to help Hillsdale residents in need to cope with rising gas prices. Following this initial call, the Hillsdale Economic and Community Development Corporation (HECDC) Board of Directors accepted this generous contribution and created a plan to purchase $100 gift cards from our two local gas stations, and set about the task of distributing them according to guidelines that appear in a separate article below. I’m grateful to the HECDC Board and to Tom Carty in particular for their dedicated efforts to offer a helping hand. The response has been enthusiastic, and is perhaps best exemplified by a young woman burdened by the high cost of commuting who expressed the hope to repay this kindness when her circumstances improve in order to help others. This is the Hillsdale I know and love.
At this writing, the Town is seeking to appoint a bookkeeper, a grant writer and a Town Engineer. These are all positions designed to create greater effectiveness, accountability and forward momentum as we work to plan and implement a range of major projects.
And at its April 12 meeting, the Town Board will consider the long standing and difficult issue of the Sewer District debt that must be repaid to Hillsdale taxpayers. Our Town has always risen to the occasion, and I am confident that, by working together, we will be able to address this issue in as equitable a manner as possible as required by the State Comptroller.
I hope you are enjoying the early snowdrops and crocuses that are appearing in our gardens as a sure sign that spring is finally taking hold. I also wish you continuing good health and safety as the pandemic recedes, at least for now.

Chris Kersten
Town Supervisor
April Town Board Meeting on Zoom
The April Town Board meeting will be held on Zoom. For the two Public Comment sessions during the meeting the Zoom moderator will ask attendees if they want to be unmuted in order to make a comment or ask a question. Zoom attendees will be muted at all other times.
Town of Hillsdale April Town Board Meeting
Time: Tuesday April 12, 7:00 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 869 2782 2741
COVID Update
As of Thursday the 31st, there were 38 active cases, with four county residents hospitalized, none of them in the ICU. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 11,260 cases in the county and 141 deaths. As of the 25th the daily positive test rate was 5.2%.

According to the new CDC COVID-19 Community Level tool, Columbia County's level is "low". Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
Gas Cards Available for Town Residents in Need
Thanks to a gift from anonymous donors, the Hillsdale Economic Community Development (HECDC) Corporation is distributing $100 gas cards to Hillsdale residents in need. To apply for one of the cards, send an email to and provide your name, address, phone number, email and a short description of your need for the card.  The number of cards is limited. Only one card will be given to a household and they will only be given to Hillsdale residents. The cards will be awarded on a first come, first served basis until all of the cards have been given out. If you do not have access to email, call HECDC member Tom Carty at 518 325-5260 to request a card.
Easter Egg Hunt Returns, Along with the Bunny!
Egg Hunt
A Hillsdale tradition is returning this year! The town's Easter Egg Hunt will once again be held on Palm Sunday, which is on April 10 this year. Children of all ages should bring baskets or other containers to the Hamlet Park at 12 noon and join the hunt for candy filled eggs as well as one special prize filled egg. And, they'll get to visit with the Easter Bunny, who has promised to attend!
Board to Discuss Sewer District Debt
At the March Town Board meeting, Supervisor Chris Kersten reported that the town’s CPA, Bob Patterson, in consultation with the town’s prior CPA, Nelson Furlano, has determined that the Sewer District owes the town a significant sum. Since 2008 the town has made multiple payments to cover expenses incurred by the Sewer District that were greater than the district's revenue. The accountants’ determination of the amount of the debt is based on publicly reported numbers that were approved by the Board over the last 14 years and filed with the State. The findings have been explained in emails and documents that have been shared with the Board.

At the April 12 meeting the Board will discuss the matter and decide on actions to be taken. Details of the debt will be posted on the Agendas & Minutes page of the town website prior to the meeting.

Kersten also reported that the sewer plant continues to operate normally, at about one-third capacity.
Of Note.....
Hillsdale’s Summer Youth Program is now accepting applications for both campers (aged 5-13) and counselors for this summer. This year the program will start on Monday, July 11 and run through Friday, August 19. Applications can be found on the Hillsdale web site or can be obtained at Town Hall .
A public meeting to review the Anthony, Coldwater and Maple Streetscape Project and plans for sidewalks will be held at Town Hall at 3 pm on Thursday, April 21.


At their March meeting the Town Board decided to create the position of bookkeeper. The bookkeeper will use QuickBooks to work on bills, deposits and payroll. This position will be part-time at seven hours per week. If interested in the position contact the town clerk at 518 325-5073, ext. 5 for more information.


Free KN95 masks and COVID test kits are still available for pick-up from the Town Clerk, Monday – Friday, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM or by appointment.


As a result of over two years of work and the passage of a new law, all of Hillsdale’s local laws are now online in a database at eCode360. To access the laws, type ecode360/HI4009 into the search bar of an internet search engine and you will be taken to the Hillsdale page. There you can search by using the index on the left side of the page or you can use the search bar at the top of the page. Any new law that has not yet been added to the database can be found by clicking on New Laws on the left side of the screen. If you have any problems using eCode call Town Board member Tom Carty at 518 325-5260.

New York State’s annual brush burning ban is in effect through May 14.
Open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in NYS. Since the spring burn ban was implemented in 2009, the number of wildfires has decreased by more than 40%. Burning trash is illegal statewide in all cases as is burning loose leaves or leaf piles.
Town Committees Looking for New Members
Much of the important work of Hillsdale is done by the volunteer members of town committees. They plan community events, promote Hillsdale as an excellent place to do business, provide support and services for seniors and much more. Four of the committees are currently looking for new members. If you interested in a particular project, have skills and talents to share or just want to give back, consider joining a committee.

Housing Committee
The Housing Committee was formed to preserve the unique character, culture and economic vitality of our community by ensuring that it welcomes and supports a diverse population, representative of every income level. Toward that goal, the Committee is committed to preserving and increasing opportunities for low and middle-income individuals, couples and families to make Hillsdale their permanent home.

Currently the committee is exploring the possibility of developing “workforce” rental housing in Hillsdale. They would welcome Hillsdale residents who have an interest in housing, development, and/or an inclusive community to join the committee. Call Janis Smythe at 518 325-4223. The committee meets on an ad hoc basis.

Previous accomplishments include:
  • Held a public forum on “issues and solutions” for affordable housing in Hillsdale
  • Conducted a Housing Needs Study
  • Proposed zoning changes to enhance Accessory Housing regulations that were passed by the Town Board
  • Created an Accessory Housing brochure
  • Held a Housing Fair attended by over 100 local residents and vendors
  • Created a “Guide to Housing Resources in Hillsdale/Roe Jan Area”
  • Collaborated with Habitat for Humanity in seeking land for creating new housing or rehabilitating existing housing
Hamlet Committee
Hillsdale’s Hamlet Committee organizes events and pursues projects designed to help improve Hillsdale and unify the different groups within it.

On Saturday May 7 the committee will hold “I Love My Park” day, for which they are seeking volunteers willing to spend an hour or two helping to clean up parks and public areas in and around the Hamlet. They are also pursuing various civic improvement projects, such as the Town’s plan for the Hamlet Park renovation; lobbying for better traffic speed control; and improved signage.

The committee would welcome new members who enjoys pursuing projects that make our town a better place to live, work and visit. If you’d like to know more, have a suggestion, or are interested in getting involved in any of these events, contact Hamlet Committee Chair Toby Butterfield at

Recent projects include:
  • Revived and promoted the Flea Market
  • Present the Pumpkin Festival each October
  • Created the “Jams in the Hamlet” concert series and the Hillsdale Car Show
Safe at Home Committee
The Safe at Home Committee is made up of Hillsdale residents who care about seniors and their ability to remain safely at home. The committee identifies seniors and caregivers; introduces them to each other and to county resources; continuously assesses their needs; maintains communication; and develops and manages programs, especially for low income seniors.

The committee is planning a second Senior Chore Services Day to be held in the fall and a workshop which will provide expert advice about home improvements that will enhance seniors’ physical safety in their homes. In addition, the Home Repair and Maintenance Resource Guide, which identifies seasonal maintenance chores, and lists 59 local contractors, service providers, and handy persons, is being updated.

With the goal of engaging and informing seniors, the committee distributes a quarterly letter, UpDates, which provides information about local resources such as transportation, health care, social events, food programs, etc.

Anyone with energy and creativity who is interested in serving seniors in the community is welcome to join the committee. Call Joyce Lapenn at 518 325-1655. The committee meets monthly. 

Other projects include:
  • Published a Resource Guide to Social Services to acquaint seniors with the services available in the county
  • Surveyed Hillsdale residents twice to identify and respond to their specific, expressed needs
  • Hosted a workshop to introduce seniors to governmental and non-profit service providers
  • Initiated monthly Coffee Hours that brought seniors together in a social environment, with guest speakers to address relevant issues 
  • Collaborated with the Columbia County Department of Health’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program and offered Hillsdale residents free safety and health products including a carbon monoxide detector as well as buckets of sand, winter gloves and an important guide, “Stay Safe in Cold Weather!”
Economic Development Committee
The mission of the Economic Development Committee is to promote Hillsdale as a dynamic environment in which to do business. The committee pursues its mission by helping to implement the goals of the Comprehensive Plan and the Hillsdale Branding and Marketing Plan.

Current projects including placing “Welcome to Hillsdale” signs at the eastern entrance to the Town on Route 23, and at the town lines in Harlemville and Green River; providing assistance to town committees seeking grants for projects such as the revitalization of the Hamlet Park, new sidewalks on Anthony and Coldwater Streets, repointing the brickwork on the Town Hall, replacement of the West End Road bridge and building a new salt shed for the Highway Department; and providing ongoing support to town committees pursuing their missions.

Anyone interested in serving on the Economic Development Committee should send an email to Committee Chair Tom Carty at
Recent activities include:
  • A town wide competition to design a new town seal
  • Civic pride fundraising – Developed new town website pages and associated communications which encourage people to make donations for initiatives, such as a new Town Hall flagpole, re-pointing Town Hall brickwork, plaques for historic district buildings, and support for the Roe Jan Park
  • Developed a robust presence for the town on social media platforms
  • Developed a plan to have a local artist design a 10’ x 16’ way-finding mural on the Hillsdale Supermarket
Why Does the Salamander Cross the Road?
Chances are you have had the experience of driving on a rainy spring night and seeing frogs hopping across roads by the thousands. Salamanders are crossing too, although they are less visible from a moving car. You are witnessing the spring migrations of amphibians to and from their breeding habitats. Wood frogs, spring peepers, American toads, and several
species of salamanders spend most of their lives in upland forests, but they use wetlands and ponds for mating, egg deposition, and nursery habitats in the spring, typically from about mid-March through April or May. Many have to cross roads to get there.
When the amphibians cross roads in their travels, they are very vulnerable to being killed by vehicles. As a result, large numbers die during these spring migrations. A stretch of road that lies between a forest and a breeding pool can have large concentrations of migrating amphibians, whose populations may have been using those travel routes for centuries.
A program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation enlists and trains volunteers to monitor selected road segments on rainy spring nights to help amphibians cross safely and to record their observations. “We encourage anyone interested in helping the migrating amphibians to take advantage of the information and training available on the NYSDEC Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings web page,” says Gretchen Stevens of Hillsdale’s Conservation Advisory Council. “You can adopt a road segment in Hillsdale where you have noticed large numbers of amphibians trying to cross.”
A training webinar and a volunteer handbook on the DEC web page provide detailed instructions, including how to handle amphibians without harming them, and how to stay safe on roadways on rainy nights when the visibility for drivers is low. Reflective vests, rain gear, flashlights, and headlamps are essential. This work should not be done on busy roads such as Routes 22 or 23. “With training and, very importantly, close supervision from adults, aiding these amphibians can be a wonderful activity for children,” says Stevens.
What else can you do? The animals are hard to dodge even if you drive slowly, so try to avoid driving at all on rainy spring nights.
Library's Digital Navigators Help With Digital Access and Skills
The Roeliff Jansen Community Library now has Digital Navigators available five days a week to help community members with accessing affordable broadband internet and affordable and appropriate devices, as well as building their digital skills. This service, Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley, is designed to improve digital equity. It is completely free and is supported with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
To make an appointment call the library at 518 325-4101 and ask for one of the Digital Navigators. The Navigators are available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Program Offered for Caregivers
Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a free six-week, online educational program for family and friends who are caring for individuals with chronic conditions, is being offered by the Columbia County Office for the Aging. Classes will be held on Thursdays, 3:30 – 5:00 PM, April 28 through June 2 and will focus on providing caregivers with skills and confidence to better care for themselves while caring for others. Caregivers will also learn how to communicate their needs to family members and healthcare providers as well as how to communicate more effectively in challenging situations. Participants will receive a copy of The Caregiver Helpbook, which was developed specifically for the class. Space is limited. Call the OFA office at 518 828-4258 to register.
Upcoming Events in the Area
April programs at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library for adults include a poetry study group, meetings with Columbia-Greene Workforce NY, Exploring Color with Tia, a a documentary for Earth Day, the Kenn Morr Band in concert, and Balance and Strength classes for adults. For kids there will be story times, Lego Thursdays, an early learning and literacy program, and an Earth Day activity as well as Homeschool Wednesdays. The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.
The Roe Jan Library Friends Bookshop will be open on Saturday, April 2 from 10 AM to 2 PM. Thousands of gently used books, CD’s and DVD’s will be for sale. Masks are required. The bookshop is located on the lower level of the library at 9091 Rt. 22.

Save the Date - Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour, Saturday, September 17.
Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on Tuesday April 5 at 7:30 PM at the Town Hall to consider two applications:
  • An application by John Adams for an area variance to work within the Ridgeline Overlay District at 45 La Branche Road.
  • An application by James and Pamela Carden for the expansion of the limitations of their current special use permit at 2846 State Route 23.

The Planning Board will meet on Monday April 11, at 7:30 PM at the Town Hall. On the agenda are:
  • A public hearing to approve the application by Debra Adamsons Merrill to subdivide a lot on Hillsdale Neighbors Road.
  • An application by James Adams to review a site plan at 45 La Branche Road.
Agenda subject to change. Final agenda will be posted in the Events section on the home page of the Hillsdale website about a week before the meeting.

Safe at Home, Monday April 4, 1 PM at the North Hillsdale Methodist Church

Housing Committee, Saturday April 9, 10 AM at home of Ellen Levy, 66 White Hill Road

Hamlet Committee
Time: Monday April 11, 6 PM
Passcode: 601630
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 835 3295 5523

Open Space Project
Time: Thursday April 14, 7 PM
Passcode: 830727
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 898 9235 6493

Economic Development Committee
Time: Wednesday April 27, 11 AM
Passcode: 035113
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 867 2938 2239

Conservation Advisory Committee
Time: Thursday April 28, 7 PM
Passcode: 843709
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 833 0001 6859
Follow Hillsdale on our official Facebook and Instagram pages.
Have you seen the Hillsdale Business Directory? From plumbers to galleries, restaurants to inns, businesses have a lot to offer in Hillsdale. 

If you have a business located in Hillsdale you can add or edit your listing online.
Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley