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News From Town Hall

Town Board Approves Plan

 to Pay Off Sewer Debt

Dear Hillsdale,

One of my first acts upon assuming office as Supervisor was to engage in an initial review of our Sewer District finances. I found a system deeply in debt and pursuing a plan to expand capacity, although it was (and is) consistently operating at one-third capacity. These expansion plans led to significant debt in 2019 and 2020 in addition to a historic debt to the Town. Upon completion of my review, I pushed the pause button on expansion plans, thus halting the expenses associated with that effort. Also at that time, we began to work on a review of EDU rates (fees paid by users of the system) to ensure that users were assessed correctly. As a result of these steps, instead of significant losses such as been incurred in 2019 and 2020, fiscal year 2022 ended with a surplus of approximately $18,000 that helped the bottom line significantly but did not resolve the debt issue.

This led the Town Board to engage with our accountant to conduct a detailed review of the District’s finances from 2014 to 2020 that resulted in a Report of Agreed Upon Procedures. This report revealed an accumulated debt of $186,922 that must be repaid to the Town as prescribed by the Office of the Comptroller. The report is posted on the Town’s website and was accepted by the Town Board at its October 2022 meeting.

Once the debt was determined and agreed upon, I engaged our legal counsel to work with us to explore ways to repay this debt to the Town while keeping the impact on the sewer system users very much in mind. Over a period of months we explored options and determined that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds could and should be transferred to the District as part of the solution.

Finally, at its March 21, 2023 meeting, the Town Board adopted two Resolutions (also available on the Town’s website): (1) a Resolution Authorizing the Transfer of ARPA Funds to the Sewer District to provide the District with funding assistance for government services in the form of operational expenses; and (2) a Resolution Requiring the Sewer District to Repay Funds Loaned to it by the Town and establishing a payment schedule for same. In addition to these resolutions, the Town Board also voted to increase the annual EDU rate by five percent to generate additional income to address the debt and rising system maintenance expenses.

Investing ARPA funds in the Sewer District is good for Hillsdale because a vibrant Hamlet contributes to the wellbeing of the entire town. And requiring the Sewer District to repay those funds loaned to it by the Town is an important bit of municipal housekeeping done.

The resolution of this debt to the Town of Hillsdale has been one of our foremost priorities over the past several years, and its outcome is gratifying. I believe the solution is about as fair and equitable as possible given the realities of the accumulated debt.

The Town is particularly indebted to Robert Patterson, CPA and Matthew Cabral, Esq. for their insightful and diligent professional contributions as we worked toward a solution.

My best to you and your loved ones for joyous Easter and Passover observances.

Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

April Town Board Meeting

The April Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, April 11. The meeting will be held in person at Town Hall at 7 PM and will also be available on Zoom using the videoconferencing equipment recently installed in Town Hall.


Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 826 2336 5260

The March meeting could not be accessed via Zoom because the Town Hall had no internet service as a result of a wire being pulled down during the snow storm.

Documents that will be referred to at the town board meeting will be posted on the Agendas & Minutes page of the town website a few days before the meeting. Minutes of previous Town Board meetings are posted on the Town Board page. 

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board

Palm Sunday Brunch and Easter Egg Hunt April 2

Egg Hunt

The Hillsdale Fire Company's Palm Sunday brunch is back this year on April 2 from 8 AM to 1 PM. The menu will include cornbread; French toast; plain, blueberry, and chocolate chip pancakes; scrambled eggs; home fries; hash; sausage; and bacon. Orange juice, coffee and tea will be served. There will also be a bake sale and the traditional raffle. Brunch is $18 for adults and children 10 and over. For children under 10 the cost is $12.

The annual Easter Egg Hunt where there will be 400+ candy filled eggs to find, will take place in the Hamlet Park at 2 PM on the 2nd. One of the eggs will hold a special surprise prize. The Easter Bunny will be visiting. Rain date for the Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 8.

Registration is Open for

Summer Rec Program  at Roe Jan Park

Hillsdale’s Summer Recreation Program, which takes advantage of its location in Roe Jan Park with a focus on the outdoors and environmental education, will run this year from July 10 - August 18, Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Registration in now open and will be until May 1. Registration forms are available on the town website (link below) and at Town Hall. Hillsdale residents and former campers are given first priority.

Campers can be aged five to 13 years old. Five-year-olds must have completed kindergarten and campers who are 13 years old must be a previous camper, director approved, and no older than 13 on July 1.

Applications for counselors and counselors-in-training are also available online.

For information, contact camp director Joe Raco at [email protected].

Summer Rec Program Applications

HECDC to Accept Tax-Deductible Donations

 for Hillsdale's Blessing Box

Donations to the Blessing Box, the 24/7 little pantry in the parking lot of the Hillsdale Methodist Church for emergency use by Hillsdale residents, can now be made to an account held by the Hillsdale Economic Community Development Corporation. Because the HECDC is a 501 (c) 3 organization, such donations will be tax-deductible. The HECDC is waiving the administrative fee that usually applies to donations made through them and will send a confirmation to all donors.

Community members regularly help by stocking the box and are the primary source of items in the box but the new arrangement with the HECDC makes it easier for those who prefer to make a monetary donation. Hillsdale resident Rene Gibson, who set up the Blessing Box at the request of a resident who wanted to help others, will use the donations to purchase supplies for the box. Donations can still be made to the Blessing Box account at the Hillsdale Supermarket but these donations will not be tax-deductible.

Donations through HECDC can be made by check and mailed to Box 305 in Hillsdale or online by credit card via the link below.

Those wishing to donate items can bring canned, jarred, and dried goods. Frozen and perishable food can be left in the cooler. Toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning products and personal care items can also be left in the box.

The HECDC is committed to supporting Hillsdale-based projects that enhance the quality of life for town residents.

For more information about the Blessing Box contact Rene Gibson at (518) 755-2745.

HECDC Donation Page

NYS Makes Request for Approval to

Move East Gate Toll House

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has submitted a request to the National Park Service for permission to move the Columbia Turnpike East Tollhouse, an already listed resource.


The Tollhouse, located on the north side of State Route 23, about 1.6 miles from the traffic light in Hillsdale, is considered a rare and significant surviving building from New York State's turnpike era. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. This amendment proposes moving the building thirty feet away from the road to protect the building from traffic and road hazards. The Historic Preservation Board reviewed and approved the new location as similar in character to the original site. The move, which is spearheaded by the Friends of East Gate, would include and retain the building's original features, orientation, and historic interrelationship with the road.

The former Columbia Turnpike was an overland route between western Massachusetts and the Hudson River at Hudson that was active between 1799 and 1906. The wood-framed tollhouse was built to serve as a toll keeper's house and, until 1906, the building was fronted by a toll gate which could be raised and lowered to restrict movement of road traffic.

Friends of East Gate was formed in 2016 to raise money to stabilize, preserve and restore the historic East Gate Toll House. The organization's goal is to develop the building as an historic center and exhibit space that tells the story of how toll roads in general, and the Columbia Turnpike in particular, played a role in building a vital and robust early American economy.

Of Note.....

Columbia County's annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day will be Saturday April 29, from 8 AM to 12 PM at the Columbia County Fire Training Center in Columbia County Commerce Park at 50 Grandinetti Drive in Ghent. Reach it by turning on Bender Boulevard from Route 66. There is no charge for county residents but proof of residency will be required. Click below for a list of what you can and cannot bring.

Hazardous Waste Day Info


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Emergency Alerts


A free Rabies Clinic will be held Saturday April 1 at the Ancram Town Garage at 32 Maple Lane in Ancramdale. Cats and ferrets, which must be in carriers, will be vaccinated between 10 and 11 AM. Dogs, which must be on a leash, will be vaccinated between 11 AM and noon.


The purchase of a propane generator for the highway garage, along with a tank for the propane, was approved by the town board at the March meeting. Along with much of the town, the garage lost power during the recent snow storm and so could not pump gas for their trucks. Highway Superintendent Richard Briggs expressed his thanks to Copake Highway Superintendent Bill Gregory for leting the Hillsdale trucks fill up at the Copake highway garage. (Hillsdale did pay for the gas!)


Columbia County is holding four community listening sessions where anyone impacted by substance abuse disorder is welcome to share ideas and experiences. There will be free dinner and raffles and Narcan and fentanyl test strips will be available. Click link for dates and locations.

Substance Abuse Listening Sessions

Safe at Home Coffee Hour Discussion

 to Focus on Impacts of Ageism

A lively interactive discussion of how our not-always positive beliefs about aging determine how long and well we live will be the focus of the April Safe at Home Coffee Hour. The discussion will be based on research by Becca Levy and her resulting book, Breaking the Age Code. Phyllis Segal, who has spent many years working to change cultural expectations for the years beyond 50 and expand the contributions of older people, will lead the discussion. Segal is a senior fellow at CoGenerate where she has advanced and initiated many groundbreaking initiatives, with a focus on solutions. Hillsdale seniors, neighbors and near seniors are invited to the Coffee Hour which will be at Hillsdale House on Tuesday, April 25 from 10 -11:30 AM. In addition to the discussion, there will be coffee, refreshments, and camaraderie. If you need a ride or would like further information contact Natalie at 518 265-6789.

At every Coffee Hour, Safe at Home will have materials for participating in the Yellow Dot Program in collaboration with Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Yellow Dot is a free program designed to help first responders provide life-saving medical attention during that first “golden hour” after a vehicle crash or an emergency in your home. The Yellow Dot envelope contains medical information cards and Yellow Dot decals. Participants complete the cards, attach a recent photo, and place one in the glove compartment of their vehicle and one in the freezer of their refrigerator. One Yellow Dot decal is to be placed on the driver’s side rear window of their car and the other on the door of their home. First responders arriving at the scene of an emergency will be alerted by the Yellow Dot decal to look for the medical information card in the glove compartment or refrigerator freezer.

Safe at Home will also be distributing free “sharps containers” supplied by the Columbia County Health Department’s Project Needle Smart, a collection program for safe needle and syringe disposal. Used syringes and needles can be placed in the container and then containers can be dropped off at kiosk locations at the Hudson Police Department at 701a Union Street in Hudson or at Hannaford in Livingston and Valatie.

The Safe at Home Committee was awarded a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s Fund for Columbia County for $2,1950 to assess, update, print and distribute the Safe at Home Home Repair and Maintenance Resource Guide for seniors and caregivers. The Guide is part of the committee's overall mission to ensure that homes are safe in order to reduce falls and unnecessary hospitalizations and allow residents to age safely at home. The Guide will be available for distribution late this year or early next.

$500 More Needed for Hamlet Wayfinding Mural

The Economic Development Committee reports that mural that they have commissioned for for the wall of the Hillsdale Supermarket facing the center of the Hamlet will be completed this spring. The wayfinding mural will be an illustrated map of the Hillsdale Hamlet. By the mural will be a small kiosk for brochures that will list the businesses in the Hamlet. So far the Committee has raised $4,500 for the project, which is $500 short of the $5,000 cost. Those who would like to contribute to the painting of the mural can do so by donating through HECDC (Hillsdale Economic Community Development Corporation) at the link below. Several other fund raising projects are also listed. Scroll down to see the mural project. HECDC is a non-profit so donations are tax-deductible.

HECDC Donation Page

Two Town Committees Seek New Members

The Historic Hillsdale Committee and the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee are still looking for new members. Historic Hillsdale seeks to promote the preservation of the unique physical and social heritage of the town in order to protect and preserve that which gives Hillsdale its character and enhances our quality of life.

The Hamlet Committee sponsors events and works to improve the cohesiveness of the Hamlet of Hillsdale while fostering the development of a safe, attractive, accessible, and friendly town center in which Hamlet residents and businesses can flourish.

Contact Tom Carty by email at [email protected] or by phone at 518 325-5260 to find out more about being on one of these committees and to sign up.

Brush Burning Banned Through May 14

New York's annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning began March 16 and runs through May 14. Since 2009, DEC has enforced the annual brush burning ban to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened conditions for wildfires. Spring is when most wildfires occur. When temperatures warm and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily, further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed, as are small cooking fires. Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned. People should never leave these fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round in New York State.


RJCL Offers CPR Training, Poetry Month Events,

Museum Passes and More

Spaces are available in CPR certification classes at Roeliff Jansen Community Library. You can attend a four hour class on Thursday April 6 at 5:30 PM or Saturday, April 15 at 9 AM. There is a $40 fee for the class. Email [email protected] to register. Classes are limited to 12 participants.

To inspire your inner poet during April, which is National Poetry Month, the Library will once again be sharing daily prompts from local poet Jan Hutchinson. If you would like to receive these daily prompts by email, send your email address to [email protected]. To wrap things up, the Library will be cohosting a Poetry Open Mic with the Copake Grange. Date and time are to be determined. You can read your poetry or that of someone else. Contact Roberta Roll at [email protected] for more information.

Passes for free admission to 23 different art and cultural museums, historic mansions, working farms, a zoo, and most New York State Parks are available to Columbia County residents with a library account in good standing. This is is made possible by a generous grant from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation to the Columbia County Libraries Association.

Along with the popular Clark Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, and MASS MoCA, you can visit the Iroquois Museum in Howe Caverns, NY, the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and many more places. For more information and to reserve a pass go to the Free Museum Passes page of the library website.

RJCL Free Museum Passes

Adult programs at the Roe Jan Community Library in April include:

  • Back to Nature: Native Trees & Shrubs
  • History Webinar: Victory Gardens
  • Drawing with Lenny Titzer
  • Roe Jan Writers Series: Judy Staber, author of Rise Above It, Darling, a story of the theater and of mother-daughter relationships.
  • Offerings: Art Exhibition by Lynne Perrella
  • Tech Lab: Using Library Digital Services - Libby, E-Books, Audiobooks
  • Homegrown National Park: Movie and Panel Discussion
  • Book Marks Book Club: reading The New Possible: Visions of Our World Beyond Crisis
  • Cookbook Club: Cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's many cookbooks
  • Tea Time at the Library: listen, discuss, and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, and sometimes a fun activity. In April: Finances with Joel Roberts, CPA
  • Chess Club: All ages welcome
  • Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment; this tutoring program is intended primarily for adults
  • Strength & Balance Class on Zoom

For kids: Lego Thursdays, Home School Wednesdays, Playtime with Tia on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

Adult Programs at the RJCL
Kid's Programs at the RJCL

RJHS Hosts West Taghkanic Novelist

Maryann Proper Barto's mother, Elizabeth Proper, was the last of the Taghkanic basket makers. This gave Maryann the inspiration to write A Story from a Basket Maker’s Daughter: The Hill. Her family’s stories have been living history and enhanced her love for researching forgotten history to include in her writing. Maryann will read from and discuss her new novel on Sunday, April 23 at 2 PM at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society. The novel is set in a rustic village known as The Hill, whose members have depended upon one another for survival, fearing the consequences of their secrets and the changes around them. 


This admission free program will be at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society, 8 Miles Rd., Copake Falls. More details area available on the website.

Roeliff Jansen Historical Society

The Friends of the Roe Jan Library need help! Volunteers are wanted to help sort books and staff the Book Shop. Starting Saturday April 1 the Book Shop will be be open every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Book Shop is in need of all kinds of art, philosophy, history, nature, and fiction books. Donated books must be in excellent condition. Textbooks, CDs and DVDs are not accepted. To donate, email Celia Kahn at [email protected].

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, April 10 at 7 PM (in person only) to consider:

  • An application by Yakov Bindler, 20 Knox Road, re building a new house in the ridgeline
  • An application by Brad Dellea, Wolf Hill Road, to replace an existing house in the ridgeline
  • An application by Donnarumma & Theodore, Route 7D, to build a house

The Zoning Board will meet on Tuesday April 4 at 7:30 PM (in person only) to hear the application of:

  • Ciaran and Marie Haldane for a special permit to expand an accessory dwelling at 2389 State Route 23

Hamlet Committee

Time: Tuesday, April 4, 6 PM


Passcode: 760152

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 819 9312 7384

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, April 14, 3 PM

Cook & Larder, on Rt. 23 in the Hillsdale General Store Building

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, April 26, 11 AM


Passcode: 460546

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  827 4571 3442

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, April 27, 7 PM


Passcode: 091054

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 836 2368 0614

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

2609 State Route 23/Main Street
Hillsdale NY 12529
518 325-5073