News from Town Hall

As you may remember, I announced in the November 2019 newsletter that I would be transitioning to living full-time in California in 2020 to be with my husband. As part of this transition, I noted I would be resigning as Supervisor – and that time has now come.

Hillsdale will always be our home, and I have so loved serving on the Town Board for eight years and as Supervisor for the last five years. It has been an honor and a privilege, and together we have accomplished so much.

So, the big question is: who will now assume the role of Supervisor? Under advisement from Brain Quail, Co-Counsel of the NYS Board of Elections, and Ken Dow, a Columbia County Election Commissioner, Section 6-116 of New York State Election Law notes that a resignation should take place before July 31 so that town party committees can nominate a candidate for the November election. There is also a window for independent candidates to circulate nominating petitions and appear on the November ballot.

Therefore, I gave the Town Clerk my letter of resignation this afternoon. Deputy Supervisor Jill Sims will immediately assume responsibility until the Town Board appoints an Interim Supervisor to serve through the end of this year. Whoever prevails in the November election will hold the office through December 2023.
I know that many good things lay ahead for Hillsdale, and we look forward to returning to our home in Hillsdale as often as possible. Of course, I am always reachable at, and I look forward to staying in close touch with the community.

With gratitude,
Peter Cipkowski

P.S. Some parting thoughts on my experience as Supervisor and lessons learned can be found in this recent interview.
There are several pending projects that are priority items for Hillsdale, including:

  1. Improving public safety by widening the current entrance or shifting the entrance to Whippoorwill Road.
  2. Expansion of the Hillsdale Wastewater Treatment Plant and adding more capacity to the existing plant on the current site.
  3. Improving the sidewalk and streetscape on Anthony Street and connecting the Hamlet to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. This will increase walkability and correct existing drainage issues.
  4. Closing the section of Maple Street that intersects with State Routes 22 and 23 and incorporating the land into the Hamlet Park.

The Town Board is working with Victor Cornelius to investigate potential federal stimulus Infrastructure funding for these projects. State funding sources also are being explored for a Salt Shed and the renovation of the Hamlet Park.

Lastly, the Town also is hoping that Habitat for Humanity will construct much-needed affordable workforce housing here. If you would like to donate or sell land for such a project, please contact the Hillsdale Housing Committee.
As announced last month, Hillsdale Town Hall staff are back at Town Hall during their normally scheduled hours. A link to the Town Hall directory with scheduled hours and employee contact information is provided below. Town Hall is open to the public by appointment only, and employees and visitors are required to wear a face covering. When you arrive at Town Hall, the doors will be locked. Please call the person you are scheduled to see to announce your arrival or knock on the front door.
Taconic Hills senior Karl Weingaertner is building five benches for the the Roeliff Jansen Park - an activity that advances his work as an Eagle Scout. Karl expects to complete the work in early fall. The benches will be placed on trails throughout the park. Thank you, Karl!
Hillsdale Town Court is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19. Please contact the Court Clerk with questions. The Clerk is available by phone and email, or in-person by appointment only.

A few things to remember if you need to head into Court:

  • Please be patient. Like every town, Hillsdale has five months of "back-log" cases to process.
  • "Specific appointment times" will be issued to all involved, so please be on time.
  • Only come to Court if you have been contacted by the Court Clerk, the District Attorney, Public Defender, or a Personal Lawyer.
  • If your ticket identifies the date of August 19, 2020, for your appearance DO NOT come on this date, please follow these instructions:
  • Sign a plea of guilty or not guilty on the ticket with your correct address and most importantly your phone number. Send it to Hillsdale Town Court immediately.
  • If your plea is "not guilty", you will be contacted by phone with a FUTURE court appearance time and date.
  • If you plead "guilty", a decision of judgment will be mailed to you.
  • If you have been contacted with a court appearance time but you feel sick or have a temperature (2-day notice), please call the Court Clerk to cancel the court appointment.
  • All persons entering the Town Hall must wear face-covering and sign in. Hand sanitizer will be provided.
COVID-19 testing clinics are scheduled for August 3, 17, 24, and 31. The testing will be conducted from 9 am to 11 am on the sidewalk in front of the John L. Edwards Primary School in Hudson.

These walkup clinics will be limited to 50 tests each. It is recommended that anyone who would like to be tested get to the clinic as early as possible to ensure that they secure one of the 50 tests. Pre-registration will not be necessary for the walkup clinics.
The services provided by Columbia Opportunities – a nonprofit community agency serving all of Columbia County – have never been more valuable. Through direct services and community partnerships, they offer advocacy and referrals, emergency assistance, healthcare, housing services, income supports, child care, education, and informal counseling to thousands of individuals and families throughout our community.

Please click the link below to learn more.
The Hillsdale Economic and Community Development Corporation (HECDC) continues to offer one-time gifts of $250 to local families and individuals who are experiencing financial stress due to loss of income because of COVID-19.

Please do not hesitate to email   or call 646-373-5002 to learn if you qualify.
The New York Forward Loan Fund is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. Loans are available to those small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords that did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for COVID-19 in 2020. Click on the link below.
Several years ago, Julia Brandi and Marilyn Herrington conceived the idea of interviewing a diverse group of long-time Hillsdale residents to capture their unique and often extraordinary stories of daily life in this town. These brief interviews will be enjoyed and discovered by generations to come. 

The footage is divided into two sections: “Portraits” contains 2-minute close-up interviews of 25 residents.
“Our Story”, is a 20-minute overview of the town’s history and includes the tales and voices of several residents.
Hillsdale has dozens of properties available for short-term rental on Airbnb and Home Away. If you are a Hillsdale property owner and rent your property to short-term residents, please make sure you comply with the guidelines outlined in Hillsdale's Local Law #2 2019.

Among its provisions, the law requires operators to:

  • Obtain a Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and
  • Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Compliance from the Town Building Inspector.
A new post by the Hillsdale Historians:

"The Taconic Mountains extend about 180 miles from southern Dutchess County and northwestern Connecticut up through Berkshire County, Massachusetts and on to Brandon, Vermont. The Taconics afford a number of spectacular views of the Hudson Valley; some feel that there is no finer view than that from the summit of Mt. Fray.

Mt. Fray rises to an altitude of 1893 feet, less than half that of the highest peak in the Taconic range, Mt. Equinox (3816 feet) in Manchester, VT. But it was high enough to attract the eye of John “Jack” Falconer Fisher III, who built a ski resort on it and called it Catamount."

Click on the link to read more.
The information collected by the Census helps inform the federal government on many key decisions, including the allocation of funding for schools, hospitals, community organizations and more, as well as legislative redistricting and congressional representation. Rural communities like ours stand to be the most negatively impacted by an undercount - so please send in your form. Hillsdale's response rate in inching toward of 45%, still short of its 2010 response rate. Towns highlighted in yellow below have met or exceeded their 2010 rates.

Please fill out the Census form at the link below or you can call it in:

(844) 330-2020 for English
(844) 468-2020 for Spanish