News from Town Hall

I hope you are all familiar with the great strides forward our Town Board and committees are making to ensure that Hillsdale is an even better place to live and work. Planning is well underway for a reimagined Hamlet Park and we are taking definitive steps to replace a failing bridge on West End Road. We are also working with engineers on the Whippoorwill Road intersection and sidewalks on Anthony and Coldwater Streets, stabilizing the finances of the Sewer District, providing greater broadband access and planning a new salt shed. At this writing, our grant writer is finalizing a number of grants that we trust will move some of these projects toward implementation, and we are expecting the initial American Rescue Plan grant shortly.

You may not be as familiar with the momentum underway in Columbia County. According to the most recent issue of the Albany Business Review, county sales tax receipts for May of this year were $3.7 million, up 74% from last year’s figure. During the same time period, the unemployment rate stood at 3.7% compared with 8.8% in May of last year and a statewide rate of 6.9%. The median home sales price was $385,000 in May compared with $280,000 just a year ago.

As in Hillsdale, these indices reflect a new energy in Columbia County, but persistent and urgent challenges in affordable housing, broadband and other concerns remain to be resolved. These are needs that reflect a national trend and will require broad support and funding. Here in Hillsdale, we are fortunate that we have dedicated and hardworking committees that are determined to find solutions.

I wish you and your loved ones an enjoyable summer and hope you remain safe in these uncertain times.


Chris Kersten
Town Supervisor
August Town Board Meeting in Person and on Zoom
The August Town Board meeting will be held at Town Hall on Tuesday August 10 at 7 PM.

The meeting will also be streamed 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 August Town Board Meeting
Time: Tuesday August 10, 7:00 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 850 2012 1223
COVID Update
Columbia County's COVID-19 rate is increasing. As of Friday the 30th, the county had 33 active cases, with two hospitalized. Since the start of the pandemic Columbia County has had 4,339 cases and 96 deaths.

“It’s clear this thing is moving through the community,” said county Department of Health Director Jack Mabb. “We can’t confirm either way whether or not it’s the Delta variant – the state lab hasn’t done DNA sequencing on these cases.”

Director Mabb added that “it appears that quick mitigation, which included sending kids home to isolate and/or quarantine, has quelled the outbreak” at Camp Pontiac in Copake. “Many of the campers who were sent home as positives or as a contact of a positive are now coming back to the camp." According to Mabb, all the 31 children who contracted COVID-19 at the camp were under the age of 12 and thus unvaccinated.

On Friday, August 13 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM, the county Health Department will be at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library to give COVID vaccines to any eligible county residents. This is a walk-in clinic providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The vaccine is free and no insurance is involved. Masks are required.
Postponed Hillsdale Flea Market Returns August 7
With the wet weather apparently having abated, Hillsdale’s popular but twice postponed flea market will take place Saturday August 7, offering a wide array of goods ranging from household items and clothing to antiques and collectibles. 

Held in Hillsdale’s Hamlet Park, located at the intersection of Rts. 22 and 23, it will open at 8 AM. for early-bird shoppers, with a donation of $10 a person. Free attendance begins at 9 AM. The market ends at 3 PM.

The market—a gathering spot for residents and visitors alike—will offer items ranging from kitchenware, toys, garden items and baked goods to handicrafts. Among the confirmed vendors are sellers of vintage textiles, artwork and furniture. Power equipment, kayaks and sports equipment will also be offered, as well as jewelry ranging from vintage to handcrafted and make-it-yourself kits. Other vendors will sell records, pottery, books and ephemera. Food and beverages also will be for sale. 

 “The flea market has become a community magnet and a fun way to spend an hour or two,” said Gaye Hoffman, a member of the Hamlet Committee who is overseeing the market. “It’s also a smart way for sellers to offload unneeded things in an ecologically friendly way and make a bit of money at the same time.”

Vendor spaces may still be available—please contact Steven Tiger at or by calling 518 938-1404.

Notice of a rain postponement would be posted on the event’s Facebook page.

Proceeds from the flea market space rentals will help fund town improvement projects overseen by the Hamlet Committee, including the redesign and restoration of Hamlet Park.
New Historic Hillsdale Hamlet Map
 Highlights Businesses
A revised Historic Hillsdale Hamlet Map, including every business within the Business District of the historic hamlet, is now available. Overseen by the town's Economic Development Committee, the map was designed by Tod Wohlfarth following the rules of the official branding for the Town of Hillsdale. The objective was to create a helpful brochure for local residents, weekenders and tourists that highlights new and long-established businesses in the district as well as recreational activities nearby. In addition to the businesses, the map includes some notable attractions in and around Hillsdale such as the Copake-Hillsdale Farmers Market, Catamount, Roe Jan Park, Harlem Valley Rail Trail and Taconic State Park. This map is also a celebration of the history of Hillsdale told through the architecture within this National Historic District.

These maps can be picked up at various businesses in and around Hillsdale. The cost of the printing was fully funded by the advertisers on the back cover of this fold-out map.
Hillsdale Applies for First Broadband Grant
The Town of Hillsdale and the town Broadband Committee have submitted the preliminary Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) CARES Act consultant form which will be reviewed by NYS Office of Housing and Community Renewal (OHCR) to determine eligibility for the request and next steps. If awarded this grant, Hillsdale will contract with Consolidated Communications to install fiber optic broadband to every remaining address that can be served in the town. The committee was able to obtain all the addresses on the list for upgrade and it aligned with what they have advocated for years. Over the past month the committee has worked with Consolidated to confirm that a prevailing wage will be paid, American-made materials are utilized, and that proper contingencies are in place.
“We are very hopeful that the OHCR will recognize the dire need of some 200 residents and businesses in town and provide a future-proof broadband upgrade for all Hillsdalians,” said committee member Tod Wohlfarth. “This may be the first and last grant we apply for, but there is $65 billion of broadband funding in the infrastructure bill wending its way through Congress. So, if at first we don’t succeed, try and try again we will!”

“In addition to our grant efforts, our continuing discussions with Representative Delgado’s office have yielded some promising results in regards to minimum broadband speed definitions,” said committee member Andy Dash. “This has been the nexus of our problems from the beginning as the FCC considers many census blocks in Hillsdale fully served due to the erroneous or overstated provider speed data.”
"We are also hopeful that we have finally turned a corner in convincing the powers that be that Hillsdale is NOT fully served by modern broadband,” added Dash, "and that 25mbps as a minimum will only kick the proverbial can down the road when the need for truly fast speeds is upon us in order to serve all residents and businesses for their work, school and home lives.”
The Accessible and Affordable Internet for All Act, of which Rep. Delgado is a cosponsor, does not consider 25 upload/download fully “Served”. The bill states that “Seventy-five percent of the funding is to be used for a nationwide system of competitive bidding to fund broadband deployment in unserved areas, defined as areas with service below 25/25 Megabits per second (Mbps), and areas with low-tier service, defined as areas with service between 25/25 and 100/100Mbps. The remaining funds (25 percent) are to be distributed among States, by population with a minimum guarantee for each State, to conduct statewide systems of competitive bidding for broadband deployment in unserved areas, areas with low-tier service, and to unserved anchor institutions (anchor institutions with speeds less than 1 gigabit per 1,000 users). 

In addition, Rep. Delgado’s bill, the Community Broadband Mapping Act, has advanced through the House Agriculture Committee. Click below for information on both bills.
Jams in the Hamlet Presents
Singers and Songwriters on August 21
Next up in the “Jams in the Hamlet” free concert series will be singer/songwriter Kerri Powers and singers and multi-instrumentalists Lisa and Lori Brigantino. They’ll perform in the Hamlet Park, at the intersection of Rts. 22 and 23, on Saturday August 21.

The event begins at 4 PM with pre-show food and drink available for purchase from local restaurants, including Momma Lo’s BBQ, Bacon’s Pizza, Roe Jan Brewery and Little Apple Cidery.

The free concert will run from 5 - 7 PM. While some limited seating will be available, attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair

In her teens Kerri Powers began performing in local coffeehouses throughout New England. Her success led to invitational performances at the Boston Folk Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. 

The Hartford Courant called her a “Mark Twain-like trickster whose wry words, dramatic sense of dynamics and supple phrasing can celebrate joy and hope."

Lisa and Lori Brigantino started making music together as children. The sisters are known for their tight sibling harmonies and musicianship - often utilizing a number of different instruments including guitar, banjo, accordion, ukulele, percussion and more. They perform Lisa’s original songs at a variety of clubs, coffeehouses, house concerts and have been selected to appear at notable conferences and music festivals.

Lisa Brigantino is an award-winning singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer. As an original member of Lez Zeppelin, the world’s first all-girl Led Zeppelin tribute band, she played bass, bass pedals, keys, mandolin and sang backup vocals. Lisa left the band in 2009 to focus on her own original music.

Lori Brigantino, a singer and multi-instrumentalist, can be heard singing harmonies and playing various instruments on I’ll Waltz Before I Go and her vocals can be heard on Wonder Wheel as well as Lisa's first album, A Brooklyn Night.
The Two Doors and Raised Roof Explained!
Have you been watching the renovations of the house on the corner of Old Town Road just north of the Hillsdale Firehouse? And have you been wondering why the roof was raised and why in the world it has two front doors? Wonder no more. The Hillsdale Historians have the answers for you. This month’s typically informative and detailed blog delves into the history of the house, which may be the oldest in Hillsdale, Dutch architecture, dendrochronology and early Palantine settlers.
Board Chooses New Town Seal
Hillsdale has a new town seal. At the July Town Board meeting the board members unanimously chose a design by Wessen Robbii of New York City, a graphic designer, artist and frequent visitor to the area. Robbbii’s design was one of 25 designs submitted by eight individuals and families in response to the request from the Economic Development Committee for submissions to the town seal design contest. The committee chose three to present to the board for the final vote.

The seal will be used on official town documents, the web site and town vehicles. The design and typeface conform with the town's official branding guidelines.

As winner, Robbii received a gift certificate from the Roe Jan Brewing Co.
Safe at Home Coffee Hour Returns,
Senior Chore Services Day Planned
Hillsdale’s seniors want opportunities for more socialization. That’s a key conclusion from a questionnaire that the Safe at Home Committee recently distributed to Hillsdale’s senior residents. The committee is therefore pleased to again be organizing their Safe at Home Coffee Hour at Crossroads. The first will be on Tuesday, September 21 from 10 - 11:30 AM. Committee members will join with friends and neighbors to connect over coffee and pastries for conversation and a discussion of how seniors want to “use” these coffee hours, such as with speakers, etc. Coffee Hours, which are free to seniors, will be held the third Tuesday of every month. There is a suggested contribution of $2.

In addition, the committee is planning a Senior Chore Services Day on Saturday October 16 to benefit Hillsdale’s seniors. Getting ready for winter may require outdoor chores around the house and yard that are difficult for some seniors. On Senior Chore Services Day volunteers will do chores such as moving lawn furniture, raking leaves, or cleaning trash from around the outside of a house. A flyer will be sent to seniors with information about the Services Day and how to sign up. Call Natalie at 518 265-2113 for more information or to volunteer to do chores. This project has been supported by a grant from the Fund for Columbia County of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.”
Of Note.....
The town has received confirmation that it will be receiving American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds totaling $184,068. The funds will be split into two payments. The board is currently considering how the funds should be used. Funds can be used to support public health expenditures; address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency; replace lost public sector revenue; provide premium pay for essential workers; and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

The Hillsdale Highway Department is hiring! Positions open include full time machine equipment operators and part time seasonal employees. If interested mail your resume to 155 Old Town Road Hillsdale, NY 12529 or email
Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour Returns
The Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour is coming back this year to Hillsdale on Saturday, September 18. This will be the 9th year for the popular non-competitive ride that follows six different routes through Hillsdale and neighboring Ancram and Copake. The routes range from the easy and mostly flat family-friendly 10 mile ride all the way up to the challenging 100km/62.1 mile ride for experienced cyclists. The Ramble is free to ride. Donations will be raised to support the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. Online registration is now open.
Clarification of September 2020 Newsletter
The following is clarification of information regarding the August 11, 2020 and August 25, 2020 Town Board Meetings that appeared in the September 2020 Hillsdale Town Newsletter:

Peter Cipkowski resigned from his position as Hillsdale Supervisor at the end of July, 2020.
At the August 11, 2020 Town Board meeting, Steve Tiger and Tom Carty nominated Robina Ward for Interim Supervisor and voted for her. Jill Sims abstained.
Two days later the town attorney informed the board that the vote was invalid because a majority vote of the fully constituted board, regardless of vacancies, absences, or abstentions, is required to approve any action. Therefore, the votes of Steve Tiger and Tom Carty alone were insufficient to appoint Robina interim supervisor.
The board then held a special meeting on August 25, 2020 to again consider electing an interim supervisor. No interim supervisor was elected as there were not three votes for Robina and Jill declined a nomination.
August Meeting Zoom Links

Topic: Conservation Advisory Committee
Time: Thursday, August 26, 7 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 823 0347 4056
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