News from Town Hall

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy as we experience the impacts of the Omicron variant. At this writing, it appears that the infection rates have crested in Columbia County and are beginning to fall. But it’s not yet time to let our guard down, so please arrange to stop by at Town Hall during office hours for a free supply of KN95 masks and rapid test kits. Supplies are limited, so we are offering them on a first come-first served basis to Hillsdale residents.

Winter has come to Hillsdale and our Highway Department has been doing an outstanding job of managing the snow plowing of our roads. The crew is out there at all times and under all conditions to ensure that our roads are as safe as possible, and we thank them.

In Town news, we are moving forward with our plans, and particularly with the Streetscape sidewalk project in the Hamlet, for which the latest engineering designs are under review by the community’s Project Advisory Committee; a traffic engineering report for the Whippoorwill Road intersection; and a better understanding of the reasons why our several grant applications for Hamlet Park renovations were not successful. At this time, a major grant submission is pending for the West End Road bridge replacement project. All of these projects will be discussed at the February 8 Town Board meeting.

While there was no regular meeting of the County Board of Supervisors in January, the committees have been convening. In particular, the Economic Development Committee covered some timely information regarding workforce issues in the County. With an unemployment rate of 2.9%, a low number of persons are seeking jobs, while the demand for workers is high, especially in retail and hospitality positions. The County’s Workforce Development Board, and the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) are collaborating to find solutions to what is not only a local challenge, but a national one as well. I’m also grateful for the work of our Hillsdale Housing and the Roe Jan Housing committees in finding solutions in our area. In other news, the County is preparing bids for upgrades to each transfer station, including Hillsdale. These upgrades will include new compacting units and much needed paving.

Be well, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chris Kersten
Town Supervisor
February Town Board Meeting on Zoom
The February 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 February Town Board Meeting
Time: Tuesday February 8, 7:00 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 869 2782 2741

The meeting will be preceded at 6:30 by a Public Hearing re Local Law No. 1 of 2022 which provides for the codification of the local laws, ordinances,
and certain resolutions of the Town of Hillsdale into a municipal code to be designated the “Code of the Town of Hillsdale”. The Code is available online through a portal called eCode360 so residents, board members, etc. can search for and find town laws. When new laws are passed they will become part of the Code and posted to eCode360.

When this new law is approved the board will be approving all current town laws  and all the clarifications and edits adopted as part of the Code as if the local laws, ordinances and resolutions had been previously formally amended to read as such. All changes are detailed in Schedule A of the law re codification.
COVID Update
Covid numbers in Columbia County continue to fall. As of Monday the 31st, there were 228 active cases, with 32 county residents hospitalized and one in the ICU. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 10,522 cases in the county and 127 deaths.

County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb strongly recommends the continued use of masks among county residents given their proven effectiveness against both the coronavirus and seasonal flu. “It’s been clear the past two years that the use of masks has been responsible for the dramatically low flu numbers we’ve been experiencing. It goes without saying their importance in the fight against the virus,” said Mabb. In addition, Mabb advises that home test kits be maintained at a temperature range of 36-86 degrees. “It’s not a good idea to leave them overnight in your car these days. When a kit freezes and then thaws, it’s no longer any good,” he said.

The Healthcare Consortium is assisting people with limited computer access/skills to order at-home COVID-19 test kits online. Anyone interested is advised to call 518 822-9600.
Masks and COVID Tests Available at Town Hall
A limited number of KN95 masks and COVID-19 rapid tests are available for free at the Hillsdale Town Hall, on a first come first serve basis. These may be picked up between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM Monday-Friday. Appointments are strongly recommended. Call the Town Clerk's office at 518 325-5073 ext. 5. Everyone entering Town Hall is required to wear a mask. The masks and tests have been supplied to the town by the sate and and more of both are expected.
Town Board Passes Resolution Against Hate
A "Resolution Against Hate", which was proposed by board member Steve Tiger, was unanimously approved on a roll call vote by the Town Board at the January meeting.

"I moved the motion in order for the Town of Hillsdale to take an official stance against hate crimes," said Tiger. "I was pleased that it was unanimously passed. The resolution reaffirmed our community's belief that we will not tolerate harassment of any of our residents based on their race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status or political affiliation."

Similar resolutions have been passed by Columbia County, New Lebanon, Chatham, Taghkanic, Ghent, Germantown and other localities across the country.

The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, recently as a nation we have witnessed record high violence based upon a person’s religion, race, gender identities, sexual orientation, nationalities, economic status and political affiliation; and
WHEREAS, here in the United States communities that have been built with the guidance, assistance and leadership that is inclusive of peoples of all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic status and political affiliation are more successful; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Hillsdale Town Board continues to maintain that all people of our community have the right to feel safe and be treated equally and with respect and dignity regardless of their race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status and political affiliation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Board of the Town of Hillsdale, on behalf of our community members, do hereby state that Hillsdale reaffirms our commitment to a status of inclusion for all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic statuses and political affiliations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that on behalf of all residents of the Town of Hillsdale we maintain our position that violence of any kind is unacceptable and condemn any act of aggression, hostility or violence against any member of our community based upon race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status or political affiliation.
No Renewal Needed for Some Property Tax Exemptions, March 1 Deadline for Others
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide effort to stop the spread of this virus, property owners who had either the low-income senior citizen exemption (aged exemption), or the low-income disability exemption in 2021 will automatically have this exemption renewed for 2022. The normal pink exemption renewal form does not have to be completed and income documentation for this year (2022) does not have to be supplied.
Anyone who believes they qualify for these exemptions for the first time must apply prior to March 1.
  •  Senior Citizen, new exemption. Seniors must be 65 years of age or older and meet certain income limitations and other requirements
  • Low Income Disability, new exemption. Must have documented evidence of the disability and meet certain income limitations and other requirements
All other exemptions, whether new or a renewal, must be applied for prior to March 1. This includes any of the following:
  • STAR, if you have reached the age of 65 and had the basic star in 2021, (not star credit)
  • New agricultural exemptions or agricultural renewals 
  • New veterans exemption
  • New forest exemptions or forest renewals
If you have questions on any exemptions, email Pam Cook, Town Assessor, at or call 518 325-5073 ext. 8.
The Hillsdale Family
That Put a Man on the Moon
It all started with an inquiry sent to the Hillsdale Historians. An antique dealer had come across a walking-stick with a silver engraved cap on top that read "J. B. Collin Hillsdale NY" and was looking to find any descendants of J. B. Collin. Our historians were certainly familiar with the Collin family, namesakes of Hillsdale's Collins Street, but they wanted to know more. With the help of Sally Laing and her vast array of historical books and documents, and extensive knowledge of the town, they learned much, much more about J. B., his ancestors and their many descendants. Read this month's blog and you will learn about Hillsdale's connection to a man essential to the effort to put a man on the moon.
Broadband Committee Recommends
Completing Surveys
In an effort to improve state and national Broadband Deployment Maps, both New York State and the Federal Communications Commission have released brief surveys for consumers to report actual on-the-ground broadband availability and experience, which may help direct future State and Federal funding. The Hillsdale Broadband Committee urges all residents to complete the surveys, even those who already subscribe to a high-speed internet service.

How to Participate
       For more information and to participate in the NYS survey, please visit the New York State Broadband Assessment Project. To receive a paper survey in the mail, call toll-free 1-855-NYBBMAP (1-855-692-2627).
        To learn more about and participate in the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Consumer Information  survey, visit their website and click on the blue Share Your Broadband Experience button. 
"Please do your part and complete both surveys," says Hillsdale Broadband Committee member Andy Dash. "The more surveys and experiences recorded, the more information governmental decision makers, who control or will control significant broadband infrastructure development funds, will have about the gaps in access to high-speed internet in our community. We particularly encourage residents who do not have access to modern broadband internet to complete the two surveys."
Of Note.....
A new Town of Hillsdale employee handbook was approved by the Town Board at the January meeting.

At the annual Town Organizational Meeting on January 6 the board made or reaffirmed official appointments and designations for the year 2022, including Chris Kersten as Budget Officer and Tom Carty as Deputy Supervisor. Matthew Cabral of Guterman, Shallo & Alford, PLLC continues as town attorney and Robert Patterson, CPA, as town accountant. The salary schedule was approved as were authorizations, policies and procedures regarding the Highway Department, meeting times, purchasing, budgeting and other town business. Planning Board and building permit fees were approved as were the missions and members of town boards and committees. Full details are in the agenda and minutes of the meeting.
According to analysis of new IRS data by the Center for Economic Growth , seven of the top 20 fastest growing zips for gross income in the Capital Region in 2019 were in Columbia County and Hillsdale ranked sixth, with gross income increasing 27.8%.
Town Has New Instagram Page
In order to improve communications with residents, the town is changing the official town instagram page to to @townofhillsdaleny. This page will focus on all things town hall and town related, such as official town hearings, meetings and announcements. The Instagram page @heyhillsdaleny will continue to post tips and information on what to see and do in and around Hillsdale but will no longer be an official town page. Facebook users can keep up to date on town information at townofhillsdaleny
Libraries Add Newsbank forAccess to Current and Past Issues of Newspapers
All public libraries in Columbia County, including the Roeliff Jansen Community Library, have added NewsBank to their online resources. Residents throughout the county now have online access to current and back issues of local newspapers such as the Register-Star, Times Union, Berkshire Eagle, and Chatham Courier, as well as to news sources from throughout the country though their library’s website.  

NewsBank consolidates current and archived information from thousands of newspaper titles, as well as newswires, web editions, blogs, videos, broadcast transcripts, business journals, periodicals, government documents and other publications. Using these online resources, researchers can easily explore tens of millions of current and archived news articles and obituaries in order to pinpoint information from primary sources at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. NewsBank also offers online educational resources covering all academic curricula. 

In addition, residents with an interest in genealogy will also have access to HeritageHub, which includes hundreds of years of obituaries and death notices from thousands of newspapers across the United States., as well as to Black Life in America, a digital archive of news media on African American history, offering balanced coverage from diverse sources published from 1704 through present day.

This new resource is provided thanks to funding from Columbia County to the Columbia County Libraries Association.
Upcoming Events in the Area
The annual Gala for the Roeliff Jansen Community Library will be back this year, on June 25 in a new location, the Catamount Lodge at Catamount.

February programs at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library include Tech Labs on using Google Docs and Cyber Security, a history webinar on Jim Crow, and Balance and Strength classes for adults. There will be story times and Homeschool Wednesdays for kids. The library is located at 9091 Route 22.
Upcoming Meetings

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on Tuesday February 1 at 7:30 PM at the Hillsdale Town Hall to consider an application by James and Pamela Carden for a special permit for their Taconic Ridge Farm property at 2846 Rt 23.

Planning Board
Time: Monday February 14, 7:30 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 893 1188 3637

Public Hearing
  1. Debra Adamsons-Merrill, Hillsdale Neighbors Assn. Proposed lot line adjustment 
Regular Business
  1. Five Birches, LLC, East side of Rt 71, Green River (former Daly property) Initial informational meeting. Major subdivision to create four new building lots with frontage along Rt. 71 and a logging parcel at top of ridge
  2. Dan Levy, N Side Route 23 in Hillsdale Hamlet. Ongoing review. Special use permit and site plan review for multi-family, mixed-use project. 
  3. Lockwood Road, Site plan review. New build and driveway.

Hamlet Committee
Time: Monday February 7, 6 PM
Passcode: 679328
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 863 9741 5436

Open Space Project
Time: Thursday February 10, 7 PM
Passcode: 940520
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 883 4520 0718

Economic Development Committee
Time: Wednesday February 23 11 AM
Passcode: 643611
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 825 3946 0072

Conservation Advisory Committee
Time: Thursday February 24, 7 PM
Passcode: 322863
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 862 4174 7615
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