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News From Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

We Need You!

Hillsdale has always been blessed with active and engaged citizens who regularly volunteer their time. My interest in local government began when I started volunteering for our Town Citizen Advisory Committees, so I’m a big proponent of community involvement. I can tell you from first-hand experience that I’ve made great friends and had rewarding experiences as a member of these kinds of committees.

  • Would you like to help organize the return of the Hillsdale Flea Market?  
  • Do you have experience with (or are you curious to learn about) grant writing?  
  • Are you an avid cyclist or just an occasional bike rider and willing to help Hillsdale prepare to be a starting point for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail?  
  • Are you interested in revitalizing our Hamlet Park or want to help with the Roe Jan Park?  
  • Would you be willing to help others in the event of an emergency?
  • Are you interested in helping to find solutions for our housing shortage?
  • Or would you just like to help our town in general?  

This Saturday, February 3, please consider attending (at Town Hall or via Zoom, link below), the first 2024 meeting of the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee. We will gather at 10:30AM. to discuss and brainstorm ideas and goals for this year and welcome new members—or even those who are curious about what the group does. If this committee is not the right fit, stop by anyway and we can tell you about other committees seeking members, including our Climate Smart Committee, our Bicycle Task Force or the Roe Jan Park Steering Committee. You can learn more about our committees on the town web site. (Link below.)

There is another way to volunteer: Become part of our Emergency Preparedness Committee.

During the recent storms, the nearby towns of Copake and Chatham suffered major wind damage, leaving hundreds of residents without power or heat. Copake opened up a warming station and Chatham had a crew at their Town Hall handing out bottled water and dry ice for use in coolers.

We need volunteers for our Emergency Preparedness Committee who would be willing to meet at Town Hall during an emergency to implement our emergency procedures.  We’ve all experienced the severe weather over the past years, so we need to be prepared. Please email [email protected] to learn more.

There’s lots to do, so please drop by. If you are interested in volunteering but can’t make it on Saturday, please email me at the address below.


Mike Dvorchak

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

Hamlet Committee Meeting, Feb. 3, 10:30 AM on Zoom


Meeting ID: 880 2529 9358

Town Committees

February Town Board Meeting

The February Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, February 13. The meeting will be held in person at Town Hall at 7 PM and will be available on Zoom. People participating via Zoom will be able to make comments during the designated Public Comment times at the beginning and end of the meeting.


Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  862 1516 1343

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 and the Agendas & Minutes page. 

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board

Appointments, Policies, and Fees Approved

at Organizational Meeting

Hillsdale's new Town Board met for the first time for the annual Organizational Meeting on January 4, where they approved a document (link below) appointing people to town positions, offices, and committees. Among those appointed are Emily Stalker as Deputy Town Clerk, Elizabeth Sheer as Town Clerk/Administrator, Mike Dvorchak as Budget Officer, and Steve Tiger as Deputy Supervisor. (The Supervisor can appoint anyone they choose as Deputy Supervisor. The Deputy's

On Hillsdale's Town Board for 2024 are Supervisor Mike Dvorchak (center) and Town Board members (l - r) Tom Carty, Jamie Carano Nordenström, Irwin Feld, and Joanna Virello.

responsibilities are to run a Town Board meeting if the Supervisor can't attend and to sign checks if the Supervisor is not able to. The Deputy does not get to vote, even if running a town board meeting.) New members have been appointed to the Sewer Task Force and the Infrastructure Committee. Joyce Ferrentino has replaced Joyce Lapenn as chair of the Safe at Home Committee. Ken Dow is now the town's attorney. A Town Board member has been appointed as liaison to most committees.

At the regular January board meeting the Supervisor announced the formation of three new Town Board Committees, committees composed only of Town Board members. Carano Nordenström and Carty will comprise the Town Grant Committee, keeping track of all the grants to the town. As members of the Town Housing Committee, Feld and Virello will attend the monthly meetings of the Columbia County Housing Task Force. The Town Comprehensive Plan Committee members will be Nordenström and Carty.

Also approved at the Organizational Meeting were various policies and fees.

Organizational Meeting

Highway Department Work Plan for 2024 Approved

According to an agreement between Highway Superintendent Richard Briggs and the Town Board, in 2024 $215,000 shall be set aside to be expended for primary work and general repairs upon the 76.6 miles of town highways, including sluices, culverts, and bridges having a span of less than five feet. This covers the purchase of gravel, stone, blacktop and oil for sealing roads, culvert pipes, etc. In addition, $217,000 shall be set aside to be spent on permanent improvements of town highways in 2024, including:

  • 2” blacktop overlay on Rockledge Road, from West End Road to Apple Tree
  • Blacktop shim, oil, and stone on:

Rodman Road from West End Road to Doe Hill Road,

Cold Water Street, Anthony Street Extension, Brady Lane, Pill Hill Road, Old Town Road

  • Gravel, drainage, culvert replacement, and fabric on:

Ridge Lane, Springbrook Lane, Woodthrush Road, Farview Lane, White Hill Road, Herrington Road

Town's Conservation Advisory Council

Seeks New Member

Hillsdale's Town Board and Conservation Advisory Council are accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Council left by Caroline Stewart who has stepped down. The CAC is grateful to Caroline for her many years dedicated to the work of the CAC, in addition to her instrumental roles in the creation of the Roeliff Jansen Park and the Copake-Hillsdale Farmers Market. 

The Hillsdale CAC is a five-member advisory body that gathers and disseminates information, conducts research, and makes recommendations to the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Town Board on matters related to the development, management, and protection of natural resources. The CAC holds one regular meeting on the fourth Thursday of each month, but conducts much of its work in the periods between meetings. Applicants can find more information on the CAC webpage. (Link below.)

Eligible applicants must reside in the town of Hillsdale and have a strong interest in the mission of the council, the time and willingness to work on CAC tasks, and the ability to work cooperatively with other CAC members and town agencies. There are no minimum professional qualifications, but knowledge and experience in the environmental sciences, land use planning, engineering, or environmental law is preferred.

Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Town Board for two-year terms. This is a rewarding volunteer position for which there is no compensation.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter by 29 February to:

David Lewis, CAC chair at [email protected] and CAC Town Board Liaison Jamie Carano Nordenström at [email protected]

Webinar on Hudson Valley Storms

Join Hillsdale’s Conservation Advisory Council in viewing the Partners for Climate Action Hudson Valley Morning Coffee Webinar: The Science Behind Our Storms with Dr. Anton Seimon, Tuesday, February 13, 8:30-9:30 AM. Dr. Seimon is an atmospheric scientist, National Geographic Explorer, Research Scholar with Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy, and tornado researcher. He will share insights from decades of observing Hudson Valley storm phenomenon and climate change impacts to help us plan for the future. Sign up at link below.

CAC Webpage
Morning Coffee Webinar

Town Still Looking to Hire Maintenance Manager

The town is seeking an experienced maintenance person to perform a variety of tasks at three locations in the town: Town Hall: painting and light carpentry, minimal handyperson duties. Roe Jan Park: grass cutting. Sewer Assistant: daily checking of numbers and monitoring of sewer plant. Plumbing and electrical knowledge is a plus.

The position is part time, 15-20 hours a week. The employee must hold a valid NYS driver’s license and reside in or near the town of Hillsdale.


To apply, please send a letter of interest, including a brief bio and three references to the Town Clerk: [email protected] or PO Box 305, Hillsdale, NY 12529

Total Incidents Up, False Alarms Down for

 Hillsdale Fire Company

The Hillsdale Fire Company reports responding to 115 incidents in 2023, 13 more than last year. On average, response time was about 16 minutes, six members responded, three pieces of apparatus were deployed, and the incident duration was 59 minutes. Of the incidents, just four were building fires, two were brush or rubbish fires, one was unauthorized burning, and one was a passenger vehicle fire. False alarms, fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide detectors activating when there was no fire or carbon monoxide, accounted for 31 of the calls, fortunately down from 41 such calls in 2022. Downed power lines accounted for 18 calls.

In addition, the Fire Company responded to motor vehicle accidents and water problems and stood by for other fire companies or helicopter landings.

Of Note.....

The Town Board has approved a resolution giving its consent for a sewer force main relocation in the lower hamlet. The resolution was adopted at a special meeting of the Town Board on January 25th, and may be viewed here.

Sewer Relocation Resolution

2024 property tax payments were due by January 31. If taxes are paid on/after February 1 a penalty applies and it must be included with the payment;

  • Paid in February: 1% penalty
  • Paid in March: 2% penalty
  • Paid in April 3% penalty plus $2 Second Notice Fee
  • Paid in May: 4% penalty plus $2 Second Notice Fee

Payments received without the required penalty will be returned to the sender.


If you need an appointment with the Planning Board or wish to be added to the agenda, contact the new board secretary, Jayme Spencer, at [email protected].

Elizabeth R, Angello, the new Court Clerk for the Hillsdale Town Court, can be contacted at [email protected]


The log cabin on Route 22 just south of the traffic light has been purchased by local builder Scott Decker. The building has been cleaned out and secured and the roof will soon be repaired. The future use of the building has not yet been decided. The town of Hillsdale did not proceed with plans to secure the building as the town's attorney determined that the estate of the prior owner was willing to deal with the building.


As Supervisor of Hillsdale, Mike Dvorchak is also a member of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. For 2024 he will serve on the Economic Development and Public Works Committees. At the January meeting the county board approved a resolution to pursue a $2 million grant for ADU (Accessory Dwelling units). Up to to $125,000 could be available for those building an ADU. The county is also working on a Short Term Rental Law, under which the county would hire a firm to do enforcement. Towns would be able to engage this firm at reduced rates. 


Several Hillsdale residents concerned about potential harmful effects of 5G cellphone network technology attended the January Town Board Meeting. During the Public Comments time they provided the town board with information that was presented in a Washington, DC trial, Environmental Health Trust vs the Federal Communications Commission, in which it was ruled that the FCC must reexamine its health and safety guidelines for 5G and other wireless based technologies. The residents want the town to pass a moratorium on the installation of 5G in Hillsdale.


At their January meeting, the Town Board approved submitting a letter stating that the town intends to apply to become a Pro-Housing Community. This is a state program designed to reward local governments that are working hard to address New York’s housing crisis. In addition, the board approved a letter of intent to participate in the Columbia County All Hazards Mitigation Plan.

Pro-Housing Community Program

State law requires that all records that will be referenced at a Town Board meeting be made available to the public at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. Hillsdale posts such records on the Agendas & Minutes page of the town website. Supervisor Dvorchak has announced that from now on relevant correspondence will also be posted.

Agendas & Minutes

The correct phone number for reaching the Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium for information about getting help covering costs associated with prescriptions, prescription premiums and co-pays is 518 822-8820, ext. 308.

Who Was Roeliff Jansen? And, More Interesting,

What Did His Wife Accomplish?

If you attended Roeliff Jansen Central School you most likely thought Roeliff Jansen was from the Netherlands. After all, the school teams were called the Dutchmen and the school was named after the Roeliff Jansen Kill and Kill is Dutch for creek. More recent research has found that Roeliff Jansen was actually (or probably) Norwegian. This month, Hillsdale's Historians set out to learn all they could about Roeliff Jansen. They learned lots about him but even more about his wife, Anneke, who lived far longer and became very wealthy. Litigation over land she left to her children in the late 1600's lasted well into the 20th century. Get all the details in this month's blog post.

Hillsdale Historian's Blog

Safe at Home Committee News

"February Blues" to be Discussed at Coffee Hour

The February Blues will be the topic of the Tuesday, February 27, Safe at Home Coffee Hour for seniors at the Hillsdale House. At the 10-11:30 AM event there will be complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks. Conversation is encouraged.

At the coffee hour, speaker Claudia Coenen will address SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a problem that often affects seniors more than the rest of the population. Claudia has a private counseling practice in Hudson called the Karuna Project, where she provides compassionate counseling for loss and transitions. Karuna means compassion for all. She describes herself as an author, musician, choreographer, mother, teacher, innovator, and chef. She has written several books and presents workshops that offer creative ways to process anxiety and loss. Claudia is affiliated with the Hudson Valley Trauma Clinicians, the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Association of Trans-personal Psychology. 

If you have any questions or need a ride, contact Natalie at 518 265-2113.

Photo: Juliet LoFaro Portrait Photography

Town's Housing Committee Seeks New Members

Hillsdale’s Housing Committee is seeking interested members of the community to join the committee. The mission of the committee is:

“... to preserve the unique character, culture, and economic vitality of our community by ensuring that it welcomes and supports a population representative of a range on income levels. Toward that goal, the Hillsdale Housing Committee is committed to preserving and increasing housing opportunities for individuals, couples, and families, of diverse incomes, to make Hillsdale their permanent home.”

In existence since 2004, the committee has held public forums, conducted a housing needs study, proposed zoning changes, created a brochure for housing resources, and held a Housing Fair, among other activities. For the past 5 -10 years, the Committee has been heavily focused on identifying suitable sites and developers for Workforce housing projects. Hillsdale, like most other growing communities, has an overwhelming need to provide affordable housing for those who work and live here and in surrounding towns.

The committee meets as needed. For further information, please contact Joan Wallstein at [email protected].

Planning Board Has Vacancy

The Hillsdale Planning Board is seeking a new member to fill a vacant seat for a 7-year term expiring 12/31/2030. The Planning Board meets at Town Hall on the second Monday of every month at 7 PM. This is a non-remunerative position. The legal charter of the Planning Board is to review, guide, and approve proposed development projects and subdivision actions, so that they are in compliance with the regulations set forth in the Hillsdale Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Additional time for application review, site visits, and NYS-mandated training will be required in addition to attendance at meetings. If interested, please send a letter of intent and a resume to Jayme Spencer, Planning Board secretary, at [email protected].

New Town Officials Attend Training

Three of Hillsdale’s town officials attended legal and technical training for newly elected representatives at the Association of Towns annual conference in Albany in January. The training included seminars on topics such as “Fiscal Oversight of the Town Board,” “The Minutes Process,” “Regulating Land Use” and more.

Columbia County officials who attended included (pictured above): Richard Wolf (Copake Supervisor), Marcie Robertson (New Lebanon Town Clerk), Robina Ward (Hillsdale Town Clerk), Steve Powers (New Lebanon Town Board), Irwin Feld (Hillsdale Town Board), Susan Topograph (New Lebanon Town Board), Colleen Lutz (Ancram Town Board), Jim MacArthur (Ancram Supervisor), Mike Dvorchak (Hillsdale Supervisor) and Tistrya Houghtling (New Lebanon Supervisor).


The Art School of Columbia County has winter art classes running through February. Adult class topics include illustration, linoleum print making, expressive art, and pastels. For children ages 8 - 12 there is program on mixed media art.

Art School of Colulmbia County

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

  • Tech Labs - Library Apps and iPhone photos
  • On Display at the Library: Pastels by Tia Maggio
  • Roe Jan Writers Series: G. Stuart Smith, author of A Life in Code: Pioneer Cryptanalyst Elizebeth Smith Friedman
  • Reading and Discussion Program: Land, Liberty, and Loss: Echoes of the American Revolution
  • Qigong & Tai Chi every Thursday
  • Tea Time at the Library: Noa Fusco on Scams
  • Book Marks Book Club: reading All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, by Tiya Miles
  • Cookbook Club: Cook and bring a dish from the Roe Jan Community Cookbook
  • Webinar: 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
  • Art in the Evenings with Tia
  • Finding Julia: Centering Black Women in Antebellum
  • Film Screening: Harriet, a film about Harriet Tubman
  • Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment; this tutoring program is intended primarily for adults
  • Job search and resume help

Programs for Kids: Winter Break at the Library: Make a Snow Globe!, Winter Break at the Library: Kid's Film Screening of Hoot, Lego Thursdays, Playtime with Tia on Wednesdays, Homeschool Wednesdays, and Storytime with Tia on Saturdays

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

The Friends of the Roe Jan Library Book Shop will be open every Saturday from 10 AM -2 PM (weather permitting). The Friends will be accepting donations from 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM. Appointments to donate are no longer required.

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board will meet at Town Hall on Tuesday, February 6 at 7:30 PM (in person only) to hear the applications of:

  • Karen Thompson & Tracey Wilson for a Special Permit for a change of use; short term rental at 2215 State Route 23,

The Planning Board will meet at Town Hall on Monday, February 12 at 7 PM. The agenda will be available a few days before the meeting on the Agenda & Minutes page of the town website. A PDF will be in the Agenda column next to the date 2024-02-12.

Agendas & Minutes

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, February 21, 11 AM


Passcode: 020841

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 873 8420 2192

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, February 22, 7 PM

Town Hall

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, February 23, 3 PM

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

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

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