News from Town Hall

Happy New Year!

I hope that you have been enjoying the holiday season and are feeling renewed as we welcome the New Year.

We’ve been busy at Town Hall closing out the old year and planning for the challenges and opportunities in 2022.

We welcome your interest and participation, so please join us for our Organizational Meeting on January 6 and our Town Board meeting on January 11th.

My best wishes for good health, happiness and better times ahead!

Chris Kersten
Town Supervisor
January Town Board Meetings on Zoom
The 2022 Town Board Organizational Meeting
Time: Thursday, January 6 at 6 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 826 2490 9897

The January 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 January Town Board Meeting
Time: Tuesday January 11, 7:00 PM
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 850 2012 1223
COVID Update
Covid numbers in Columbia County continue to increase significantly. After recording 91 cases on Tuesday, the highest one-day total in the county since the beginning of the pandemic, 106 were recorded on Thursday. As of Thursday there were 364 active cases, with 22 county residents hospitalized and six individuals in the ICU. On Tuesday County DOH Director Jack Mabb said that the county’s infection positivity rate stood at 11.55 percent. Since the start of the pandemic Columbia County has had 7,451 cases and 115 deaths.

According to the CDC, 58.4 percent of residents 65 and over have received a booster shot; as have 51.4 percent of those over 50; and 41.6 percent for those above age 18.
Documents to be Discussed at Town Board Meetings to be Posted Online
A new state law is expanding transparency in government and will make it easier for the public to follow and understand what is being discussed at Hillsdale Town Board meetings.

The new law requires that documents that will be discussed at all public municipal meetings, and any proposed resolution, law, rule, regulation, policy or amendment be made available to the public on request or posted on the government entity’s website at least 24 hours in advance of the start of the meeting.

Hillsdale will post all such documents on the Agendas & Minutes page of the town website in the “Packets” column.
Town Tax Bills Online & In the Mail
2022 town tax bills, which are payable by January 31, are now posted online. You can search for your bill by completing any one field on the search page. If you do not receive you bill in the mail by the second week of January and want the paper copy, email or call 518 325-5537.

Tax bills can be paid online; processing fees apply. For the month of January only, Hillsdale Tax Collector Joe Hanselman will be at the Town Hall on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 AM to noon and other hours by appointment for anyone who wishes to pay their bill in person. Due to Covid restrictions it is recommended that payments be mailed, paid online, or dropped through the mail slot in the front door of the Town Hall. A penalty is added to all bills paid February 1 or later.
Roe Jan Brewing Receives
NYS Historic Preservation Award
The Roe Jan Brewing Co., one of Hillsdale’s newer businesses, located in one of the older commercial buildings in the town, has been awarded a 2021 New York State Preservation Award by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Roe Jan Brewing is one of nine projects in the state recognized for their efforts to preserve the state's history.

Roe Jan Brewing, owned by Steve and Kathy Bluestone, was cited for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation “for the adaptive reuse of the former Buckley Store building. Constructed in 1851, the building had been vacant before being rehabilitated for use as a craft brewery and restaurant with the help of Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.”
Brewery 2021
“After housing numerous retail and agricultural businesses over the years, it was vacant and in terrible disrepair when we purchased it in 2018,” says Steve. “For starters, the entire building needed to be lifted in order to replace the partially collapsed foundation. We're grateful for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits that allowed us to tackle and complete this ambitious project!”

Steve credits Lex Lalli and Fran Eberhart for suggesting that the Bluestones apply and providing significant help with the application process.

Created in 1980, the State Historic Preservation Awards are presented by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation each year to honor excellence in the protection and revitalization of historic and cultural resources. The awards follow the completion of the 2021-2026 NYS Historic Preservation Plan, which offers a bold vision for all New Yorkers to partake in the social and economic benefits of historic preservation.
The Pictures are Interesting... But the Messages!
Do you engage in deltiology? Many people interested in local history do just that.... collect postcards. In the Hillsdale Historians's most recent blog post you'll learn about the history of postcards as well as more Hillsdale history through the pictures on old Hillsdale postcards. There is Cullen Park, before and after the monument was added. Local motels and inns. Private homes. And the historians have included lots of links for more information on the places and buildings pictured. But perhaps what is most interesting are the messages. "You said soon some time ago? When will it be?" "Received your card was glad to know you were alive." Usually postcards with written messages are of lower value than cards that were never sent but some messages tell much about the people who lived in or visited Hillsdale long ago, while others leave us wondering. 
Public Hearing Re Law to
"Codify" Town Laws and Post Code Online
A public hearing on Tuesday February 8, before the monthly town board meeting, will be for public input re a new law that will "provide 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.

"Maintaining the code electronically rather than on paper will ensure that the laws and code are always up-to-date and it will be very easy for anyone to search the laws," said Tom Carty, the town board member who lead the eCode360 project. "As part of the process all laws have been reviewed by the town board as well as the legal staff and editors at eCode360, to standardize and clarify the language. There have been lots of minor changes."

When 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.
Of Note.....
In accordance with Gov. Hochul's mandate, masks are now required in Town Hall.

Seven hundred K95 masks have been provided to Hillsdale by the state and county for distribution free to town residents. Masks are available (until all 700 are given out) in packets of five at the Hillsdale Supermarket, the Roe Jan Community Library and between 10:30 and 12:30, Monday - Friday or by appointment in the Town Clerk's office at Town Hall.
The Highway Department has has received and assembled the two radar speed signs that the town recently purchased. Each sign is mounted on a hand truck so it can easily be moved and chained to a utility pole. One sign is now in operation on Mitchell Street. The signs will be used on town roads where residents have concerns about speeding drivers.

As previously announced, the Columbia County Solid Waste Department is switching from bags to a tag system. The Hillsdale Town Clerk has tags available for sale between 10:30 and 12:30 and by appointment. A tag must be affixed to each bag being disposed of. The tags are for up to 10, 30 and 56 gallon bags and must be purchased as a sheet (5 tags/sheet). The Clerk has been assured that the 10-gallon stickers may be used for up to 13-gallon bags. and the 30-gallon stickers for up to 33 gallons. Residents can continue to use the current county bags (without tags) until their supply runs out.

The Town Clerk also has 2022 Recycling Permits for sale between 10:30 and 12:30 and by appointment. Permits, which are good for a calendar year, are required for disposing of recyclables at any county transfer station. Permits for residents are $50 per year. Senior citizens pay $35 per year. Each permit entitles you to two stickers in case your household uses more than one vehicle.
Housing Task Force Hears About
Local Housing Cost Burden
As most people have realized, Columbia County has a shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic, of affordable, workforce and market rate housing. Home prices have skyrocketed and continue to climb. That was confirmed in a presentation made at a recent meeting of the Roe Jan Housing Task Force by Joe Czajka, a community development and housing expert at Pattern for Progress, a not-for-profit policy, planning, advocacy and research organization whose mission is to promote regional, balanced, sustainable, and equitable solutions that enhance the growth and vitality of the Hudson Valley

While the median house price in Columbia County increased from $355,000 in the third quarter of 2020 to $365,000 in the third quarter of 2021, the number of houses for sale dropped 45.3%, more than in any other Hudson Valley county.

Czajka focused on housing cost burden. Housing is affordable if a household spends less than 30% of gross income on housing. If a household spends more than 30% housing is unaffordable and if the household has to spend more than 50% of gross income on housing the cost burden is severe. In Columbia County, 57% of renters have an affordable housing cost burden, 21% have an unaffordable burden and for 22% the burden is severe. For home owning households the percentages are 74%, 15% and 11%.

As in the county, renters in Hillsdale have more burden than homeowners. 53% of renting households have affordable housing, 30% have an unaffordable cost burden and 17% have a severe burden. Of homeowners on Hillsdale, 78% have an affordable burden, 13% have an unaffordable burden and for 9% the burden in severe.

Czajka also discussed strategies for addressing the housing crisis that can guide the task force as they develop ideas for workforce housing in the Roe Jan area.
Yes, Hillsdale Has a Leash Law
The Town Clerk has recently received a number of inquires from residents re problems with dogs. The town does have a "leash law." The law states that a dog is not allowed to run at large, unless the dog is restricted by an adequate collar and leash and/or unless accompanied by its owner or a responsible person able to control the dog.

The law also prohibits habitual loud howling or barking, causing damage or destruction to property, committing a nuisance on the property of someone other than the owner, chasing or otherwise harassing a person in a way that causes intimidation or fear of bodily harm or injury, and habitually chasing or barking at motor vehicles.

Any person who observes a dog violating the law may file information with the Town Justice of the Town of Hillsdale, specifying the objectionable conduct of the dog, the date, a description of the dog, and the name and residence, if known, of the owner or other person harboring the dog. The law may also be enforced by the Dog Control Officer of the Town of Hillsdale or by any police officer.
Upcoming Events in the Area
January programs at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library include a Tech Lab on using Googles Drive, history webinars and Balance and Strength classes for adults. There will be story times, Homeschool Wednesdays and a Story telling by Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator Emily Arnold McCully 
for kids. The library is located at 9091 Route 22.
Upcoming Meetings

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on Tuesday January 4 at 7:30 PM at the Hillsdale Town Hall to consider an application by James and Pamela Carden.

The Planning Board will meet on Monday January 10 at 7:30 PM.

Hamlet Committee
Time: Monday January 10, 6 PM
Passcode: 055110
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 897 6985 8085

Conservation Advisory Committee
Rescheduled December Meeting
Time: Wednesday January 5, 7 PM
Passcode: 371781
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 838 4577 3426

Economic Development Committee
Time: Wednesday January 26, 11 AM
Passcode: 203007
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 816 5525 9143

Conservation Advisory Committee
Time: Thursday January 27, 7 PM
Passcode: 873669
Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 826 3655 5784
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