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News from Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

As I write, we are fortunate to have had a relatively mild winter – so far. And with the arrival of March, feelings of hope and renewal abound.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, one of my favorite observers of nature, wrote this about the arrival of spring in his wonderful book, The Rural Life: “If this time of year is rich in anything, it’s rich in expectancy. Everything in nature seems ready to stir, and yet the only thing visibly stirring so far is daylight itself, which is steadily undoing winter. Cold weather has kept the lid on the garden, and the few ambitious shoots that have shown to date seem to be thinking better of it. Ice returns now and then to the small pond in a nearby field. The air looks warm, but it isn’t … yet.”

As with nature, there are changes at Town Hall as well. Elizabeth Sheer has taken up her responsibilities as Interim Town Clerk, and will be assisted in the transition by Kathi Doolan on a one day a week basis. The search for a Deputy will commence when Elizabeth has determined the scope of work to be performed in that role. We thank both Elizabeth and Kathi for their many efforts on behalf of the Town. It is also a great pleasure to announce that Mike Scheller, our Sewer Operator, has made an outstanding recovery and plans to return to his duties this week.

Enjoy the arrival of Daylight Savings Time (Spring Forward!) on March 12, followed by the official arrival of spring on March 20!

Best wishes,

Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

March Town Board Meeting

The March Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, March 14. The meeting will be held in person at Town Hall at 7 PM and will also be available on Zoom using the videoconferencing equipment recently installed in Town Hall.


Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 826 2336 5260

It is expected that at the March meeting the board will discuss a plan for paying down the sewer debt.

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. 

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board

77% of Taxes Paid On Time

Hillsdale property owners made on-time payments of $3,341,980.56 in town and county taxes to Hillsdale Tax Collector Joe Hanselman, Jr. That's 77% of the $4,320,526.04 that is due for 2023. Last year 82% of taxes were paid on time. As usual, the vast majority of payments, 1,035, were made by mail, though online payments reached a new high of 182 and in-person payments increased from 115 to 156.

At the February Town Board meeting Hanselman turned over to Supervisor Chris Kersten a check for $1,355,504.13. This payment to the town includes tax levies of $311,749 due to the fire districts, $42,500 due to the Roeliff Jansen Community Library and $6,884 due to the lighting district. The remaining $969,611 is kept by the town. The county’s share of the total 2023 taxes collected in Hillsdale is $2,784,238.

Palm Sunday Brunch and Easter Egg Hunt Return

After a three year hiatus due to COVID, the Hillsdale Fire Company's famous Palm Sunday brunch is back this year on April 2 from 8 AM to 1 PM. This year's menu will include cornbread; French toast; plain, blueberry, and chocolate chip pancakes; scrambled eggs; home fries; hash; sausage; and bacon. Orange juice, coffee and tea will be served. As in years past, there will be a bake sale for those with room for dessert or who want to take dessert home. And, there will be the traditional raffle. Brunch is $18 for adults and children 10 and over. For children under 10 the cost is $12.

"We are excited about the return of the brunch and are looking forward to reconnecting to the community," says Joe Hanselman, Jr., president of the Hillsdale Fire Company.

After brunch you can bring your kids to the Hamlet Park for the annual Easter Egg Hunt where there will be 400+ candy filled eggs to find... even more than last year. One of the eggs will hold a special surprise prize. The Easter Bunny will be visiting. The hunt starts at 2pm. Rain date for the Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 8.

Two Town Committees Seek New Members

Two Town committees are looking for new members. The Historic Hillsdale Committee members are ready to get started working again on such projects as installing Historic House plaques on each of the historic houses in the Hamlet district. A new project for the committee is assessing the possibility of a new Historic District for areas outside the hamlet. The committee seeks to promote the preservation of the unique physical and social heritage of the town in order to protect and preserve that which gives Hillsdale its character and enhances our quality of life.

The Hillsdale Hamlet Committee needs members to help them present a number of annual events, including the Car Show, the town-wide Flea Market, and the fun-for-kids Pumpkin Festival held in the fall. “All of these events are great fun to work on and are valuable fundraisers,” says Town Board member Tom Carty. The committee works to improve the cohesiveness of the Hamlet of Hillsdale while fostering the development of a safe, attractive, accessible, and friendly town center in which Hamlet residents and businesses can flourish.

Working on either of these committees will be very rewarding and very helpful for the town,” said Carty. “I hope residents will give careful consideration to joining a committee.”

Contact Carty by email at [email protected] or by phone at 518 325-5260 to find out more about being on one of these committees and to sign up.

Irish Music at March Coffee Hour

Robbie Haldane, a local resident and musician who is well known as a member of the "Changelings", will entertain at the March Coffee Hour hosted by the Safe at Home Committee. Robbie will sing and play traditional Irish music on the accordion and whistle. Hillsdale’s seniors, friends, and neighbors are invited to the Coffee Hour at the Hillsdale House on Tuesday March 28 from 10 to 11:30 AM for music and conversation as well as free coffee and muffins.

Free Trees and Shrubs Available

 for Streamside Plantings

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is offering free tree and shrub seedlings to plant along streamsides or pond shores.

This “Buffer in a Bag” offer is part of the DEC’s longstanding Trees for Tribs program that supports restoration of woody vegetation along waterways. Each landowner may apply for a free bag of 25 tree and shrub seedlings to plant by streams, ponds, or lakes to protect water quality, improve wildlife habitat, and stabilize banks.

The Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) encourages Hillsdale landowners to take advantage of this offer if they have significant unforested frontage along the Roeliff Jansen Kill, the Green River, the Taghkanic Creek, the Agawamuck Creek, or any of the tributaries to those streams. Pond frontage may also qualify as long as the pond has a natural outlet. The CAC and other Hillsdale residents have participated in the Trees for Tribs program in past years, planting over 125 trees and shrubs along the Roe Jan in the Roeliff Jansen Park. The plantings are intended to improve the water quality and habitat quality of streams, and have also helped Hillsdale to achieve Bronze certification in the Climate Smart Communities program.

Applicants must have at least 50 feet bordering a stream, river, pond, or lake, and must provide photos or a map of the planting location as well as GPS coordinates. Previous recipients are encouraged to reapply to continue building their riparian buffer. Qualifying applicants are eligible for one bag of 25 bare-root seedlings. Recipients are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis so early applicants will have the best chance of receiving this year’s seedlings. A total of 350 bags are available statewide for this round of applications.

Visit DEC's website for more information about the Buffer in a Bag application process and requirements. Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7.

DEC Buffer in a Bag

Of Note.....

Shredding bins will be available in Town Hall from Wednesday March 15 to Friday March 24. Hours are 10 AM – 1 PM, Monday-Friday, or by appointment.


The Columbia County Department of Health will be holding COVID-19, monkeypox (jynneos), and flu vaccine clinics every Thursday in March from 3-5 PM by appointment at their office at 325 Columbia Street in Hudson.


The free Rabies Clinic scheduled for Saturday March 4 at the Ancram Town Garage has been postponed due to expected inclement weather. The Columbia County Department of Health will advise when the clinic is rescheduled.


The town has received insurance payout for two light poles that were knocked down, presumably by plows. Poles will not be installed until it is determined if they can be moved further from the road so they are less likely to be struck.


The town has not been awarded either of the grants for work on the Hamlet Park that it applied for last year. Once the town receives a debriefing on why the grants were not awarded the board will discuss how to proceed.


Save-the-date: Kidsdale will return to the Hamlet Park on Saturday July 15. (Rain date July 22.) Bands have been booked!


Some New York State residents qualify to use free software that lets you prepare and file your federal and state income tax online using guided tax preparation. You qualify if:

  • your federal adjusted gross income (AGI) is $41,000 or less, regardless of your age;
  • your federal AGI is $60,000 or less and you are 57 years old or younger; or
  • your federal AGI is $73,000 or less and you served as Active Duty Military (including Reservists and National Guard).
NYS Free FIle

Will You Help the Salamander Cross the Road?

When driving on a rainy spring night have you seen frogs hopping across roads by the thousands? Salamanders are crossing too, although they are less visible from a moving car. This is the spring migrations of amphibians to and from their breeding habitats. Wood frogs, spring peepers, American toads, and several species of salamanders spend most of their lives in upland forests, but they use wetlands and ponds for mating, egg deposition, and nursery habitats in the spring, typically from about mid-March through April or May.

When the amphibians have to cross roads in their travels, they are very vulnerable to being killed by vehicles and so die in large numbers. A road segment that lies between a forest and a breeding pool, even an ephemeral pool, can have large concentrations of migrating amphibians, whose populations may have been using those travel routes for centuries.

A program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) enlists and trains volunteers to monitor selected road segments on rainy spring nights to help amphibians cross safely and to record their observations. The Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council(CAC) encourages anyone interested to take advantage of the information and training available on the NYSDEC Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings web page, and to adopt a road segment in Hillsdale where you have noticed large numbers of amphibians trying to cross. A training webinar and a Volunteer Handbook on the web page provide detailed instructions, including how to handle amphibians without harming them, and how to stay safe on roadways on rainy nights when the visibility for drivers is low.

The animals are hard to dodge even if you drive slowly, so try to avoid driving at all on rainy spring nights, especially when the temperature is 40 degrees and above .

DEC Amphibian Migrations & Road Crossings

Historian Lauren Letellier to Perform Her New Play

The Hillsdale Historians are taking a break this month to get ready for the March opening of Lauren's new play, The Village Cidiot, at Catskill's Bridge Street Theatre. It’s a fish-out-of-water comic tale about Lauren's journey from “Hopeless Rural Newbie” to Hillsdale Town Historian. “The play has something for everyone to relate to,” says Lauren, “from long-time Hudson Valley locals to recent COVID-era transplants.” Tickets for the three performances -- Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11, at 7:30 PM and Sunday, March 12, at 2 PM -- are available online at the theater’s web site.

Bridge Street Theater


RJHS Hosts Presentation About

 Copake Iron Works

At the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society’s first spring program on Sunday, March 26, at 2 PM, Edgar Masters will speak about “The Preservation of the Copake Iron Works, or, How a Small Band of Determined Volunteers Covered a Furnace, Opened a Museum and Built a Narrow Gauge Railroad.” This program focuses on the history and preservation of the Copake Iron Works National Heritage Area Site located within Taconic State Park in Copake Falls.


The program will include a brief video on the history of the Copake Iron Works and a discussion of its relationship to the establishment of the hamlet of Copake Falls. Masters will also talk about the work of the Friends of Taconic State Park to preserve the site and to develop it as an important historical destination with a visitor center, museum and - coming this spring - an operating narrow gauge railroad. 


Edgar Masters is a long-time resident of Copake Falls and a founding member of the Friends of Taconic State Park.


This admission free program will be held at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society, 8 Miles Rd., Copake Falls. More details area available on the website.

Roeliff Jansen Historical Society

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

  • Hot Topics in Healthy Aging - Clearing Up Common Questions: How to Interpret Health News & Tips on Choosing a Doctor
  • Books on Tap: a book discussion at Roe Jan Brewing Co.
  • Back to Nature: Native Trees & Shrubs
  • Roe Jan Writers Series: David Nasaw & Dinitia Smith
  • Offerings: A New Art Exhibition by Lynne Perrella
  • Tech Lab: Taking Control of Your Gmail - Managing and Organizing
  • Book Marks Book Club: reading The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation
  • Cookbook Club: Cooking from The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • Tea Time at the Library: listen, discuss, and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, and sometimes a fun activity. In March: Expressing Emotions in Color
  • Film Screening: Tell Me Another Story
  • Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment; this tutoring program is intended primarily for adults
  • Strength & Balance Class on Zoom

For ages 10 ad up: Teen Chess Club

For kids: Lego Thursdays, Home School Wednesdays, Storytime with Tia on Saturdays, and Circle Time with Tia on Wednesdays.

The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.


The Friends of the Roe Jan Library Book Shop will be open on Saturday, March 4 from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Book Shop is in need of all kinds of art, philosophy, history, nature, and fiction books. Donated books must be in excellent condition. Textbooks, CDs and DVDs are not accepted. To donate, email Celia Kahn at [email protected].

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

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, March 13 at 7 PM (in person only) to consider:

  • An application by Yakov Bindler, 20 Knox Road, for a site plan review re building a new house on the property
  • An application by Sandra Dawson, County Route 21, to subdivide property.

Hamlet Committee

Time: Tuesday, March 7, 6 PM


Passcode: 119078

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 894 3186 6985

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, March 17, 3 PM

Home of Mary Lou Kersten, 600 Whippoorwill Road

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, March 22, 11 AM


Passcode: 055340

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  882 8202 5743

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, March 23, 7 PM


Passcode: 799741

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 881 2951 2784

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

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