{There is a lot of news in this issue. To be sure you see it all, click here to view the newsletter as a web page.}.

News from Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

The fall has been a very busy and productive time in and around Hillsdale Town Hall. In collaborating together, the Town Board successfully addressed three major priorities. The first was the preparation of the 2023 Town budget without raising taxes. The budget is slated, following a Public Hearing, to be adopted at this month’s Town Board meeting, which will be on Thursday, the 10th. The second was the successful negotiation led by Steve Tiger of a 3-year contract with Teamster’s Local 294 for our hard-working Highway Department employees. The third priority was to come to an agreement on the Sewer District debt to the Town following an exhaustive financial review process, leading now to a study of possible repayment scenarios that will be as fair and equitable as possible.

In other good news, Tom Carty reports that the installation of the 58 LED streetlights provided by agreement with NYPA will begin on November 7. These energy efficient light fixtures will result in savings of $4,200 a year in lighting and maintenance costs. Additionally, the 49 solar panels recently installed at the Highway Garage will save one-half of the Highway Department's electric costs. At this writing, we are waiting for NYSEG to do the switchover for the system to become operational.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the Safe at Home Committee for an incredibly successful Senior Chore Day on October 22, involving over 35 volunteers, including 25 Taconic Hills students (thanks to Athletic Director Angela Webster), serving over 15 Hillsdale seniors. Special thanks to Natalie Kahn and Lynne Colclough for their leadership efforts in organizing this inspirational event. It is a special moment in our community when neighbors help neighbors.

On October 27, I attended the annual budget meeting of the Community Rescue Squad that serves the Towns of Ancram, Claverack, Copake, Gallatin, Hillsdale and Taghkanic. The Squad, one of five in the County, will likely end the year with about 1,935 emergency service calls, an all-time high, traveling 7,000 miles per month or 84,000 miles annually. Hillsdale’s share for this vital, lifesaving service is $135,342, a 5.58% increase over last year’s allocation, an amount unanimously approved by the Board.

Finally, I’m pleased to report that the 7-gallon trash bags at $1.00 each will be reintroduced by the County over the next few weeks. These bags will be available for purchase at our Transfer Station as soon as an inventory has been delivered.

I leave you with best wishes for an enjoyable November, a month of transition that will usher in what I hope will be a peaceful and wonderful holiday season for everyone.


Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor


November Town Board Meeting Moved to Thursday

The November Town Board meeting will be on Thursday, November 10 rather than on Election Day, November 8. The 7 PM meeting will be held in person at Town Hall.

The meeting will be preceded at 6:30 PM by a public hearing on the proposed 2023 town budget. The budget will be posted on the Financial Statements page of the town web site a few days before the hearing.

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
Financial Statements
Town Board

COVID Update

As of October 31, in Columbia County there were 36 active cases and eight hospitalized county residents, none of them in the ICU. As of the 31st there had been 14,768 cases and 157 deaths.

The Columbia County Department of Health is offering Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters at their Thursday afternoon vaccine clinics. For information link to the DOH web site (link below) and go to the Calendar or to the Facebook page.

According to the CDC COVID-19 Community Level tool, Columbia County's level is "low". Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined the number of hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels
Columbia County Dept. of Health

Town Board Adopts Report Detailing Sewer Fund Debt

At the October Town Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the report prepared by Bob Patterson, accountant for the town, which concluded that the sewer fund’s debt to the town totals $185,321,81. Per state law, all sewer district expenses must be paid by the sewer fund, not by the general town fund, so the sewer fund must repay the debt to the town with interest, estimated to be about $13,000 as of now. Interest will continue to compound at 2% annually until the debt is completely repaid. Per state law, all inter-fund loans must be repaid as soon as possible, but no later than the close of the fiscal year in which the advance was made.

At a special Town Board meeting on May 12, Patterson had presented very similar figures but because not all board members agreed that the sewer was in debt to the town, the board voted to hire Patterson to conduct a study of the accounting records of the sewer district from 2014 -2020. Patterson reported at the October meeting that because he found no errors in the accounting records for 2014 -2020, he is confident that the records for earlier years are also accurate.

Every year from 2014 through 2020 the sewer fund borrowed money from the general fund for operational, pay roll and other expenses. Each year the sewer fund made payments to the general fund but total debt kept increasing, adding to similar debt that had been accruing prior to 2014. In 2019 and 2020 the debt increased by $54,524 and the debt reached $115,264.81. Much of the 2019 -20 debt was related to plans to expand the sewer system because it was thought that there were capacity issues. When it was discovered that a meter was improperly installed it was determined that the system did not need to be expanded.

Patterson also found that $70,057 that had been borrowed from the general fund during construction was not repaid but was “written off” in 2019, which is not allowed by law. Therefore, this amount is still due to the general fund, bringing the total debt to $185,321.81.

Patterson’s report, linked below, provides further detail re the debt, recommendations that the debt and interest should be paid, and other recommendations on how to avoid similar issues in the future. The State Comptroller’s office is aware of the debt. Patterson dealt with them to verify figures and determine what state law requires.

In 2021, the sewer fund posted a modest surplus and is on track to do the same in 2022.

Sewer Debt Report

County Owned Bridge on Tribrook Road Closed

Due to the continuing deterioration of some of the main girder structural members on the “Roe Bridge” on Tribrook Road near the intersection with Collins Street, the Columbia County Department of Public Works has closed the bridge to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Residents should detour using Routes 22 and 23. The county owns the bridge, which crosses the Roe Jan Kill.

According to Ray Jurkowski, the county Commissioner of Public Works, daily traffic on the 20' wide bridge has been very low, about 60 vehicles per day. County engineers will be examining the bridge to determine whether repairs or replacement should be undertaken. Because this is a county bridge, there will be no cost to the town.

Polls Open at Hillsdale Firehouse on Election Day,

Early Voting Now in Hudson and Valatie

The Hillsdale Firehouse at 9387 Rt. 22 will once again be the polling location for all registered voters in Hillsdale this Election Day, November 8. Polls will be open from 6 AM to 9 PM.

Early voting is available now at 401 State Street in Hudson and at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building located at 3211 Church Street, Valatie. All Columbia County voters can vote at either early voting site during the following hours:

  • Tues. Nov 1: 9 AM-5 PM
  • Wed. Nov 2: Noon-8 PM
  • Thurs. Nov 3: 9 AM-5 PM
  • Fri. Nov 4: 9 AM-5 PM
  • Sat. Nov 5: 9 AM-5 PM
  • Sun. Nov 6: 9 AM-5 PM

On the ballot this year are candidates for Senate, the House, Governor, and other state and county offices. There is also a proposal on the back. Click below to see a sample ballot.

Sample Hillsdale Ballot

Owners of Short-Term Rentals

Required to Apply for Permits

By town law, all homeowners who are renting out rooms, apartments, or a house on a transient or short term basis (under 31 days per rental) must come before the Town of Hillsdale's Zoning Board of Appeals and obtain a "Change of Use" permit. Hillsdale's Local Law 2 of 2019 states that all transient rentals must have a valid special permit for the lodging facility and that all transient rentals must have a valid and current certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance. If you have not yet obtained a special permit you can obtain one quickly and easily from the Zoning Board of Appeals by contacting Ramona Bellamy, the Zoning Board Secretary, at 518 325-5073, ext. 33, or Hillsdalezoningboard@gmail.com.

The complete text of Hillsdale's Local Law 2 of 2019 is available online at eCode 360, along with all other Hillsdale laws. Link below or get there via the town website. On the home page of the website click on "Government" and then "Hillsdale eCode360". At the eCode360 site type "transient rental" in the search bar and then you will see the law.

Law re Transient Rentals

Safe at Home Committee:

Workshop to Offer Advice on Aging Safely at Home,

Senior Chores Day A Success,

Next Coffee Hour Features Hillsdale Historians

A free workshop for Hillsdale seniors, near-seniors, caregivers and neighbors, Adapting Homes As We Age in Place, will be presented by Hillsdale’s Safe at Home Committee on Saturday, November 12, from 10 AM to 12:30 PM, at the Hillsdale Firehouse, at 9387 Route 22.

Participants will hear from three speakers and will be able to visit with more than a dozen exhibitors for information about no-cost and low-cost home improvements and programs to help us age safely in our own homes. Experts will suggest construction projects to improve safety, long-term comfort, and convenience.

Featured speakers will be: Jim Ketcham, AARP Speakers Bureau Volunteer, who will talk about AARP’s HomeFit Program; Michael Williams, Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), who will discuss renovations that facilitate aging in place; and Al Bellenchia, CEO of Columbia County Habitat for Humanity, who will discuss minor home repairs to improve livability as we age.

Among the exhibitors are: the Columbia County Office for the Aging, which assists with shopping, home delivered meals, transportation, home care, etc.; EverHome Columbia, Inc., which offers a life-changing program that demonstrates how in-home services and technology can aid seniors; Hillsdale’s Tax Assessor, who will advise about STAR and senior citizen real estate tax exemptions; Cap Tel, a federally-funded program that provides free phones for people with hearing loss; plus many other program and product specialists.

Any questions? Call Natalie at 518 265 2113.

The Workshop is funded by a grant from the Fund for Columbia County, Berkshire Taconic Foundation, and by Copake Lake Realty Corp.


Nine adult Hillsdale community volunteers, and 28 Taconic Hills students, supervised by four coaches, helped over 15 Hillsdale seniors get ready for winter by completing outdoor chores during the October 22 Senior Chore Day organized by the Safe at Home Committee.

Volunteers raked, cleaned ground level windows, and moved outdoor furniture. Seniors reported they were delighted to have helpers and the volunteers said they had a grand time on a beautiful fall day. The committee particulalrly thanks Angela Webster, Athletic Director/Varsity Field Hockey coach and mathematics teacher at Taconic Hills, who recruited and organized the student volunteers.


The next Safe at Home Committee Coffee Hour, Tuesday, November 29, will feature the Hillsdale Historians, Lauren Letellier and Chris Atkins. They’ll talk about the work they do as town historians; how they choose topics for their blog; where they do their research; and will tell some of the stories they’ve discovered about Hillsdale’s past. The monthly Coffee Hours are 10 - 11:30 AM at the Hillsdale House.

Hillsdale Grange Part of an

 Egalitarian National Movement

You probably recognize the building in the photo, having passed it on Rt. 22 in North Hillsdale. Looks like a church, doesn't it? Well, that's how it started it's life, as a church on Hunt Road, but at some point it was moved to its present location and for 47 years it was the home of the Hillsdale Grange. This month the Hillsdale Historians started by researching the building. That led them to an in-depth study of the Grange, also known as  The Order of Patrons of Husbandry, the oldest agricultural advocacy group in the country and a supporter of women in positions of leadership. If you lived here in the early 20th century there is a good chance you would have been a member. Read this month's blog post to learn about the founding and purpose of the national Grange as well as the Hillsdale chapter.

Hillsdale Historians Blog

Of Note.....

The Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market's last market will be just before Thanksgiving on Saturday, November 19, wrapping up another successful season at Roe Jan Park. Vendors this month will have produce, meat, beverages, desserts, gifts and more. If you want to be sure what you want is available you can contact the vendor before the market.

Farmers Market Vendor List


Spectrum has confirmed that they are installing fiber optic on Mitchell Street, Granacker Road, Pine Ridge Lane, Cottonwood Circle, Great Spruce Lane and Marsten Lane. Thirty six homes will be able to connect to the service and access internet and streaming TV. Construction should be complete by the end of the year. It is expected that Spectrum will contact homeowners to begin service shortly thereafter, perhaps by solicitation via the mail. Homeowners could also contact Spectrum in two to four weeks to schedule installation of service to their homes. Running the fiber optic from the poles to the homes is not part of the current construction project and homeowners may be responsible for this cost of having this work done.


Shredding bins will be available at Town Hall from Monday, November 28 to Friday, December 9. Hours are 10 AM – 1 PM, Monday-Friday, or by appointment.


Voters approved the purchase of a new fire truck for the Hillsdale Copake Fire District, which is served by the Hillsdale Fire Company. The truck will replace one purchased in the mid-90's.

Roe Jan Food Pantry Seeks Donations

 for Thanksgiving Baskets

At least 134 Thanksgiving Baskets will be distributed by the Roe Jan Food Pantry this year to individuals and families in need, about ten more than last year. The baskets will include everything needed for Thanksgiving dinner as well as a number of other meals. 

The turkeys and some other ingredients have been donated but the Food Pantry is asking for donations of boxes of cereal -- about 200 boxes are needed -- as well as bread and rolls. Donations can be left in the vestibule at the back of the Hillsdale Firehouse. Text the Food Pantry at 518 441-2789 to let them know when you have left food there. The pantry volunteers will freeze any bread and rolls until they are distributed. Anyone who would like to receive a Thanksgiving Basket should also contact that number.

Baskets will be available for pick up between 9 AM and 12 PM on Saturday, November 19. Local school kids and Scouts have been recruited to help carry boxes and otherwise assist the Food Pantry volunteers and people picking up baskets.

The Food Pantry is open the first Friday of every month for distribution of food. 

Town Agrees to Develop Vulnerability Assessment

 and Climate Adaptation Plan

At the October meeting, the Town Board agreed to develop a Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Adaptation Plan, as proposed by the town's Climate Smart Committee.


The county Board of Supervisors has approved a similar resolution. For both the county and the town, the project will be led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia/Greene, on behalf of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC). This assistance is funded through NY DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Outreach Coordinators Program and is available at no charge to the county and the town.


Developing a vulnerability assessment involves identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing the effects of climate hazards and risks, such as flooding, heat stress or short-term drought. The goal of creating a climate adaptation plan or chapter is to address vulnerabilities uncovered in the vulnerability assessment. Climate adaptation planning outlines a vision and set of strategies to improve a community’s resilience to climate change based on its local physical, economic, and social vulnerabilities. The goal is that local leaders working with their communities to adapt to climate change will build the capacity to evolve with changing conditions and protect resources for generations to come.


Once a draft report is prepared, the town will provide an opportunity for public input and comment on the report. The Climate Smart Committee will then present a summary of the vulnerability results and adaptation plan to the Town Board, which will consider if for adoption. The project is expected to take about 10 months.


Adult programs at the Roe Jan Community Library in November include

  • Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment. This tutoring program is intended primarily for adults. Instruction is one-on-one or in small groups and geared toward everyday conversational needs. Free childcare is provided for children ages 3 and up. E-mail director@roejanlibrary.org or call 518 325-4101 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Hot Topics in Healthy Aging – Clearing Up Common Questions: Aging
  • Joy and Gratitude, A to Z: Using a tiny journal to make gratitude part of your day
  • Roe Jan Writers Series: Members of a writer's collective that meets at the library read from their poetry, essays, memoirs, and fiction
  • History Webinar: Martin Van Buren's Politics of Slavery
  • Strength & Balance Class on Zoom

 For kids there will be Homework Help every Thursday from 5 to 7 PM, with English and Spanish tutoring available for grades K-12. Thursday, November 3, for an extra special Study Hall edition, pizza will be served

Plus, a Columbia Land Conservancy Field Trip at Overmountain Conservation Area, 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.

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

The Friends of the Roe Jan Library Cookie, Book and Soup Sale returns this year on Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10, from 11 AM to 3 PM at the library at 9091 Rt. 22. The Friends Bookshop will be open both of those days and from 10 AM to 2 PM every Saturday from now through December 10. Thousands of gently used books, CD’s and DVD’s will be for sale. Masks are required. To donate books, email Celia Kahn at caskahn@gmail.com.

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board will meet on Tuesday November 1 at 7:30 PM. Public hearing to consider the application of Melissa and Christopher Gilbert (Gilbert’s Hill House LLC) for a special permit for Change of Use; short term rental at 156 Stone Ledge Road.

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, November 14 at 7 PM. Public hearing for a major subdivision by 5 Birches, on Route 71, represented by Chuck Johnson.

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Monday, November 7, 11 AM

Home of Dee Chopak, 572 Collins Street

Hamlet Committee

Time: Monday, November 21, 6 PM


Passcode: 738307

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 811 9552 6683

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, November 23, 11 AM


Passcode: 126594

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 895 0770 8939

Did someone forward this email to you? Join the mailing list so the newsletter is delivered directly to you.

Join the Hillsdale Newsletter Mailing List
Follow Hillsdale on our official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Instagram  Facebook  
Check out 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.
Hillsdale Business Directory
Add/Edit Your Listing

Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley


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