News from Town Hall

Happy Fall! Hillsdale's hills have started to quickly change to fall colors and it looks like it may be a very good year for leaf peeping.

Hillsdale's monthly Town Board meeting is Tuesday, October 13. As we have done for the past several months due to COVID-19, the meeting will be held via Zoom. I am delighted that so many of you have joined recent meetings and hope you will join us again on the 13th. The board appreciates your interest and input.

Time: Oct 13, 2020, 7:00 pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 857 3121 4584

Or dial 646 558-8656
Meeting ID: 857 3121 4584

When you log on, please be sure you microphone is set to mute. If you don't, even if you aren't speaking the microphone can pick up background noise which will be heard by everyone participating. To mute yourself, click the Mute button (microphone). A red slash will appear over the microphone icon indicating that your audio is now off.

Read on for information about absentee and early voting, our new website and things happening in Hillsdale.

Please stay safe, and do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Jill Sims
Deputy Supervisor
More Functional Website to Include Businesses, Events
The official website of the Town of Hillsdale,, has a new look. To make the website more helpful for town residents, it also has a more robust backend complete with new and improved organization for meeting agendas, minutes and video records. A fully functional notification system can email or text subscribers to the latest updates for agendas, meetings, events, etc.

This modern and mobile-friendly website was created by Town Web, a company that specializes in municipal websites, with the direction of former Supervisor Peter Cipkowski, along with Creative Director and Economic Development Committee member Tod Wohlfarth.

For the first time the town website includes a VISIT section that features town businesses and events. From where to eat or shop to who to hire for needed services such as lawn mowing or plumbing, to upcoming events, residents and visitors alike will be able to learn more about Hillsdale.

If you have a business in Hillsdale and would like to be listed, fill out this online form. You can include a featured image of your business or a logo, along with your location, hours, website and social media. Only businesses located in Hillsdale with a business license are able to be listed. The listings are currently under review and being edited. If your business has closed or has changed it hours, please submit the change in the form or email to remove the listing.

Event listings will be added starting in the near future.

If you find a bug or have any issue with the website, please email We will do our best to accommodate your request or issue.
Pumpkin Festival October 10
The ninth annual Hillsdale Pumpkin Festival will take place at businesses throughout Hillsdale and in the town’s Hamlet Park, at the corner of State Routes 22 and 23, on Saturday Oct. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy live music, seasonal displays and activities, a bake sale, a pumpkin pie-baking contest, community tables, police and sheriff’s department exhibits, a takeout BBQ dinner and, this year, a “Gathering of Scarecrows,” a competition to create and decorate scarecrows honoring “essential workers and hometown heroes.” 

Tour the Columbia County Sheriff Department’s Remote Police Command vehicle and sign up for the agency’s Child ID program from 12 to 2 p.m. Visit the dogs of the New York State Police Canine Patrol with demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. And check out the State Police “Rollover,” which simulates the injuries in a 35 m.p.h. crash on crash dummies to promote seat belt use, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Scarecrows will gather at Hillsdale Town Hall at 11 a.m. and move down Main Street to Hamlet Park for display all day. Vote for your favorites, with the winners announced at 3:30 p.m.

At the Roe Jan Library one mile south of the Hamlet Park, children can enjoy pumpkin painting starting at 12 p.m. (free, pre-registration required, call 518-235-4101 or email

Meantime, the Hillsdale Fire Department will hold a BBQ ($15, pre-order required, call 518-325-4721 or 518-325-5537). Food will be available for pickup at the fire station, just north of the hamlet on Route 22, starting at 4 p.m.

 Event co-founder Paul Amash Jr. said: “We are a small town, with a small festival but we do it like we do everything, with a big heart.”
Land Wanted for Habitat Project
The Hillsdale Housing Committee is interested in acquiring
a parcel of land in Hillsdale suitable for development as a small Habitat for Humanity project.

Habitat builds high efficiency homes in a contemporary style, geared to working families. Partner families undergo a vigorous application process to show credit worthiness and need. They are then required to provide 300 hours of sweat equity in the construction process and pay a low interest mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance and utilities. No government subsidy is involved.

The ideal parcel would be in or close to the village center, accessible to the sewer system. However, other parcels of at least an acre, suitable for a double house, will be considered as will an acre with an existing structure on it.

It would, of course, be best if the land could be donated or sold at a below- market price. The seller could then accept a tax benefit in lieu of the full market price. Consideration will be given to all suitable offers.

If you know of any land that might be available for this initiative, please call Janis Smythe at (518) 325-4223.
New Signs Point to Rail Trail
The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is now easier for visitors to Hillsdale to find thanks to new signs posted by the town’s Hamlet Committee.

Consistent with Hillsdale's 2010 Design and Development Plan, the Hamlet Committee has been working on installing better signage and wayfinding in the Hamlet, and decided to first tackle signage for the HVRT, as the trail head is not apparent from Route 23.

“We believe increasing usage of the HVRT in the Hillsdale area will bring increased customers for local businesses and restaurants and as a result, growth in economic development,” said committee chair Shannon May. Once construction is complete on the Rail Trail section between the Orphan Farm and Black Grocery trailheads, Hillsdale will be the northern terminus of 26.6 miles of trail starting at the MetroNorth station in Wassaic.

Two sets of signs were installed on Rt. 23 to direct people down Anthony Street and a third is on Anthony Street, near the Roe Jan Brewery. The design of the signs was inspired by the look of the historic Hillsdale Harbinger newspaper and are similar in design to the Welcome to Hillsdale signs. This is all part of the town branding campaign.

The Hamlet Committee funded the signs with proceeds from the 2019 Pumpkin Festival Bake Sale, and collaborated with Tod Wohlfarth from the Economic Development Committee on design.
Mrs. Pulver - Hillsdale Mover & Shaker
A number of women have had a large and lasting impact on Hillsdale and Columbia County. One of them was Ida Haywood Pulver, a well-educated (for her time) woman whose many professions — photographic hand-colorist, dressmaker-to-the-stars, Parisian milliner, fundraiser, gardener, historical society founder and overall local mover-and-shaker — kept her busy during her extraordinary 101 year life. Read about her at the Hillsdale Historians Blog.

And while you are there, check out the August post about Myles Standish of Mayflower fame and his connection to Hillsdale.
Absentee and Early Voting Information
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NYS Election Law was recently amended to allow EVERY VOTER who is eligible to vote in the November General Election to vote by absentee ballot. In other words, you may choose to vote by absentee ballot on the basis of “temporary illness or physical disability" or in-person. You do not need to be sick or infected with the COVID-19 virus. The risk of exposure to virus has been designated a sufficient basis to vote by absentee ballot.  

To vote absentee, download your absentee ballot application and return promptly to the Board of Elections (BOE) at 401 State Street, Hudson, NY 12534. October 27 is the last day to postmark application or letter of application for general election ballot. November 3 is the last day to postmark general election ballot by absentee. It must be received by the county board no later than November 10.

Early voting in Columbia County will be available on nine dates at 401 State Street in Hudson. Voting during early voting is the same as voting on Election Day. When you get to the early voting site, you will check in to vote, receive your ballot, and vote as any other election.

Every precaution will be taken to make voting at poll sites safe. All surfaces will be wiped down. Poll workers will be masked and will abide by social distancing rules. When voting in person, please wear a face mask and social distance. PPE will also be available on site. 

All votes cast during early voting will be included in the election night totals.