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News From Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

At its September meeting, the Town Board adopted Local Laws 1, 2 and 3 of 2023. LOCAL LAW # 1 amends the code for exemptions for emergency workers (fire fighters and ambulance workers) to bring the Town current with the County by establishing a 10% exemption on assessed property value, and lists qualifications for exemption. LOCAL LAW # 2 provides real property tax exemptions for persons with disabilities and limited income, with graduated levels of exemption from 5% to 50%, and LOCAL LAW # 3 amends the current law with respect to senior citizens with limited income, also on a graduated scale from 5% to 50%. In doing so, the Town will provide much needed tax relief for these residents.

The 2024 budget building process is proceeding on schedule. The Tentative Budget, representing the submissions of department heads, has been completed and will form the basis for our Budget Workshops on October 4, 5 and 11 at 3:00 PM at Town Hall. The Tentative Budget will be posted on the town website in advance of the Budget Workshops. The public can attend the Workshops at Town Hall or via Zoom. (Links below.)

Contractor bids were due on September 22 for our Town Hall repairs. I am very pleased to report that the Town received five bids for the major repair project and an additional five bids for our much needed roof repair work. The engineers from CPL are carefully evaluating these bids and will make their recommendations in the coming days for consideration by the Town Board.

At this writing, the mural project, inspired by the Town’s Economic Development Committee, is fast nearing completion with a ribbon cutting planned for October 14.

A note of congratulations to the organizers of last weekend’s Roe Jan Ramble, co-sponsored by the Town of Hillsdale. Over 270 riders and 40 volunteers participated under challenging weather conditions. Their grit and determination give pride to all of us in the Roe Jan community.

As this newsletter was going to press, we were advised of the passing of our friend and colleague Mike Scheller, who has given outstanding service to the Town as our Sewer District Operator. We will miss him dearly and send our deep condolences to his wife Robin and family.

I wish you a happy fall season that is off to a busy start. As F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

October Town Board Meeting

The October Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, October 10. 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. 

Budget Workshops

Time: Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5, 3PM


Dial in: 646 558 8565 Meeting ID: 834 5196 5903

Time : Wednesday, October 11, 3 PM


Dial in: 646 558 8565 Meeting ID: 881 7532 4184

The tentative budget is available on the Financial Statements page of the town website.

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board
2024 Tentative Budget

Town Developing Emergency Response Plan

An Emergency Response Plan for Hillsdale has been drafted by Town Board member Robina Ward, based on the plans of other towns. (See link below.) The plan will guide the town in preparing for and reacting to emergency situations so that life and property can be saved if the town is threatened or hit by a disaster and major emergency. The plan lays out the responsibilities and functions of town officials during an emergency. Town Hall would serve as the Emergency Operations Center and the Hillsdale Firehouse would be the Emergency Shelter.

The board is reviewing the plan and will discuss it at the October meeting. Once the plan is approved the town will recruit residents to be on an Emergency Preparedness Committee that would assist in case of an emergency.

Draft Emergency Response Plan

Wording Approved for Roe Jan Park Rules Signage

Users of the Roe Jan Park have expressed concern about dogs off leash and had other questions about park rules. That prompted the Town Board to review all the park rules, including rules for dog owners and handlers. All the rules will now be posted on new signs posted where most people start their walks in the park. Link below to read all the rules.

The rules re dogs include:

  • The Town of Hillsdale, its officers, employees, and volunteers shall not be liable for any injury or harm to any person or dog incurred or caused by any person or dog in connection with use of Roeliff Jansen Park or the park’s dog run.
  • Owners are responsible for all actions and behaviors of their dogs and shall be responsible and liable for all injuries or damage caused by their dogs while using Roeliff Jansen Park or the Roeliff Jansen Park Dog Run.
  • Owners must keep their dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length when entering Roe Jan Park and before moving the dogs into the off‐leash Dog Run area.
All Roe Jan Park Rules

Get Rid of Hazardous Waste on Sunday, October 29

The next opportunity to get rid of whatever household hazardous waste you have accumulated is at the Columbia County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Sunday, October 29 from 8 AM to 12 PM. You will take your waste to Columbia County Commerce Park, 50 Grandinetti Drive, in Ghent. The entrance to the event will be on the Route 66 side of the Commerce Park. Proof of residency is required for the event as it is for Columbia County residents only. Link below for a list of what you can and cannot bring for disposal.

Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Historians Get in the Spirit of Halloween

Ever wonder why we put on costumes, bob for apples, trick-or-treat, and create mischief for Halloween? Wonder no longer. The Hillsdale Historians have done the research for you and their October blog post tells the story. What began as a Celtic festival marking the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter was “Christianized” as All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve in the eighth century. In 1893 the Hillsdale Harbinger, the local newspaper, reported on Hillsdale's Halloween festivities. Hillsdale’s Pumpkin Festival will not take place this year but the Hillsdale Firehouse is holding a Halloween Party for kids (see article below). Click below to read the Historian's story of Halloween.

Hillsdale Historians Blog

Of Note.....

As of January 1, 2024, residents disposing of household garbage must purchase official Columbia County waste bags to dispose of their garbage at the county Solid Waste stations. Tags will not be accepted after December 31. The bags may be purchased at any of the stations by check or money order only, made payable to The Columbia County Treasurer. Small bags are $1, medium are $3 and large are $5.


At the September Town Board meeting the Board approved a proposal from engineering firm Ryan Biggs Clark Davis to inspect the town owned West End Road Bridge. The firm will determine what repairs are necessary and feasible to keep the bridge open until the town can apply for, and hopefully be awarded, a Bridge NY grant from the state.


Also at the September meeting, the Board approved spending up to $23,000 to repair and seal the sidewalks along Route 23.


The Hillsdale Copake Fire District 2024 Budget Hearing will be held on Thursday October 19, 2023 from 6 PM – 9 PM at the Hillsdale Firehouse, 9387 State Route 22. Voters can get information about the budget and cast a vote of approval or disapproval. The 2024 budget is $284,897, up from $279,311 in 2023. The fire district/taxpayers own the trucks and equipment and the district pays rent to the Fire Company for storage of them. The Fire Company owns the firehouse.

Hillsdale Copake Fire District '24 Budget


The Planning Board is still in need of a secretary, an integral part of the Hillsdale Planning Board. Chief requirements include attending monthly meetings, (second Monday of the month at 7 PM), preparing accurate and complete minutes, and managing correspondence with the public. Hours vary, but average 10 per week. This is a paid position. For further details, please contact the Chair of the Planning Board, Barbara Pascale, at [email protected].


Just a reminder -- the Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market is still open, every Saturday from 9 -1, through November 18

Safe at Home to Do Chores for Seniors

 and Learn About and Walk the Rail Trail

Seniors can still sign up to have outside chores done for them on Senior Chore Service Day, Saturday October 21. The Safe at Home Committee sponsors this day to help seniors who may need some help around their homes. Seniors should contact Natalie at 518 265-2113 to request help getting ready for winter. The seniors who participated last year were very pleased! The committee is also looking for folks who want to volunteer to do the chores. Call Natalie for that as well. Volunteers from last year say it’s a fun and satisfying day.

Dick Hermans, former chair of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, will be the speaker at the Safe at Home’s Coffee Hour on Tuesday, October 31. Hermans, who has been involved with the rail trail since its inception and served as chair for over 25 years, will give attendees the latest scoops on what’s going on with the rail trail and its expansion plans. A longtime resident of the area, he grew up in Jackson Corners and is the owner of Oblong Books in Millerton and Rhinebeck.

Coffee Hours are at The Hillsdale House from 10 -11:30 AM. Coffee and muffins will be served and camaraderie and compelling conversation can be expected.

Every Wednesday since early July (except just one week when it rained) Safe at Home Walkers have been walking on the rail trail, starting from the parking lot by Herrington’s at 9:30 AM. Walks will continue as long as the weather is conducive to enjoying the rail trail and walking with friends old and new. New walkers are always welcome.

Hillsdale Task Force Working Toward Silver Status

as a Climate Smart Community

Silver Level status in the New York State Climate Smart Communities Program is the current goal for Hillsdale’s Climate Smart Communities Task Force. The first objective is completion of a Vulnerability Assessment to identify locations that may suffer moderate to severe damage due to high winds, flooding, excessive rain, drought, or extreme high or low temperatures, and to identify local resources and plans that will assist the town’s responses to the effects of climate change. Hillsdale’s information will be part of a county-wide assessment, and a draft Columbia County Vulnerability Assessment document is expected in spring 2024.

Next, the Hillsdale Task Force will work on a range of actions related to reducing energy use, shifting to renewable energy sources, using climate-smart materials in town structures and operations, implementing climate-smart land uses, supporting a green innovative economy, and enhancing the town’s resilience to the effects of climate change.  Significant progress on these actions will enable the town to achieve Silver Level status as a Climate Smart Community.

Earlier this year, Hillsdale achieved Bronze Level status by reaching numerous goals related to energy efficiency, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, and resource conservation. Hillsdale’s Task Force documented these and other accomplishments with the assistance of town staff and with the guidance of the Cornell Cooperative Extension staff.

Fire Company to Hold Fundraising Dinner,

 Halloween Party, and Boot Drive

The volunteers of the Hillsdale Fire Company are holding a fundraising Spaghetti Dinner at the Firehouse on Saturday, October 21, from 4 - 7 PM to raise money for Maci Jane Cayea, a seven year old who is battling stage four neuroblastoma cancer. Maci Jane and her family live in Hillsdale. On the menu is spaghetti with meatballs or sausage, garlic bread, salad and dessert. Dinner for adults is $15 and for children four to ten, $10. Children three and under eat free.


The Fire Company's annual Halloween Party for the children of Hillsdale will be held at the Firehouse on Saturday, October 21, at 5 PM. First the kids will take a hay ride through the hamlet, leaving from the Firehouse at 5. After the hay ride the party continues in the Firehouse where everyone will be able to show off their costume. There will be singing and dancing, candy, refreshments, and gifts for all the kids. Adults are invited to come in costume, just as the kids do.

If you drive through the Route 22/23 intersection on Saturday, October 9, you will have the opportunity to donate to the Fire Company. Members will be in the road, boots in hand, for the annual Boot Drive fundraiser. As owners of the firehouse, Fire Company members raise funds to pay bills for insurance, electricity, heating oil, and regular maintenance on the building. The Hillsdale Fire Company is a non-profit.


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

  • Webinar: Life and Legacy Estate Planning
  • Community Read - Story Walk: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  • Community Read - Meet the Illustrator of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  • NYS Citizen Emergency Preparedness Training
  • Qigong & Tai Chi every Thursday
  • Octagon Club: conversation and camaraderie for those 80+
  • Tea Time at the Library: Dan Levy talks about Energy Efficient Homes
  • Group Photography Show - photos by community members
  • Cookbook Club: Cook and bring a classic French dish
  • 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: Pumpkin Painting (with hot cider and cider donuts), Community Read Program: Build Your Own Windmill, 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 has thousand's of books for sale! Lots of fiction, plus memoirs/biographies, mysteries, cookbooks, art, fantasy/science fiction, children’s books, gardening, hobbies/crafts, history/politics. and much much more. Still, they are always looking for donations of more. Books will be accepted at the Book Shop on the lower level of the library every Saturday from 10 AM - 1:30 PM. The Book Shop is open every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board will meet at Town Hall on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 PM (in person only) to hear the application of:

  • Special Permit application by Jim Wright, dba Grass Fed Arts LLC, for the annual renewal to hold the music festival on September 4-8, 2024 at Cool Whisper Farm, 1191 County Route 21.

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, October 13, 3 PM

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

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, October 18, 11 AM


Passcode: 892468

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  861 5487 4762

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, October 26, 7 PM

Town Hall

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

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