News from Town Hall

Happy September!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to send a note and give an update on our recent Town Board meetings. We had two board meetings in August – both were extremely well attended.
As you may know, Peter Cipkowski had expected to resign as Supervisor in the spring but stayed on because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re grateful for his service and for staying on through July to safely reopen Town Hall.
Though caucuses were not allowed because of the pandemic, the timing of Peter’s resignation allowed the Hillsdale Democratic Committee to appoint someone as its candidate. Also, it allowed an independent petitioner to secure a place on the November ballot. If there had been an active Republican committee in Hillsdale, they also would have been able to name a candidate.
At the August 11 Town Board meeting two board members nominated Robina Ward for Interim Supervisor. I abstained. However, the town attorney invalidated the vote two days later because it was not a majority of five. You can watch the video of the August 11 meeting. here:
After Robina Ward was invalidated as Interim, it was requested that a special meeting be scheduled for August 25 so the Town Board could revisit the topic and address other pressing matters. The Board did not select an Interim at that meeting, so I will continue to serve as Deputy Supervisor for the rest of the year. Though a Deputy Supervisor can’t vote at county meetings, the public is welcome to attend them. The schedule is available below:
COVID-19 Updates
We all know that there is uncertainty around the pandemic and whether it will resurge in the fall. You can be assured that I am in touch with the Columbia County Department of Health and that they issue updates to all supervisors and town clerks regularly. Kathi Doolan, Town Clerk, and I will circulate information as needed in this newsletter and on the town website.

Substation Lease Renewed
The matter of the County Sheriff Substation lease renewal was on the Town Board agenda on August 25, and we received many letters in favor of renewing it. Sheriff David Bartlett started the meeting by providing a brief presentation about the benefits of having the substation in our community. There were also many supportive comments from the public. I’m very happy that the Board voted to renew the lease for three years and, like many people, hope it will become a permanent fixture in our community. The Sheriff’s presentation is at the beginning of the video recording of the Special Meeting here:
Help with Newsletter and Website
The Town Board also discussed setting up a Communication Committee to help organize the newsletter and maintain the town website. The previous Supervisor managed both so it would be helpful to set up a small group who would like to work on this. Please contact the Town Clerk if you’re interested.
Planning Board Openings
We also learned that Planning Board members Hank Henward and Deborah Bowen will leave the Planning Board in the coming months. Hank is the current Chairman. We are so grateful for their many years of service and will be sorry to see them go later this year.
If you’re interested in being considered for the Planning Board, please send a letter of interest with your qualifications to Kathi Doolan. The Planning Board members help enforce Hillsdale’s Comprehensive Plan and have the final agency on land use applications. Each member is unpaid and is required to complete four hours of training each year and attend meetings regularly. They meet on the second Monday of the month.

Next Meeting is September 8
It was great to have so many people join us at our recent meetings. Town Board meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm, unless we call a special meeting. The next meeting is Tuesday, September 8. We will continue to host these on Zoom for the foreseeable future. Please join us!

Town Attorney Matt Cabral will be with us to discuss the Hecate Solar Project and respond to questions.

Zoom information, agendas, minutes, and videos are posted on the website when they become available:
Coming up later this fall: watch for opportunities to give us input as we move forward with the planning process for the Hamlet Park. Your participation will be critical to making sure the park reflects community needs. More details to follow.

Finally, Hillsdale Town Hall continues to be open to the public by appointment only. A link to the Town Hall directory with scheduled hours and employee contact information is provided below. All town employees and visitors are required to wear a face covering. When you arrive at Town Hall, the doors will be locked. Please call the person you are scheduled to see to announce your arrival or knock on the front door.

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Jill Sims
Deputy Supervisor