The goal of this newsletter is to share a bit of local news and shine a spotlight on the interesting things that are happening  in the Roe Jan community. Some news below.

Highway Superintendent Richard Briggs and Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski met with DOT Region 8 officials recently to discuss a variety of projects including a database of roads that tend to flood, vulnerable culverts, Whippoorwill Road, and paving downtown Hillsdale.

The  DOT also used the meeting to say that it wants to bring the Adopt-A-Highway Program to Hillsdale - a unique opportunity for local businesses and groups.  And with two state roads running through town (and more than a few litterbugs), there's way too much litter out there.

Here's the deal: Any business or organization may adopt a highway. The New York State Department of Transportation welcomes business, civic, fraternal, service, youth, senior citizen, scout, school, church, synagogue and neighborhood organizations.
Adopters are asked to commit to picking up litter along the section of State Route 22 or 23, which is usually two miles long, at least four times a year for two years.  The benefit for your group: the DOT will erect a blue-and-white Adopt-A-Highway sign within the adopted highway to acknowledge your group by name.
If you'd like to participate, contact Supervisor Cipkowski at

Taking advantage of its unique location in the beautiful Roe Jan Park with trails, a stream, and a community garden, Hillsdale's Summer Youth Program is focused on nature and the great outdoors.

Completed applications for summer 2018 are due April 30, 2018. They are available on the link below and at Hillsdale Town Hall during Town Clerk hours.  Quick facts:
  • This program is open to students ages 5 to 13.
  • 5-year olds must have had a year of kindergarten.
  • Campers must be no older than 13 on 07/03/18.
  • The 2018 program will start on July 2 and run until August 10.
  • Camp is closed on the 4th of July.
  • August 10th, the last day of the program, will be a half day. Campers will need to be picked up at noon on August 10.
  • 2018 includes swimming pool access on Fridays each week.
  • All registrations should be turned in with updated immunization record.
You probably haven't heard much about this but lo and behold there's a Special Election on April 24 for State Assembly District NY-107. Vote in person at the Hillsdale Firehouse. The polls will be open from 6 am to 9 pm.
Over-the-Counter voting is available at the Board of Elections at 401 State Street in Hudson on Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. Additional hours are available on Saturday April 14 & 21 from 9 am to noon.

Columbia County Board of Elections
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds us that residential brush burning is prohibited through May 14 across New York State.
The burn ban has decreased spring wildfires 35 percent since 2009. 
Currently, fire conditions in most of the state are low risk but things are expected to dry out.
Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires occur.

Photo: Members of the Hillsdale Highway Department removing a venerable old elm tree on the corner of Collins Street and the Extension. The elm was nursed by neighbors and hung on for years but finally succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Lots of cleanup underway around town now that the snow has finally receded.

The Town of Hillsdale is requesting bids for the maintenance of the Hamlet Park and other Town Gardens and Memorials.  The maintenance includes mowing, pruning, weeding and mulching.  A detailed list of the required maintenance is available by email:  or for pick-up from the Town Clerk on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 am - 1 pm.

Sealed bids must be received by mail or delivered by hand to the Town Clerk in the Town Hall,  PO Box 305, 2609 State Route 23, Hillsdale, NY 12529 by April 10, 2018.

Here's an impressive old photo looking down Anthony Street circa 1910.  According to maps from the period, it was known as Railroad Street, presumably because it led to the Hillsdale Station. The Hillsdale House, not pictured here, is to the left.  A crowd is standing outside what was a pharmacy, on the corner of Cold Water Street.  The small building wedged between the pharmacy and large Masonic Temple survives (it was a meat market back then), as does the building on the right (it was a hardware).  The families that owned and operated these businesses lived upstairs.

Such was life in a small town back in the day.

Sadly, a  1927 fire   destroyed the Masonic Temple and also took out the Presbyterian Church on Cold Water Street (you can see its roof on the left).  It is believed that Masonic Temple also served as the Town Hall with offices and such and that many records were lost in the fire.  The handsome pharmacy building was lost in a 1983 fire.  


You may remember that in our November newsletter we announced that the Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) had received a grant for the creation of a Hillsdale Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). As part of this project, the CAC is inviting residents and friends of Hillsdale to submit photographs for inclusion in the NRI. Photos should be of natural resources in the Town, including but not limited to interesting habitats, water features, animals, plants, scenic views, or other notable natural features. The NRI will credit the photographer for any photo that is used.

To contribute a photo or photos, please submit them to the CAC by email at In submitting photos, it is CRUCIAL that you change the file name to include the "what, where, who" of each photo. For example, you might title a file "PaintedTurtle_PleasantHillFarmPond_MarySmith.jpg". The CAC thanks everyone for their contributions.

Further information about the NRI, its contents and further steps in its development can be found on the CAC webpage.

The Town of Hillsdale's  Memorial Day Flea Market  is scheduled for Saturday, May 26. Potential vendors are encouraged to submit an  application  form ASAP to obtain a spot.

Over the past several months, you may have seen or spoken with the Assessor and/or Columbia County Data Collector as they traveled the roads re-inspecting and verifying property information.  The data collection phase has taken a bit longer than anticipated due to our recent weather conditions, but for the most part should be complete by the end of April or early May.

During the summer months, you will be sent a property description report listing the data collected for the property your own.  This will afford you the opportunity to review the inventory collected, provide input on the accuracy of the data and send comments and any changes back to the assessor's office.

There are several stages to the town's reassessment project with the data collection portion being the first step.  The following list provides the most important steps that take place during the town's project.
  1. Recollect and/or verify the inventory of all parcels in the town. This includes all residential, commercial and vacant lands.  Hillsdale has over 1600 parcels.   (completed within a month)
  2. Inform property owners of the data that has been collected. A property description report and inventory information will be sent to each property owner for their input on the accuracy of the data and returned to the assessor.  (summer 2018)
  3. Review the property owner's input and comments. Correct data if necessary, or make another visit with the homeowner.  This is a very important step as this data will be used in creating the preliminary value of the property.
  4. Compile and compare all sales data in the town.
  5. Perform initial valuation estimate.
  6. Inform property owners of the new preliminary assessed value by mail.
  7. Owners who wish to review their preliminary assessment and the information used to reach the new assessment, will schedule an appointment with the assessor. This provides the opportunity to discuss the value in an informal process.
  8. Notify homeowners of any change resulting from their appointment by mail.
  9. If property owner is still dissatisfied with their new assessment, a formal complaint can be filed. The homeowner then has the opportunity appear before the Board of Assessment Review on Grievance Day in May 2019.
  10. All new assessments go into effect September 2019.
Please remember that reassessments do not necessarily mean that your assessment or your taxes will increase.  Furthermore, if your assessment does increase, it does not necessarily mean your taxes will increase.  By law, a property's assessment is supposed to reflect its market value.  As market values increase or decrease and the assessments do not keep pace and reflect these changes, some property owners pay more than their fair share of taxes, while others may pay less than their fair share. Reassessments are intended to restore fairness within your community.
Thanks for reading this newsletter.  If you want to promote your upcoming event on the calendar (or share an old photo), I'd love to hear from you.
Peter Cipkowski, Town Supervisor and Town Crier