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.

Kati Bell, who previously served as court clerk in the Town of Copake and deputy court clerk in Chatham, now serves as Hillsdale's court clerk.  Kati is a Red Hook native and lives in Claverack with her husband and two small children.  She holds an associate's degree in criminal justice from Dutchess Community College. 
Hillsdale/Copake native Teri Traver is Hillsdale's deputy court clerk and brings years of experience as a bookkeeper and deputy court clerk in the Town of Copake.  In addition to assuming new part-time duties in Hillsdale court, Terri also assists Hillsdale's building inspector.  Teri has three grown children and is a grandmother to four.  

Court Clerk Office Hours:
Tuesdays 9 am - 4 pm
Wednesdays 9 am - 4 pm
Thursdays 9 am - 3 pm
On DA court days, the third Wednesday of the month, Noon - 4 pm  
With a unique location in the beautiful Roeliff Jansen Park, Hillsdale's summer youth program puts an emphasis on nature and the great outdoors.   The 2018 summer program is open to children ages 5 to 13 and runs from July 2 through August 10. 

At $100 per student for six weeks, some families can not afford the additional fees needed for field trips and certain activities.  Your contribution can fix that.

The 2018 program leaders would like to surprise every campers with several new nature-oriented and agricultural programs and field trips this summer - open to all.   Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to support additional programming and ensuring that all campers can participate.  Make your check out to the Roeliff Jansen Park, and mail it to P.O. Box 305, Hillsdale, NY 12529.  Write "Support Summer Kids" in the memo.

Photo below: The crew from Summer 2017!

The Hillsdale Town Garage on Old Town Road will be open on Saturday, May 19, from 9 am to noon for Spring Clean-up.  If you have stuff to discard, come on down.  1 load per resident!

As usual, donations will be accepted - this year to provide funds for Town activities such as the Holiday Tree lighting.

What you cannot bring :  Household garbage, TVs, computers, computer screens, electronics, paint, paint cans, oil, oil cans or barrels, chemicals, fertilizer or pesticides or their containers, hazardous materials of any kind, brush, construction debris or tires.

Additional charges: 
  • Mattresses and box springs $20 each
  • Regular sofas $10 
  • Sofa beds and recliners $12
From Hillsdale Town Assessor,  Pamela Cook .  Pursuant to Sections 506 and 526 of the Real Property Tax Law:
  • Notice is hereby given that the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Hillsdale is completed and a copy thereof may be seen at the Hillsdale Town Hall during normal business hours until May 24, 2018.
  • Notice is hereby given that an Assessor will be in attendance with the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Hillsdale at the Town Hall on May 10 & 19, during the hours of 4 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, May 10, and from 9 am-1 pm on Saturday, May 19.
  • Notice is hereby given that the Board of Assessment Review for the Town of Hillsdale will meet to hear and examine all properly filed complaints in relation to assessments of Real Property at the Town Hall, 2609 Rt. 23, Hillsdale NY on May 24, 2018 during the hours of 4:00 to 8:00 pm.
  • A publication containing procedures for contesting an assessment is available at the Assessor's Office, at the Columbia County Real Property Office as well as online.
Early last month, Charter received this letter from the Town of Hillsdale.  And though we're still waiting for answers,  the activity on many of our roads has not been unnoticed.

According to Kevin Egan, Director of Government Affairs for Charter Communications, "we're actively upgrading and expect to provide the Hillsdale addresses that are part of our existing service area some options and new services by late summer."

Once launched, Egan reports, "customers will have access to Charter's full slate of Spectrum services," including:
  • Spectrum Internet, which features starting speeds of 100 Mbps with no data caps or contracts.
  • Spectrum Voice, with unlimited local and long-distance calling.
  • New, more robust Spectrum TV offering with more than 200 HD channels, interactive guide and access to thousands of hours of On Demand programming.
  • Spectrum features standardized nationwide pricing - you can find that info and current offers at
According to Egan, the best number to call for information (and to find out if you are part of an existing service area) is 855-757-7328.  "But you can't sign up for advanced services until later this year."

Fairpoint, now Consolidated, also reports inroads as their trucks work their way south into Hillsdale from Austerlitz.  Management says its willing to sit down with the Town and answer our questions but we're still waiting.

Tim Belknap, a former Hillsdale resident, contacted our Hillsdale historians in search of information about James Donald "Don" Bell, who practiced law in Hillsdale in the early 20th century.  When they heard about his family history and saw the photographs, they knew it would make for an interesting post.  Here's Tim in his own words:
Did you know we recognize every May as Older American's Month?   The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that you're never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.   It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.
With this in mind, the Town of Hillsdale is looking for volunteers to serve on a new Safe at Home committee. The committee's primary objective will be to (a) identify the many resources available in our communities that can help our neighbors stay safely at home and (b) to get the message out to the folks who can benefit from helpful services.
Please consider joining Joyce Lapenn and others on this important new committee. If you're interested, please email Peter Cipkowski at
One of the reasons we need the above mentioned committee is because information like this needs to reach the folks who need it most and are almost certainly not reading this newsletter.  Shopping assistance is available for our neighbors who are homebound or are physically unable to perform the walking and lifting required for shopping.  Referrals for this service are accepted from family, friends, physicians and other health and social service agencies assisting older citizens as well as the prospective client themselves.
Shopping is done on a bi-weekly basis.  The client provides a shopping list and check for the staff shopper to purchase groceries from the closest supermarket.  Once the items have been purchased, the shopper is available to put the groceries away if help is required.  Both the shopper and client sign a receipt when the groceries are delivered.  The shopper will call a day or two in advance of the shopping trip to see if there are any changes to the original shopping list.  For more information, c all 518-828-4258.

Hundreds of shoppers and dozens of vendors are expected at Hillsdale's popular annual flea market, set for May 26, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  The nonprofit event, which raises funds for town beautification projects, is located in Hamlet Park, just southwest of the intersection of Routes 22 and 23 at the traffic light.  Organizers are seeking vendors selling goods ranging from toys, kitchenware, furniture and clothing to antiques, jewelry, collectibles, art and handmade items. 

The application deadline is May 15.   The market will open at 8 am for early-bird shoppers, at a charge of $10 per person.  Free attendance will begin at 9 am.  The market will end at 3 pm. As this is an outdoor event, a rain date for severe weather is set for Sunday May 27, with the same times.
As part of the fundraising effort, muffins, brownies, cookies and other goodies created by town bakers will be offered--last year, we sold out early!   If you'd like to help by baking something please email the organizers at  In addition, the Hillsdale Fire Department's grill team will be on hand to sell lunch foods and other items.

More information on the market can be found on the event's Facebook page,  If you'd like to join our volunteer team to help set up and run the market, it's always appreciated!  Send an email to


It's Copake's turn to host the Memorial Day parade this year.  See you there at 11 am on Monday, May 28.  Next year, back in Hillsdale!

Photo above:  Credited to B. Docktor at Hillsdale's centennial rededication of the Soldier's and Sailor's monument on Memorial Day 2016.

On Sunday, June 3, beginning at 10 am, the annual 5K gets underway at the beautiful Roeliff Jansen Park to raise funds for local scholars at Taconic Hills.  Pre-register for $20 or for $25 on the day of the event.  Please contact Joe Raco at (518) 929-9960 if you'd like to participate or volunteer.  Or just mail your pre-registration check, made out to "TH Dollars for Scholars," to Joe Raco, PO Box 593, Philmont, NY 12565.
Runners, walkers, teams, and cheerleaders welcome!  Don't want to walk or run?  Come and watch or volunteer your time for a great cause!
All proceeds benefit Dollars for Scholars and scholarships that honor the Titans we've lost.
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 this month.

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 our community.

Photo above: the joyful wedding in Town Hall of Marleny Estrada and Erick Vanegas!

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