HILLSDALE–The Town Board passed several resolutions at its monthly meeting this week. A request by the Farmers Market Committee to extend the season an additional eight weeks through to December 21 generated the most discussion.
The Farmers Market has operated in the Harvest Barn at Roe Jan Park for four years and its season traditionally runs for 23 weeks from the last week in May to the end of October. Committee spokesman Ron Bixby admitted that extending the market into the winter months of November and December is a “risky venture” but noted that 12 vendors have signed on.
Discussion focused on how much to charge the market for the additional weeks and whether to consider it a “fee” or “donation.” According to Mr. Bixby, the market “contributed” $500 to the town for the 23 weeks.
Supervisor Peter Cipkowski sought a $500 “fee” for the additional eight weeks.
Mr. Bixby countered that the market would not increase the $15 weekly vendor’s fee because “they are struggling” and that additional payment would have to come from the organization’s reserve fund. He stressed that the market’s objective was to meet its expenses and not to make money. “We are happy to break even.” He, also, noted that 15,000 people shopped at the Farmers Market in 2017 and that he expected the number of shoppers to increase by one thousand for 2018.
Mr. Cipkowski relented saying that personally he was “happy to waive the additional fee” so the market could proceed and stay open through December, and he called for a resolution to do so. The other board members agreed with the stipulation that the town and market formalize a payment agreement for 2019.
Other spending resolutions approved by the Town Board it the October 9 meeting included:
• $5,500 for a mower, if determined it was adequate to handle the terrain at Roe Jan Park
• $330 for equipment, including a projector, requested by the Conservation Advisory committee
• $1,500 for an initial mailing to every Hillsdale residence, requested by the Safe at Home committee.
In other business, congratulations were extended to board member and Clean Energy Committee Chair Tom Carty for securing an $85,000 state grant that does not require a match. The money will be used to replace Hillsdale’s 59 incandescent streetlights with LEDs and to add solar panels to the highway garage. The changes will help to reduce the town’s reliance on fossil fuel energy. Hillsdale is the first Columbia County town to receive such a grant.
The next board meeting is Tuesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.