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Hillsdale gets cracking on sidewalk details


HILLSDALE—The Town Board took the next step in its ongoing project to repair the Town’s sidewalks this week, authorizing creation a special sidewalks development account, which will make it easier to keep track of the money involved in the sidewalks project.

The account will not be entirely separate from the general account, but it will separately list incoming funds and expenditures having to do with the sidewalks project.

With the town receiving over $500,000 for the project from the state, “eventually, we’re going to be audited on the sidewalk project,” said Supervisor Art Baer at the board’s Tuesday, November 18 meeting.

The board designated $30,000 from its general account for the sidewalks account and plans to add $30,000 more at the beginning of January. Most of the money spent from these accounts—Mr. Baer listed the percentage as $0.80 per $1—will be reimbursed to the town from the Department of Transportation and other sources. But the town must have the money available up front to pay for any costs before it gets reimbursed.

Most of this initial $60,000 will go towards “soft costs,” which include things like engineering fees as opposed to construction expenses. “That should set us up for next year,” said Mr. Baer. The board hopes that sidewalk construction will begin in 2016.

The board also heard Tuesday from Highway Superintendent Richard Briggs that the town’s new truck, an International Paystar 7600 that will be used for snowplowing, will cost $216,473. Mr. Briggs advised that the truck should be ordered before the end of the year or the price will go up, because the town will have to order a 2016 model instead of a 2015.

Mr. Briggs reminded the board that when the town purchased a truck in 2007, board members at the time waited until the very end of the year, and the company didn’t have any trucks available.

Mr. Baer asked that Mr. Briggs order the new truck, as the board had “already approved” the purchase. Once he orders the truck, it will probably take six to eight months to arrive.

In other business, the board:

  • Heard from Town Historian Peter Cipkowski that the Civil War uniform of Captain John Bingham Collin, a Hillsdale resident, will be displayed in the Town Hall along with the uniform’s case and a painting of Captain Collin done by his wife, Lucy. “She was no schlub,” said Mr. Cipkowski. Mr. Baer told Mr. Cipkowski to pick a spot for the display, “keeping in mind we do have court here and we do have prisoners here.” The display will up through the winter before being moved to several other towns in the county
  • Heard from Gretchen Stevens of the Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council that councilmember Ed Fredrick has resigned. David Lewis, who was in attendance, has written a letter expressing interest in the position. Ms. Stevens said that Mr. Lewis “seems to have the kinds of qualifications we’re looking for.” The board was unable to appoint Mr. Lewis at the meeting because they have not yet received Mr. Fredrick’s letter of resignation. Also, the position may not have been advertised yet
  • Renewed the town’s agreement with the Columbia-Greene Humane Society for a $305 per dog impoundment fee with a $75 rebate if the owner picks up the dog within 24 hours. Town Clerk Ruth Dodds said she thought the town might be overpaying for some animals. “What happens is that sometimes the owner shows up and pays, and then we pay anyway”
  • Heard Mr. Baer and Mr. Briggs agree that it was a bad idea for the Columbia County Board of Supervisors to get rid of the position of Public Works Commissioner. The position was held by David Robinson
  • Heard that the winter farmers market will be held November 22 and December 13 at the Copake Grange. Laura Griffin, chair of the Hillsdale Business Alliance, hopes that the Hillsdale Firehouse will be about to host the winter farmers market in the future
  • Learned from Ms. Griffin that the Hillsdale Business Alliance website is up and running at
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