Hillsdale has limited luck recruiting volunteers

HILLSDALE–The Town Board passed a local law last month increasing the number of seats on the Board of Assessment from three to five. So far the town has only received one letter of interest. Bill Sullivan is the applicant.

“If Bill is willing to serve, we should appoint him,” Supervisor Art Baer said at this week’s regular Town Board meeting.

A motion was passed to appoint Mr. Sullivan.

Town Clerk Ruth Dodds noted that another term on the board is up soon. The person currently filling that seat is unlikely to return, so there is still a need for two more people to apply.

Also at the Tuesday, August 19 meeting, discussion of the sidewalk project continued. Mr. Baer said that the board is looking into what it will “need to do procedurally to retain the engineering firm” for the project, as there are certain aspects in which town government cannot be involved. “By the end of the year, there will be an engineering firm working on the design for the sidewalk project. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s a huge deal,” said Mr. Baer.

The town already has a $750,000 grant from the federal government for the project as well as another $50,000 grant. The town must match some funds in order to receive its grant money. “Our obligation is roughly $130,000 to $140,000,” Mr. Baer said.

In other business at the meeting:

  • Between five and eight people are interested in connecting to the hamlet sewer system. Those connections, if approved, would make up an add-on to the existing district. “We have the capacity in the system,” said Mr. Baer. “It’s just a matter of cost to the resident” and the town, although the cost to the resident is larger
  • Mr. Baer has volunteered the Town Board to do a book reading at next year’s Summer Program. The members of the board looked surprised. “Supervisor’s prerogative,” said Mr. Baer
  • Board member Jill Sims-Elster discussed the increased demand for weddings in the park. She proposed hiring a wedding coordinator on a commission basis. A suggestion was made to advertise wedding services in the park at the community table at the Farmers’ Market, which continues to grow
  • Board Member Steve Tiger said that 60% of the most recent newsletters were opened, which is three times the standard rate. Many people were interested in an article about cabaret impresario Joe Zelli, who is buried in the town cemetery
  • Sheriff David Bartlett has agreed to write a monthly column for the newsletter. The newsletter might also begin to include obituaries and a police blotter
  • Board Member Carmen Barbato reported that a new truck has been purchased
  • Renovations on Town Hall continue, including windows, the portico, the columns and the steps. The steps are taking longer because local masons are booked up months in advance
  • A state audit of town finances continues. “Quote-unquote, they’re getting close to the end,” said Mr. Baer, after which it will take 30 to 60 days for the town to receive a report for the Office of the State Comptroller
  • Mr. Baer and Ms. Sims-Elster discussed the new 1.66% property tax cap for Hillsdale. “We won’t know the health insurance premium until October, so we’re going to have to guess for the preliminary budget,” said Mr. Baer
  • A request was made for $400 from the Celebration Fund for the October 11 Hillsdale Pumpkin Festival. The board granted the project $200
  • The board adopted a motion to raise the second notice fee for taxes from $1 to $2.

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