Hillsdale expects to save by moving its money

HILLSDALE–The Hillsdale Town Board approved several resolutions at its monthly meeting on November 14 including a decision to move its accounts to the Bank of Greene County and to renew service contracts with the Community Rescue Squad and Columbia-Greene Humane Society.

The switch to the Bank of Greene County was bolstered by a projection of savings up to $10,000 annually, because the accounts would be interest bearing and incur no fees. Key Bank, formerly First Niagara, is the town’s current financial institution.

Town employees who do not use direct deposit would have to go to Copake to cash payroll checks. Supervisor Peter Cipkowski expects to complete the accounts transfer by the end of the year.

The contract renewal for services with Community Rescue Squad entails a 1% increase for Hillsdale. The town’s contribution currently is a little over $106, 000, which represents 22% of the Rescue Squad budget. Copake pays the greatest share at 48% of the squad’s budget.

There will be no increased costs to Hillsdale in the contract renewal with Columbia-Greene Humane Society. The town pays $35 per day per stray or abandoned dog. If the animal remains unclaimed after 10 days, the town is charged an additional $300 and it becomes the property of the society and can be eligible for adoption. In an email Mr. Cipkowski stressed the importance of dog licenses.

The Town Board tabled a request from individuals of the United Methodist Church to set up a “blessing box” on town property. Mr. Cipkowski said that the “blessing box” would allow people to “come and take what you want” anonymously.

Board members raised several questions. Robena Ward asked where it would be located. Steve Tiger asked who would monitor it so that expired foods were not included. Carmen Barbato acknowledged that it’s a “nice thing to do but dangerous too.”

Other questions were posed regarding vandalism and the town’s liability.

Food baskets will be distributed on Saturday, November 18, starting at 11 a.m., to 160 local families. The baskets can be picked up at the Fire Department.

By the end of the week Hillsdale will be the first Columbia County town with an electric car charging station, which will be located in the town parking lot. The charging station is a Climate Smart Committee initiative.

Hillsdale has been awarded a $24,000 grant to inventory the town’s natural resources according to Gretchen Stevens, a former chair of the Conservation Advisory Council. Ms. Stevens said most of the money is to hire a consultant for the two-year project, which begins January 2018.

She noted that New Lebanon recently completed its natural resources inventory and produced a 300-page document. The resource inventory project will assist with future town planning.

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