Hillsdale increases exemptions for veterans

HILLSDALE– At its February monthly meeting, the Hillsdale Town Board voted unanimously to pass Local Laws 1 and 2, which increase home assessment exemptions for veterans and extend exemptions for Cold War veterans.

Current exemptions range from $24,000 to $80,000 and will increase to $36,000 to $120,000. The extension also eliminates the 10-year limit on exemptions.

Veterans who served during wartime, in combat zones or are disabled are entitled to the higher exemptions. Cold War veterans must have served from September 2, 1945 through December 26, 1991. According to the county’s real property tax service agency, 73 veterans in Hillsdale are receiving the veteran exemption.

On another topic, new board member Tom Carty said Hillsdale is eligible to apply for a state grant intended to help reduce the town’s energy usage and costs. While he was chair of the town’s Climate Smart committee, now known as Clean Energy, Mr. Carty guided the town through the necessary steps to win NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) certification, a requirement for grant eligibility.

Mr. Carty reported at February monthly meeting, that the grant’s value is $80,000 and if awarded does not require a match. Proposals for the grant include replacing the town’s street lamps with LED lights and adding solar panels to service the town garage.

The deadline for grant submission is March 31.

In other business this month:

• The board voted unanimously to appoint Carla Ingersoll the Town Court clerk. She has been acting court clerk since December 2017

• Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski announced an information meeting February 24 at 11 a.m. to discuss the final phase of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Broadband For Everyone” initiative and its impact on mid-Hudson residents.

Fairpoint Communications has been awarded slightly more than $3.2 million to connect homes to fiber optic cable in designated census blocks. In an email Mr. Cipkowski expressed concerns that “too many Fairpoint clients will not be covered.” The meeting will be held at Copake Town Hall. Representatives from Fairpoint and Spectrum have been invited to attend.

Fairpoint was recently acquired by a company called Consolidated Communications; Spectrum is a brand of cable TV and internet service owned by Charter Communications

• The KISS program, a document shredding service for seniors, resumes March 19 and runs through the March 30, according to Town Clerk Kathi Doolan

• Board member Jill Sims-Elster announced that applications for summer camp will be available on the town’s website April 1. Completed applications are due May 1. The program serves 60 children.

Ms. Sims-Elster said that there would be no fee increase this year and that there would be two entry level positions for counselors

• The Town Board endorsed the outline of plans offered by Supervisor Cipkowski to consolidate and realign the various town committees. The plan calls for folding the Hamlet and Historical Hillsdale committees into the Development, Marketing and Design Committee.

Mr. Cipkowski explained that individual projects, like historical cemeteries and historical homes tour undertaken by the Hamlet and Historical Hillsdale committees, could be coordinated, publicized and facilitated better by an umbrella committee like Development, Marketing and Design. The supervisor also allowed that the standing committees of Aging, Housing and Clean Energy could use the Development, Marketing and Design committee as a resource for projects they generate.

The next board meeting is Tuesday, March 13, 7 pm.

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