HILLSDALE–The monthly Hillsdale Town Board meeting last week was dominated by a presentation from Consolidated Communications, Inc. (CCI) representatives, Peter Mercer and Bill Mulrein. The company plans to compete with Spectrum/Time Warner for franchises to provide cable television service to Hillsdale and other towns in the Hudson Valley. Consolidated already provides internet and phone service in Hillsdale and many other towns following its recent acquisition of Fairpoint Communications.
Mr. Mercer used a census map of Hillsdale to identify areas that currently are underserved, namely the northwest, southeast and west end sections. He also fielded questions from town Broadband Committee chair, Andrew Dash.
According to Mr. Mercer, the state agreement that underwrites a significant amount of the costs for service providers to upgrade their systems, bars towns from entering into an exclusive franchise agreement with any service provider. Hence CCI’s bid to enter the Hillsdale cable TV market.
In response to questions, he said that households with multiple televisions would need only one box, which would be hard-wired and run off a fiber network, while other televisions in the household were connected wirelessly. Mr. Mercer estimated that if Hillsdale awarded the company a television franchise, it would take two years to fully install television service.
He added that CCI rates would be cheaper than Spectrum but that customers would have to make a two-year commitment. While he would not discuss rates at the meeting, Mr. Mercer did say that a basic television package could start at low as $37 per month.
The process going forward is: if the Town Board accepts CCI’s application, terms will be negotiated, then a public hearing is set.
In other town business:
• Tax Collector Joe Hanselman reported that 88% of real property tax revenue for 2019 has been collected so far and that on-line payments increased from 64%, last year, to 81% this year
• Parks Committee Chair Jill Sims-Elster reported that applications for Hillsdale’s summer camp program will be available on the town’s website starting April 1. The review of those applications starts May 1 with Hillsdale residents getting first priority for placement. She added that there would likely be two job positions to be filled
• The board discussed an Irrevocable Offer of Session from Tory Hills Associates regarding a 0.93-acre parcel, located southwest of Whippoorwill Road near the intersection with state Route 22. Area residents say that intersection is a traffic hazard due to limited visibility for vehicles entering Route 22 from Whippoorwill.
The resolution would transfer the parcel to the town. The dissolution of the Tory Hills Association partnership triggered the Irrevocable Offer of Session.
The board decided to shelve a vote on the resolution until completion of an engineer’s report about the best way to proceed with Whippoorwill. “No sense in taking anything off the tax roll until there’s more definition,” town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski wrote in an email.
The next board meeting is Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m.