Hillsdale adopts $1.8M budget; supv. leaving in 2020

HILLSDALE–The Town Board met Tuesday, November 12, and unanimously passed a $1,895,041 budget for 2020. In an email Supervisor Peter Cipkowski said that town revenues and spending will be about the same as the last two years. The Highway Department accounts for 68% of the budget.

In the county report, Supervisor Cipkowski noted that Columbia County led all counties in the state in the percentage of voters who chose to vote early, as opposed to waiting until Election Day.

But the complete numbers were not yet available at the time of the meeting and the supervisor called the delay “untenable.”

Mr. Cipkowski, also, lamented a write-in effort against his reelection as supervisor. He charged that the campaign was “very divisive” and spread “misinformation.”

In October Mr. Cipkowski released a letter acknowledging that his spouse would be moving to Los Angeles in January 2020 for new employment, and that he, too, would be moving without specifying when. During the November 12 meeting Councilman Steve Tiger sought clarification on when Mr. Cipkowski would be leaving Hillsdale.

The supervisor responded, “Some point in 2020 I will resign.”

The meeting started with a presentation by Steve Grimm, a technician with the New York Rural Water Association. Mr. Grimm encouraged the board and attending public to form an advisory committee to evaluate the town’s sewer district. In past town meetings, Mr. Cipkowski has spoken about the need for Hillsdale to add a second sewer district.

Mr. Grimm recommended that an advisory committee consisting of eight to ten members, including the supervisor, town clerk, a board member, the waste system operator and residents, who actually use the sewer system. He said he would act as a facilitator and that his services would be gratis to Hillsdale because he is a USDA employee. Response to his presentation from the board and audience was positive.

In committee reports:

• Infrastructure chair, Councilwoman Robina Ward provided background information on a potential snafu regarding sewage usage by businessman Steve Bluestone’s proposed brewery. She, also, read a letter from a state Department of Environmental Conservation official clarifying that potential obstacles to the brewery’s opening have been corrected. Because the brewery, once opened, likely would output more than 2,500 gallons of sewage daily into the existing system, Hillsdale would be required to apply for a sewer expansion permit. The brewery would be denied a hook-up, despite its location within the sewer district, until Hillsdale filed for and received an expansion permit.

But Ms. Ward said that the town engineer discovered that the water flow meter was not installed correctly and that accounted for flow rates above acceptable levels. With the flow meter correctly installed the town’s flow rate readings now fall within acceptable levels and Hillsdale should be able to handle the additional waste generated by the brewery without needing the special permit

• Mr. Tiger, Human Resources Committee chair, reported that the town and Highway Department employees have negotiated a new contract and that the next step is for union ratification to implement it.

The next board meeting is Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

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