Hillsdale hears virus will limit roadwork, revenue

HILLSDALE–Due to Covid-19 related public gathering restrictions, the Hillsdale Town Board conducted the regular monthly meeting as a teleconference using the online video conference software Zoom Tuesday, April 14. The members voted, unanimously, to accept last month’s minutes with a 24-hour window to make corrections and request changes.

In his county update Supervisor Peter Cipkowski announced the requirement for government employees and workers deemed “essential” to wear face masks covering nose and mouth when in public and on work sites.

(As of Wednesday, April 15, Governor Cuomo said he planned to issue an executive order requiring all people in the state to wear masks or face coverings where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. The executive order would have the effect of a civil law and would take effect 3 days after the order is issued.)

The board discussed other Covid-19 related changes due to social distancing recommendations and anticipated reduced revenues. State support to municipalities through the state CHIPs program likely will be reduced by 20–33% due to sales tax revenue shortfalls. Roadwork will be limited to patching this year. Other cost-cutting measures include less frequent grass cutting.

Councilmember Robina Ward reported that there is no forfeiture revenue from the local court because it is not convening. Hillsdale’s share of traffic ticket revenue is $20 per fine and accounts for up to $18,000 annually.

Town Clerk Kathi Doolan reported no requests for pet licenses but said that she is still issuing marriage licenses, unlike Chatham. Other likely changes, according to Mr. Cipkowski, may include alternative arrangements for Tax Grievance Day, May 29; also summer camp programs are in limbo.

Nevertheless the town’s finances are in good shape. Mr. Cipkowski said that he does not expect to furlough employees but cautioned that the Town Board would “really need to be mindful of our spending going forward.”

In other business:

• Councilman Tom Carty said that Bank of Greene County awarded Hillsdale a $500 grant that would be dispersed among three committees: Safe at Home, Hamlet and Historic

• Mr. Cipkowski announced that Sheriff David Bartlett will make available to “seniors who feel vulnerable” visits from Columbia County deputies if they request one. The supervisor also suggested that the town website, www.hillsdaleny.com, list persons making masks. He identified Kevin Draves, owner of Passiflora, Councilmember Ward and Deputy Clerk Veronique Fabio as sources; although an apparent elastic straps shortage could hamper their efforts

• The supervisor also reported that the Census 2020 response deadline has been extended to the end of October. To date Hillsdale’s response rate of 31% is in line with a countywide response rate of 32%.

The next board meeting will be a virtual one Tuesday, May 12 at 7 pm.

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