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Residents and employees of Sykesville will soon benefit from a number of important decisions made at the most recent town council meeting, including the appointment of a new police chief, the adoption of the fiscal year 2015 budget and the resolution to enter into the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Plan System.

The meeting began with the swearing in of Michael Spaulding as chief of the Sykesville Police Department. Spaulding comes to the town after 17 years with the Maryland State Police, Mayor Ian Shaw said.

"We had a very competitive process with 74 candidates, and we are very happy that Mike rose to the top of the list," Shaw said.

Spaulding said he's looking forward to serving the community, a place that felt like home from the moment he first visited Sykesville, he said.

"I'm going to do the very best that I can to prove that I am the right person for the job," Spaulding said.

Shaw also thanked Sergeant Shawn Kilgore and presented him with a certificate of appreciation from the Town Council for his service as the interim chief of police.

The council also passed a motion to adopt the FY15 budget. The town's total revenue is estimated to be $2,491,811, while the expected expenditures for the coming year are $2,530,800. Additional costs have come from patching and paving roads damaged during the severe winter and stormwater mitigation infrastructure costs.

To offset the imbalance, the council plans to use surplus funds from FY13 in the amount of $15,500 and will tap the unrestricted fund balance for the remainder of the difference, which is $23,488.

Tax rates for the town will remain the same, at $0.35 per $100 of assessed property value.

The council also passed a resolution to participate in the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Plan System. A vote by current employees was required to join, with a minimum of 60 percent approval needed. The employees voted to join emphatically, with 97 percent approving.

Current employees will be credited for 75 percent of their service for this year and the town council is considering asking the state Legislation to change the law to allow employees to have 100 percent of their service be taken into account when determining their retirement package going forward.

According to Dawn Ashbacher, town manager, one of the main advantages of joining the retirement system is the reduction of employee turnover.

"I'm hoping that having this in place will reduce the cost to the town and improve the service to the area," Ashbacher said.

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