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New Windsor council approves pay raise for employees, new public works position in next budget

The New Windsor Town Council voted Wednesday to approve the town’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which includes raises for all town employees and a new public works position.

The meeting, held remotely via video conference, started with a public hearing on the budget. Councilwoman Kimberlee Schultz addressed concerns she heard regarding the raises, as well as concerns from the public works department.

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Schultz said she spoke to Wayne Myers, the town’s director of public works, who mentioned that he had concerns about not being able to get valves to work when they go in to do some work, that the fire hydrants haven’t been flushed since 2009 and that the staff has concerns about not having enough time in the day to get things done because there’s so much to do.

“I did not have any concerns about the changes in the public works department before we had the last meeting, but I did want to do a little research,” Schultz said. “After talking to Mr. Myers, I feel really comfortable with these changes; as a matter of fact, I’m really going to be concerned if we can’t make them. I’m a little worried about some of the maintenance issues getting worse.”

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Councilman Ed Smith said he also met with Myers and heard the concerns, and said he agreed that there was a need for another public works position since the lost of Jack Coe, who served the town for 60 years until his death in December, and with employees getting a pay raise. But did raise an objection with the budget, though.

“The timing of it, with everything that’s happening with not knowing where funding is going to be cut off or if everything is going to be fully funded by the state or the county,” Smith said. “So, my concern was timing.”

With Gov. Larry Hogan’s Wednesday announcement that his administration was moving to the second phase of his reopening plan, Smith said his concerns were lessened but he maintained his opposition due to timing.

Councilman Edwin Palsgrove told Smith that he understood his concerns about timing but added that they have to be prepared and give their staff the resources they need in order to keep the town in a good position.

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Councilman Dave Hoffman said he has been a strong advocate for the public works department and getting pay raises to all town employees.

The council approved the budget on a 3-1 vote, with Hoffman, Palsgrove and Schultz voting for and Smith against. Councilman Terry Green was not present at the meeting.

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