Five of the six candidates looking to fill the three open seats on the New Windsor Town Council appeared at a Thursday night forum, discussing issues key to the future of the town ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Incumbents David Hoffman and Kimberlee Schultz, and fellow candidates Thomas Frank Gubernatis Jr., Terry Green and William Holl attended the forum moderated by Bob Blubaugh, editor of the Carroll County Times, at the New Windsor fire company. Candidate Michael Zepp was unable to attend the forum because of a work conflict. Earlier in the week, Michael Scott Barclay dropped from the race.

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New Windsor’s election will be held on Tuesday, May 14.

The candidates addressed a wide range of topics that affect New Windsor, including: the pay-as-you-throw waste program, water bills, the Dielman Inn property, and the town budget and revenue.

All the candidates except for Schultz were either against the controversial pay-as-you-throw pilot program, which ends in June, or would like to see it modified.

Election 2019: Get to know New Windsor's candidates

Six candidates are running for three open seats on the New Windsor Town Council in this year’s municipal election. 

“With the pay-as-you-throw, we were given the opportunity to not have a tipping fee, use the money from the waived tipping fee to give the residents the gift cards to buy the bags,” Schultz said. “Going forward, if we continued the program, we could be saving about $14,000 a year. For a little town like New Windsor, $14,000 is a lot of money. I just felt like it was my responsibility to try to save the town some money.”

Hoffman said he didn’t vote for the program because they were not ready to implement it for the businesses in town but conceded it is possible it could be beneficial depending on decisions the county makes regarding trash removal going forward.

Green said he is not for the program because the “market for recycling is despicable” but would possibly be for it if the market trends were better.

Holl is against it because the current council didn’t get communication from the commissioners, and he thinks everyone was happy with the old program and would like to return to that.

Gubernatis said he would look to repeal the program. He wants New Windsor residents to become more aware of the importance of recycling as a result of the program, though.

“Hopefully this program, whether it was to continue or not continue, has raised enough awareness amongst everybody that if we do a little more of our due diligence in the recycling capacity then we can have an impact,” he said.

When asked about the biggest challenge facing New Windsor, all candidates agreed that the biggest challenge is water and sewer bills.

“The biggest challenge we have is the water and sewer bill,” Green said. “So, what we need to look at is how do we lower it, because the water and sewer rates currently are your sole source or biggest revenue for the town, which is set aside to try to repair the infrastructure. How we get to fixing that is we got to look at what’s the potential of lowering, maybe, a small business tax to attract more businesses to come in and create more revenue. We need to look outside and find more revenue sources instead of having this as the majority of revenue coming in.”

When asked about bringing in more revenue to the town, each candidate had different ideas.

Hoffman mentioned the recent opening of a bar and grill and stressed that they need to look at the Dielman Inn as the economic center of town. Gubernatis wants to reach for outside help. Holl agreed with Hoffman in wanting to see businesses set up at the Dielman Inn site and wants to sell the old town hall building. Schultz brought up the idea of a coffee drive-through window and agreed with the idea of adding a splash park that Green mentioned earlier in the forum.

When asked about the town budget, Hoffman said he believes in the yearly balanced budget that the town operates on.

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New Windsor Town Council candidate withdraws; candidates forum set for Thursday night

The New Windsor candidates forum, sponsored by the community Media Center and the Carroll County Times, will take place Thursday at 7 at the New Windsor Firemen's Building, 101 High St., New Windsor.

“We utilize the resources we have to be able to generate income, so that’s a good thing for the town of New Windsor,” Hoffman said. “We need to keep operating within a balanced budget; that ensures that we do not have to raise the taxes. Everything you can imagine is in the budget.”

Gubernatis, Schultz and Holl agreed that there needs to be a balanced budget for the town.

The next question, which a New Windsor resident had submitted by email, asked about the cost of maintaining the Dielman Inn, the historic building that had once been a tavern.

Candidates Green, Schultz and Gubernatis were conflicted about what they want to do with the inn because of its rich history but also want to see growth in the town. Hoffman and Holl want to see it sold to the right buyer. No one wanted to see it razed.

“I think it can be an economic center for the town,” Hoffman said. “I think the town has taken the steps to preserve the building while we are looking for someone to purchase the building. It was important that we bought the building, so we were able to maintain control of that corner property right in the heart of town.”

Since start of pay-as-you-throw trash program, New Windsor's overall waste generation drops 26%

Since its launch in early November, New Windsor’s Fair Trash Reduction pay-as-you-throw pilot program, the town has seen overall waste generation decrease by 26%, according to the county Department of Public Works.

“One of the things we can do is push for the sales to a federal program, a state program with a historical nature to it so that we can keep the historical piece to it,” Holl said. “It’s sad, it has very historical history to it but it’s sad that it’s not to the point where it should be.”

To read more about the New Windsor candidates and their campaign positions, visit www.carrollcountytimes.com/elections.

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