The Town of Shawangunk unanimously approved a new three-year agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association unit that represents the town’s 10 highway department workers at its June 17 board meeting.
In a 3-0 vote, the board approved a contract that runs from Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2023, according to the memorandum of agreement between the town and the CSEA. The previous contract expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
The new agreement calls for a 3.0 percent pay increase for the workers from July 1, 2021 through the end of 2021. There will be a 1.75 percent increase in 2022, followed by a 3.0 percent increase in 2023.
Supervisor John Valk seemed pleased with the new agreement and hoped it would ensure that Town of Shawangunk highway workers would remain with the town instead of opting for similar jobs in other towns or with the Ulster County Department of Public Works.
“The guys work pretty hard for their money, especially in snowstorms,” Valk said. “They’re very dependable. We want to keep them. Otherwise, they tend to jump to other towns or the county. We have that (situation) with the police, too. There are other police departments that pay more.”
Among the provisions in the new agreement is the “Snow Plow Incentive” that gives employees a $750 bonus for those who report to work for at least 75 percent of the “full-crew” call-ins for snow removal between Nov. 1 and April 15.
In other news at the board meeting, Wallkill Lions Club president Sal Patella asked the board for its approval to erect two benches at Lions Landing and one at Popp Memorial Park to honor deceased Lions Club members.
The two benches at Lions Landing will be in the memory of Chris McHugh and Patella’s late father, Sal. The bench at Popp Memorial Park will be in the memory of Delores Mader.
“The money we generate from donations from the community allows us to provide things for the community with such things as these benches at the parks,” Patella said in an interview with the Wallkill Valley Times. “I think they will be nice additions to the parks and I think it’s appropriate to honor these Lions Club members.”
Last year, the Lions Club in conjunction with the Ulster County Department of Public Works and the Town of Shawangunk enhanced a lot on the west side of the bridge on Wallkill Avenue and it was dubbed Lions Landing.
“We worked with the town and the county to clean it up, put grass in and planted some trees and shrubs that the state gave us since it is along the shore of the Wallkill River,” he said.
The board unanimously approved putting the three memorial benches at both locations. The Lions Club will pay for the benches. All will have plaques with the honorees’ names.
DeWitt, chairman of the recreation committee, announced the hiring of senior and junior counselors and counselors in training for the upcoming summer camp. The six-week camp will be held July 6 through Aug. 13 at Verkeerderkill Park and a possible second location.
The senior counselors hired by the town include Patty Williams, Julia Ramono, Lori Vantassel, Haley Dickson, Gabby Crusco and Lauren Ondreyko.
The new junior counselors are Rebecca Cannon, Kaydence Vermilling, Abreeanna Thomas and K.C. Webb.
The new counselors in training include Jesse Morse and Tyler Williams.
“I think we have a very good group for the camp,” DeWitt said. “I was a little concerned early on, but I think we now have a very experienced and qualified group. I’m very, very happy with who we have hired.”
Also, the board tabled action on extending a permit for a food truck that has been selling food and beverages across the street from the entrance to the Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail.
A complaint was lodged by an unnamed local business about the food truck at a previous board meeting, claiming that it was taking away business from local restaurants. Valk said he wanted to have more than just three of the five board members in attendance to discuss the issue before voting on the matter.