New Windsor budget hearing set

Taxes would not rise under 2005 spending plan

April 09, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A public hearing will be held next month on New Windsor's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, which would not raise taxes but would shift police duties from a resident state trooper to a deputy sheriff as a way of saving money.

The savings could go toward a new volunteer fire company building.

Councilman Neal Roop said the town's operating expenses would be $337,082 in fiscal 2005. About $62,000 has been allotted to the capital budget for items such as repairs to streets and Town Hall and new holiday decorations.

Town residents can comment at a public hearing during the council meeting May 5.

The budget requires "no tax increase and no slots," said Roop, who prepared the budget. "It allows us to keep our tax rate the lowest in the county," at 16 cents per $100 of assessed value.

In recommending a part-time Carroll County sheriff's deputy for police service, Roop projected a savings to the town of $9,199 in fiscal 2005.

Roop said that New Windsor would not use the deputy who serves nearby Union Bridge. In 2002, Union Bridge changed from a resident trooper program to a sheriff's deputy. For more than a decade, the two towns shared a trooper as their primary law enforcement officer.

The cost per week for 20 hours of service would be $36,827 for a deputy and $46,026 for a resident trooper, Roop said after Wednesday's council meeting.

Roop suggested using the savings to make a $10,000 donation for a new building for the New Windsor Fire and Hose Company No. 1.

The volunteer company plans a ceremonial groundbreaking at 1 p.m. June 6 for a $3 million fire station that will have bigger bays, space for a banquet hall, kitchen and offices, and better road access than the station on High Street.

Roop said the capital budget also includes $10,000 for Christmas decorations because "they are in sad shape - they almost fall apart when you take them down." Other capital budget items include repairs for water damage and replacement of some tiles at Town Hall, and repairs to some town streets.

In other business, the council voted to annex 28.6 acres, although there are no plans to develop the property. Owner Trudy Snader said her family has put several hundred acres into farm preservation.

"It's really just changing a line on a map," said Michelle M. Ostrander, the town attorney. Once the property is annexed, the town gains control of any future development.

Mayor Sam M. Pierce also announced that bids will be opened later this month for two projects: a 375,000-gallon elevated water tank, and the relocation of a sewer line on the site of the new fire company building on Atlee Avenue.

Pierce also said he wants to "spruce up" the New Windsor entry sign on Route 31 with plantings. "The sign looks pretty stark now, sitting there by itself," he said.

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