The Shawangunk Town Police Department is another step closer to filling out its ranks.
Police Chief Gerald Marlatt reported at last week’s town board meeting that Ulster County is scheduling possible candidates for a physical agility test. Those that pass will be placed on the county’s certified eligibility list.
According to Town Supervisor John Valk, depending on when the county’s list becomes available, the town board could be hiring new officers as early as their next meeting on Feb. 6.
“We want to commend [Chief Marlatt] on the excellent job he did last year in running the department,” said Town Councilman Robert Miller, on behalf of the town’s police committee, and adding that they wanted to get his department back up to full strength.
The town’s police department has five full-time positions, however three of those are currently vacant and the police chief has been trying to fill the gaps with their part-time officers for several months.
“We know it’s a nightmare trying to schedule,” said Miller. “So our goal is to get him back up to five full-time officers.”
In the meantime, Chief Marlatt is moving forward with arranging for first aid recertifications for his officers, preparing for the start of this year’s DARE program next month and working with Ulster County regarding the recent criminal justice reforms.
The town board voted to approve the purchase of several AED units for the town, either from state bid at $995 per unit, or from another source at a lower cost.
In other business, the board agreed to postpone any action on the new comprehensive plan as the Ulster County Planner asked for a month’s time to provide comments.
“I’d rather get their comments back before we adopt it,” said Supervisor Valk. “They may see something we should have included.”
In the meantime, the town is receiving $250,000 in grants to complete projects in the town.
The first project is a culvert on River Road near the transfer station. Two separate grants are funding the project, for a total amount of $150,000. Valk explained after the meeting that engineering and other items need to be completed before work can begin, so the project may not be completed this year.
The town also received a grant for $100,000 to replace the 27-year-old roof on the pavilion at Popp Park and install ceilings in three town park pavilions, including the one at Popp Park.
The ceilings are in response to issues with birds nesting in the pavilions and the resulting unsanitary conditions. Valk noted that the town has already installed a ceiling at the pavilion in Galeville Park and it’s working beautifully.
Valk stated that while the grants were actually obtained a couple years ago, they just received the signed contracts that allow the town to move forward with the projects.