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Highway workers take complaints to the town

New Scotland officials hear complaints about working conditions and salaries

The New Scotland Town Board held a special meeting the morning of Wednesday, April 14, at the town's Highway Department to discuss with employees issues regarding pay raises and the condition of the town garage.

I think the board is convinced we have to fix this facility or build a new one, said Town Supervisor Tom Dolin. The facility at 2869 New Scotland Road, which is more than 40 years old, is suffering from infrastructure, air quality and space issues, according to staff of the Highway Department.

"In the wintertime you recirculate the same air; it gets pretty nasty," said Kevin Mabie, of the Highway Department.

Chris Zautner, another worker in the department, said that fumes from the building's furnace make eating lunch in the break room almost unbearable.

"It's disgusting. You wouldn't want to be up here," he said.

Zautner also said that after starting the trucks up at the garage in the morning, it's difficult to breathe inside the facility.

Another concern voiced by workers dealt with the building's water and drainage systems. "We are washing salt off the trucks with salt water," said John Hensel, of the Water and Sewer Department. He also said runoff from the facility flows down New Scotland Road.

Dolin admitted that the facility needs to be replaced.

"I think this facility has seen its day," he said.

According to Dolin, the issue is convincing the taxpayers to approve of what he estimates to be a $5 million to $7 million project.

He said the town knew since a study was done in 2001 that there were issues with the building.

"In the past, it fell off the table because numbers are so mind boggling," said Dolin.

One of the ideas proposed by Dolin was to construct the new facility by using a modular design, gradually phasing out of the old facility over time, also spreading the cost out.

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