STONE HARBOR – Budget problems in 2021, stemming, in part, from an emergency appropriation in 2020, left Stone Harbor in a less competitive position for attracting applicants for permanent and seasonal jobs in its Public Works Department.
The borough’s contract with the union representing the employees ended in December 2020. Negotiations for a new contract are ongoing.
With summer fast approaching, the department is strained, with several vacant positions among its regular staff and 13 open positions for summer help.
To recruit more effectively, the borough’s governing body adopted a resolution May 4, allowing it to advertise an increase in wages of $5 per hour for many of the union titles and positions. The increases will have to be incorporated in any final agreement on a contract.
The borough intended to raise salaries in Public Works at the beginning of 2021, but the impact on a budget already straining under the emergency appropriation, and a change to paid career firefighters in what was previously an all-volunteer fire department would've required a state waiver of budget cap limitations.
Faced with the likelihood the waiver would not be granted, the borough postponed salary increases in Public Works for six months.