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Elbridge board talks shorter weeks for highway workers

Whether or not to allow the Elbridge Highway Department to reduce summer work weeks from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days ignited a lengthy discussion among Elbridge Town Board members Wednesday April 21.

Ultimately, the board voted 3-2 to allow Highway Superintendent Dennis Pelmear the discretion to schedule work weeks as needed throughout the summer season, primarily to take advantage of the construction-friendly weather.

But the topic raised questions about how often the town makes use of other municipalities' equipment, particularly to complete large-scale construction projects.

"Could we get this work done without other towns?" Councilor Rita Dygert asked Pelmear.

"No. No way," he responded. "We need trucks from other towns, is the bottom line."

Dygert and Supervisor Ken Bush both expressed concern over how the town could evaluate the number of hours Elbridge staff work in and for other municipalities.

"How many days are we helping other communities, and how many days are they helping us?" Dygert said.

Pelmear argued that spending two hours each day just moving equipment shortened the typical eight-hour day to around six workable hours, restricting the progress the department could make during the summer.

In effect, a 10-hour work day allows the department eight full hours to work.

"No, it's not a perfect way, but it gets a darn lot of work done," Pelmear said.

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