Palmyra council had its reorganization meeting on Jan. 6, a session led by Mayor Gina Tait with a full agenda.
Council began by swearing in new members: Natasha Latimore and Ted Rosenberg will serve three-year terms. Council also elected Timothy Howard its new president in a unanimous vote.
Tait then gave her State of the Borough address.
“Over the last year, we secured grants to help with road work all over the borough,” she noted. “Work was done in front of the elementary school and this year, the back will be finished. We acquired grants to get more firefighters into the fire stations.”
The mayor also touched on other upcoming construction projects in the borough.
“A second warehouse will be built in the borough after receiving a permit,” she announced. “The Knights of Columbus building has been bought and will be repurposed.”
As for community news itself, Tait laid out the following.
“The 15th precinct will be working to combat noise violations this year and keep them to a minimum,” she explained. “There will be several flu and COVID clinics available. Mobile Grocery will be available on Thursdays, still in front of the community center from 2 p.m. through 3:30.
“The borough has acquired two new trash trucks to help combat the trash problem,” Tait added. “A new contract will be negotiated with Republic on March 31. We will work on a new schedule for trash and do it one section of town at a time.”
Tait went on to say that 500 coats were delivered to disadvantaged children thanks to donations and that there will again be a baby clinic. Palmyra Day and other community events will be repeated this year.
Council received a letter commending the Palmyra police department for helping the Bread of Life Pantry distribute food to more than 160 families. The letter stated that the police went above and beyond in the effort, with some going so far as controlling traffic. The missive was sent by Dale Ness, pantry president.
Council then opened the floor to public comment, but only one person spoke: Former mayor Michelle Arnold.
“You have completely taken the public out of being able to make comments,” she pointed out. “Moving this meeting to 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon – as you can see, there is no one here. In order to get a response on an issue, you require people to submit a comment 24 hours in advance?
“Making only one public comment section early on before the resolutions and making it two minutes for someone to speak is beyond egregious.”
Arnold urged the public to attend meetings and offer recommendations for council on projects in the future.
“When I was the mayor, I gave the public two chances to comment,” she said. “One early on and one towards the end of the meetings. I also gave people five minutes to speak instead of two minutes.
“This lack of commitment by the council shows just how much they don’t care about the public.”
The next council meeting is set for Feb. 6 at the borough hall.