Tioga Borough Council held its first regular meeting this week since reorganizing and voting in a new president at a special meeting last month.

Bill Preston will serve as new council president, Brennan Wood as vice president and Luann Wheeler as president pro tempore after the three, along with councilmember Bob Wertz, called for the special meeting Sept. 23.

According to a post on the Facebook page of Mayor David Wilcox, the agenda for the special meeting included reorganization, security and financial statements at monthly meetings.

“It is exciting to see that in just one week we are already improving our policies, procedures, processes and most importantly, communication,” said Wilcox on his Facebook page.

At the regular meeting Oct. 4, council voted to accept a letter of resignation from former council president Doreen Burnside, who is resigning completely from council after serving 19 years.

According to borough solicitor Jeffrey Loomis, council has 30 days from accepting Burnside’s resignation to replace her vacant seat. That person could then run as a write-in in the November election. Burnside will still appear on the ballot as the deadline has passed to add or remove names.

Police coverage issues

Tioga currently doesn’t have much police coverage, if any, said Wilcox at the meeting Monday.

“I’ve gotten calls from 911 dispatch asking why our police aren’t responding to non-emergency calls,” said Wilcox, who as mayor oversees the police department. “I’ve also gotten no response to calls and texts.”

Two part-time officers, one who serves as chief, are still on the borough’s payroll, but haven’t turned in recent time sheets, said Wilcox. He clarified this just means they haven’t worked or been paid; since they’re part-time, they don’t receive benefits or pension.

However, it also means Tioga Township, which contracts with the borough for 20 hours of police coverage per week, doesn’t have local coverage either. In this situation, state police out of Mansfield responds to calls in both municipalities.

Wilcox also said borough councilmember Steve Hazlett indicated both officers plan to resign. Hazlett said he didn’t say that, but at least two council members and a borough employee indicated they recalled the claim.

At council’s July meeting, Chief Zac Moss said he’d be resigning as chief by the end of the year, but would stay on as a part-time officer. Neither of the officers’ plans are clear as of the meeting this week.

Also at the Oct. 4 meeting, council decided to look for new online avenues to advertise for a new officer after running a classified ad in this newspaper. Some websites mentioned were Indeed, CareerLink, PA Jobs and Twin Tiers Help Wanted.

Also at the meeting, council:

  • Voted to set trick-or-treat for Saturday, Oct. 30, 6-8 p.m.
  • Reviewed a noise ordinance drafted by Loomis, who noted that both the borough code and the state’s criminal statutes on disorderly conduct already reference disruptive noise. The proposed noise ordinance would prohibit excess noise between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except for necessary, lawful activities.

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