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Perry elected mayor, Hibell tapped as deputy mayor during Middletown reorganization

MIDDLETOWN – Township Committee members Tony Perry and Rick Hibell have been elected to serve as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, for 2022 by their fellow members of Middletown’s governing body.

The Township Committee held its annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 2 in Middletown’s new municipal building. Perry and Hibell are joined on the governing body by Kevin Settembrino, Ryan Clarke and Kimberly Kratz. All five elected officials are Republicans.

In the November 2021 election, Perry was elected to serve a three-year term that will end on Dec. 31, 2024 and Kratz was elected to serve a two-year unexpired term that will end on Dec. 21, 2023.

Perry was appointed to the Township Committee in 2017 to fill an open seat. In November 2018, he was elected to a three-year term. He served as Middletown’s mayor in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Kratz was appointed to the Township Committee in 2021 after Patricia Snell stepped down from her seat prior to her family’s move from Middletown.

At the start of the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting, Monmouth County’s new surrogate, Maureen Raisch, administered the oath of office to Perry and to Kratz.

Perry was then elected by his fellow committee members to serve his fourth consecutive one-year term as mayor and Hibell was elected to continue serving in the position of deputy mayor.

In his mayoral address, Perry said he was “very humbled to have been selected by my colleagues to serve as mayor.” He noted the historic moment in Middletown’s 358-year history of opening a new municipal building.

“Middletown has stood the test of time … we keep pushing forward … and this building will serve as a symbol of what people are capable of … ” he said.

Perry said 2021 was a year of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic; a year that he said was marked by a continuing fiscal responsibility on behalf of residents by members of the Township Committee.

“You can expect that same fiscal responsibility in 2022,” he said. “Fiscal discipline will remain the top priority of this Township Committee … and our efforts to enhance the quality of life in Middletown” will continue.

Perry reviewed how Middletown’s government used funding the township received to assist local business owners as they dealt with the ongoing effects of the pandemic; and he noted how the governing body acted to acquire and preserve the Fairview fields from being developed so the community’s young athletes will be able to continue to use those fields to hone their skills.

The mayor announced two initiatives for 2022: first, a renewed effort to address the issue of abandoned properties in the community, and second, the establishment of the Next Generation support program to assist Middletown’s children as they continue to deal with the social, emotional and academic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

As he looked ahead to a new year, Perry said, “Perseverance is the heartbeat of Middletown and perseverance is the heartbeat of our nation. Let us continue to write a history we can be proud of.”

During his remarks to the audience, Hibell focused on the volunteers who serve in Middletown’s fire department and emergency medical services department. He said the volunteers in those departments answered more than 5,000 calls for assistance during 2021.

“Our volunteers in the fire department and in EMS provided 66,000 man hours of service during 2021. I find that amazing,” Hibell said, and he thanked the chiefs of the departments and all of the volunteers for their efforts on behalf of the municipality.

Perry and Hibell both thanked the professionals who serve Middletown and municipal employees for their efforts that support the Township Committee as its five members oversee the operation of the township.

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