NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Town Council swore in the new mayor at annual re-organization meeting Saturday, July 1.

After an Invocation by Reverend Anwar Qarmout from the Christ Community Church, the meeting started with a designation of Kevin Elvidge as the temporary Mayor, who nominated Wayne Levante as Mayor.

A unanimous roll call vote selected Levante as the new Mayor of the Town of Newton. Levante was sworn in with his wife and two daughters by his side.  Once sworn-in, Levante nominated Elvidge as Deputy Mayor of Newton. With another unanimous roll call, Elvidge was selected as Deputy Mayor.

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Town Manager, Thomas S Russo Jr., thanked Sandra Diglio, former Mayor and current Councilwoman for serving as Mayor for the past year and helping turn Newton into a great community to be a part of. Diglio was not at the meeting.

Levante and Elvidge each thanked those in attendance including three freeholders, Sylvia Petillo, Carl Lazzaro, and George Graham, acting fire chief, Police Chief Michael Richards, Newton Board of Education members John Jackson, Ray Morris, President Stella Dunn, and Vice President Jessica Eigner, along with the winners of the Little Mister, Little Miss, Miss Newton competition; Ian Patrick Dodd and Alexander Michael Avila who won Co-Little Mister Newton, Emily Rossi as Little Miss Newton, and Lisa Qarmout as Miss Newton, and family and friends of the council members.

Levante went on to inform the public about three of the items he hopes to debate and/or implement during his term as Mayor.

“The first one, I want us to increase our focus on redevelopment in the core of the town by building upwards and urbanizing the downtown even more so…There are two areas in need of redevelopment that I want us to focus on, the first is 206 from the green until the Shoprite and the other location is Spring Street.

“Number two, I want to allow residents to upgrade their properties without a tax penalty…by extending the tax abatement program to the entire town for a short period of time to encourage improvements and increase property value…

“Number three, I’m also proposing that we eliminate all fees associated with opening up a business in the downtown.”

After congratulations were given by councilman Daniel Flynn and Councilwoman Helen LeFois, the meeting continued with the approval of the consent agenda which included appointments and designations of certain council members fulfilling roles on other boards, as well as the designation of Theresa Schlosser as the Tax Search Officer for the Town of Newton for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year.

A Benediction was given by Reverend Qarmout before the adjournment of the meeting, where pictures of the new Mayor and council were then taken.