By Steven Hoffman
For the third year in a row, the first Monday in December was designated as Borough Day in Oxford, with borough officials hosting an open house where residents could meet with Oxford Borough employees and elected officials, ask questions about how the government works, and enjoy some food and refreshments.
There was a good turnout for Borough Day this year as residents steadily streamed in from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to borough manager Betsy Brantner.
Brantner said that the topic that people asked about most was the 2014 budget that borough council is set to adopt this month.
“The budget is important to everybody,” she said.
One visitor during the afternoon was Buzz Tyson, the director of the Lighthouse Youth Center. Tyson has been working closely with Oxford this year as plans for a new center move forward. He talked to John Schaible, the supervisor of Public Works, about new developments in the project.
State Rep. John Lawrence stopped by for a while and was able to answer some questions from constituents.
Brantner said that Borough Day presents an opportunity for elected officials, whether it's a council member or State Rep. Lawrence, to meet constituents and to listen to their concerns. It is also a chance, she said, to talk to residents about how the borough works, including how Oxford must, in some instances, defer to other governmental entities as some issues are under local control while others are guided by federal or state regulations that the borough must comply with.
Schaible said that he appreciates the opportunity to meet with residents and answer their questions or respond to their concerns.
“I think it's a wonderful event,” he said. “We do this to have an informed public.”
Schaible added that there is an open-door policy at Oxford's borough hall, and employees are always willing to answer questions or assist residents in any way that they can. But the Borough Day is an opportunity for those people who might not want to attend a borough council meeting or to ask questions during the course of a typical business day.
Visitors enjoyed seasonal favorites like hot chocolate and apple cider, as well as doughnuts and other refreshments.
Brantner said that the relaxed atmosphere of the event probably makes it easier for some residents to drop by and talk to borough officials rather than trying to bring the subject up at a council meeting.
“It seems a lot more inviting this way,” Brantner said.