Oxford benefits from public servants like Brantner
● By Steven Hoffman
In 2001, the seven men and women who were serving on Oxford Borough Council at the time selected Betsy Brantner as the next borough manager.
The wisdom of that decision unfolded over the course of the next 15 years as Brantner led the small but dedicated staff through the inevitable ups and downs of running a small borough government.
The challenges facing a small Pennsylvania borough are great because small towns in the U.S. are not what they once were, and because these small towns are impacted by so many outside factors. During the last 15 years, there have been two economic downturns, a Great Recession, a banking crisis, federal and state government shutdowns, terrorist attacks on the U.S., and much, much more.
Meanwhile, Oxford has persevered and progressed during a time when many small towns have not.
Building a vibrant downtown one small piece at a time takes hard work from a lot of different people—especially in a time when consumers can secure almost any good or service that they want with the few clicks of a mouse. In Oxford, a small group of people have worked tirelessly so that the town can take two steps forward after the inevitable step back.
Before she was hired as borough manager, Brantner had previously worked for the borough on a part-time basis, helping officials apply for grants. Her knowledge and skills in this area certainly benefited the borough and its citizens. Oxford has secured more than $5 million in grants since Brantner came on board, leading to significant infrastructure upgrades that would not have otherwise been possible without the state and county funding.
The largest project, in terms of scope and impact, was the streetscape improvements on Third Street, the heart of Oxford's business district.
There were waterline projects on Pine, Fourth Street, and South Street. There were streetscape projects that improved South Third Street, Broad Street, North Third Street and Lancaster Avenue, and Market Street.
Work is currently underway on improvements to Wheeler Boulevard, a project that was made possible by a grant of $575,000 from the county.
No municipality in the area offers the full range of services—from full-time police protection to public works—while operating under a razor-thin budget. One of the reasons that Oxford has been able to do that is the experienced staff that knows the ends and outs of virtually every expenditure that the borough makes. The town benefits from the knowledge and insights of longtime public servants—the Henrys, the Hersheys, the Teels, the Brantners—who love Oxford and make it a priority.
We wish Brantner well on her next endeavor, and we hope that the seven current council members select a new borough manager who will continue the good work that has been underway in Oxford.