MILTON — Since graduating from college, Jessie Novinger has been focused on working for municipal governments.
Novinger has been on the job for about three weeks as Milton’s new borough manager. She replaces Chuck Beck, who retired after more than 40 years working for the borough.
Novinger, who lives in the Sunbury area with her husband Ben and 2-year-old son Brantley, is a graduate of Selinsgrove Area High School.
In 2010, she received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from West Virginia University. She also holds a master’s degree in integrated marketing concepts.
“I’ve only done municipal work since I graduated,” Novinger said.
Most recently, she worked for three years as director of Recreation and Special Events for the City of Williamsport.
Her responsibilities included applying for grants, supervising 45 summer and seasonal employees and overseeing a $400,000 annual recreation budget.
“I definitely feel like working with a budget, supervising personnel, grant writing and working on big construction projects has helped to prepare me for what I will do now,” Novinger said. “A lot of the qualities for the borough manager position, I felt I met those.”
She feels well suited to serve as borough manager for other reasons as well.
Novinger attended college in West Virginia as she initially thought she wanted to be a forensic pathologist, and the school is known for having a leading program in that area. She switched to public relations when she realized she would be better suited for a another career field.
“I came back (to Pennsylvania) because this is where my family is,” Novinger said. “This is a good place to raise a family.”
By working in Milton, Novinger noted that she’s also closer to her home in the Sunbury area than when she was working in Williamsport.
“I grew up in this area and I wanted to stay in this region,” she said.
Novinger is enjoying working in the borough.
“It’s very friendly,” she said. “Going to have lunch, people say hello to you, not even knowing who you are. It reminds me of (Selinsgrove).”
A certified swimming pool operator, Novinger said she’s impressed with the Milton Community Pool, Brown Avenue Park and the other parks situated within the borough.
“Milton has a nice recreational set of assets,” Novinger said.
She credited Beck and other members of the borough staff with helping her ease into her new position.
“Chuck is a huge help,” Novinger said. “Chuck is a wealth of legacy knowledge. I will never take that for granted.”
The fact that she doesn’t have an extensive knowledge of Milton’s past could be a challenge to Novinger.
“My biggest challenge will be not having the legacy knowledge that Chuck has,” she said. “I will be relying heavily on other borough staff for that historical knowledge.”
She’s excited to continue pushing projects forward which have already been started in the borough.
Novinger noted that the borough is continuing to seek grant funding to cover a reconstruction project along March Road in the Milton Industrial Park.
The borough previously announced it would be receiving a $1 million Multi-Modal Transportation Fund Grant for the project. The borough is in the process of applying for additional funds for the project, estimated at more than $2 million.
In addition, Novinger said the borough will be working with SEDA-COG to potentially receive funds that could be used to address problems with blighted properties.
As part of her position, Novinger is anticipating the opportunity to meet community members.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in the community,” she said. “I have an open-door policy. I would love to hear what (residents) love about the community as well as what they feel needs fixed.”
Borough council approved Novinger to fill the manager position at its May 22 meeting. She will be earning $65,000 per year.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.