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Middletown Township Mayor Tony Perry, the youngest mayor at the Jersey Shore, is expected to be reappointed to that position for 2021 when the town committee holds its annual reorganization meeting on Sunday January 3, according to spokesperson Tara Berson.

Perry will also become the first Middletown mayor in 46-years to serve three consecutive years since Thomas J. Lynch between 1972 and 1974.

At the reorganization meeting on Sunday, Rick Hibell is expected to be chosen at the Deputy Mayor for 2021, his first time in this particular role.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve as Mayor over the last two years and I look forward to continuing the important work that is ongoing in 2021,” Mayor Tony Perry said in a statement Tuesday. “Despite COVID-19, this Township Committee did not slow down on any of the initiatives and projects we started in 2019 and early 2020, and as we begin to emerge from this pandemic, it is imperative that we continue to provide our residents with innovative solutions which will keep Middletown a great place to live and raise a family. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues on the Committee for their leadership and trust to once again serve as your Mayor.”

Rick Hibell was appointed to the Middletown Township Committee in 2018 and currently owns a marine construction company in Middletown.

He has also served as a member of the Middletown Township Planning Board and is a second generation Fire Chief and Life Member of the Middletown Township Fire Department.

"I’m honored to have the support of my colleagues to serve as Deputy Mayor in 2021," Committeeman Hibell said in a statement. "I look forward to working alongside Mayor Perry and the Township Committee to continue providing sound fiscal policies."

There have been challenges and issues in 2020 outside the pandemic that Mayor Perry and Police Chief Craig Weber have had to address on various occasions.

Between August and September there were a series of anti-police rhetoric spray painted along residential areas of town.

In September, the 'artists' spray painted anti-police acronyms including ACAB which stands for All Cops Are B......s and F... ICE on the roads themselves across Howland Road, Tatum Drive, Pelican Road and Borden Road as well as an electrical box.

It was Pelican Road and Borden Road where suspects spray painted a series of writings in August including ACAR which stands for All Cops Are Racist.

Middletown Mayor Tony Perry said on Facebook following the first incident that the township Department of Public Works was cleaning the road of the messages and also sent a message to the artists of the anti-police murals in the road.

"Let me be abundantly clear to the individuals responsible for this: know that you aren’t heroes and you’re not affecting change...you’re cowards."

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden addressed the first graffiti incident on Facebook as well, giving credit for the quick response by Mayor Perry and recognizing that this incident does not reflect how most people feel about law enforcement.

"Thank you Middletown Mayor Tony Perry for your unwavering support of Law Enforcement. This is disgraceful and disgusting and certainly doesn’t represent the majority of our residents in Middletown and Monmouth County. Support the Blue."

In October though, the town received some good news on a different front but related to crime.

The most populated town in Monmouth County and 4th most at the Jersey Shore (trailing Lakewood with 102,915 residents, Toms River with 92,191 residents and Brick with 74,712 residents) had the lowest crime rate for 2019 for towns with populations of 50,000 residents or more according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, shared by Middletown Township Police Chief Craig Weber in October of 2020.

Middletown has a current population of 65,469 residents.

Most of the offenses as of 2020 in Middletown are for Larceny.

Chief Weber said that the UCR calculates the crime rate based upon the number of incidents of Part I crimes that are reported per 1,000 residents in communities.

Last year, the crime rate in Middletown was 5.75 according to the FBI which is the lowest crime rate in Middletown since the UCR was first started.

The UCR report uses recent numbers between 2009 and 2019 that show crime in Middletown has dropped about 55% in that span which includes a 7.5% reduction between 2018 and 2019.

Chief Weber explained that the statistics are based on Part I crimes, which include Murder, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny, Auto Theft and Arson.

You can watch Middletown’s upcoming Virtual Reorganization Meeting on Sunday, January 3rd at 10 a.m. via live stream on Webex Event Center from the Courtroom at Town Hall.

Committeewoman Patricia Snell and newly-elected Ryan Clarke will also be sworn in at Sunday’s meeting to serve their respective three-year terms.

Head to www.middletownnj.org for more information.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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