TOWANDA - Tom Fairchild Jr. is retiring from his combined position as Towanda Borough manager and manager of the Towanda Municipal Authority.

Fairchild, who has served as the borough/Towanda Municipal Authority manager since 1985, will retire effective May 1, according to Towanda Borough Council President Mark Christini.

The borough has begun advertising on and on the borough's website for a replacement, who will serve as both manager of the borough and manager of the Towanda Municipal Authority. Fairchild "will be extremely difficult to replace, but I'm hopeful we'll have many qualified applicants," Christini said.

The issue of Fairchild's retirement was raised during the beginning of Monday's Towanda Borough Council meeting by former Towanda Borough Council member Rick Lewis.

Lewis said the borough should require that the new borough manager become a borough resident after the person is hired.

"I think (he or she) should put up with the same things that the rest of us do," Lewis said. If the borough required borough residency, the borough manager "would have a much better understanding of what goes on in the community," Lewis said.

Christini said after the meeting the council will not require the new manager move to the borough, citing the borough solicitor's opinion on the matter.

Towanda Borough Solicitor Leonard Frawley said he didn't think the council could require that the new hire move to the borough.

In other matters, Fairchild announced that by Feb. 15, the borough and Trehab will submit an application for the rest of the financing for the planned $11 million elderly housing complex in the 400 block of Main Street in Towanda.

The project will contain, based on preliminary plans, 38 one-bedroom apartments for the elderly, said Fairchild, who added that the plans for the number of rooms in the apartments could be still be changed.

Several council members said that some of the occupants would want two bedroom apartments, so that the extra room could be used for a weekend visitor, as a computer room or for storage.

So far, the borough has secured $5 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) funds for the elderly housing complex, which would have commercial space on its ground floor and a new municipal parking garage behind it.

A total of $500,000 in Act 13 impact fee funds have also been awarded for the project.

Fairchild said after the meeting that the borough, which owns the land where the building will be constructed, is requiring that Trehab design the exterior of the building to be in line with the Victorian architecture of the surrounding area. "So that will be done," he said.

Towanda Police Chief Randy Epler also reported that he met with Towanda School District officials to discuss security measures in the Towanda schools after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Following the shooting, the Towanda Police Department began again assigning a police officer to the Towanda schools on a full-time basis, Epler said.

However, the current police officer assigned to the schools, Reggie Douglas, is semi-retired "and may not necessarily be looking for full-time hours" as a police officer anymore, Epler said.

Therefore, the Towanda Police Department is looking at assigning a part-time officer, Kyle Wisel, to work in the schools one day per week, and have Douglas work the other four days in the schools, Epler said.

Wisel would also fill in during other hours that Douglas chose not to work, Epler said.

Wisel had resigned last year as the Troy Police Chief, and later began working for the Towanda Police Department part-time.

Wisel "is a nice officer" and "a good cop," Towanda Borough Councilman William Kovalcin Jr. said.

The deadline to apply for the TMA/borough manager position is Feb. 28.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: