By Dan Moffett
Manalapan had no contested races in the March municipal election, but begins April with a new mayor pro tem and new commissioner.
John Deese was unanimously appointed to the Town Commission during its March 23 meeting, replacing Jack Doyle, who decided not to seek another term after serving since 2017.
Deese, 63, who has owned a home on Spoonbill Road in Manalapan for five years, has been a member of the town’s pension board since 2019. He is president and board director of Guardians Credit Union in West Palm Beach.
“Based on the very good work he’s been doing on the pension board, it’s a natural progression for him to be considered for this commission seat,” Mayor Keith Waters said in supporting Deese’s appointment to the at-large position.
Taking over the mayor pro tem role is Stewart Satter, a 17-year resident of Manalapan who joined the commission in 2019.
Waters says he hopes this commission can begin mapping out the conversion the town must make from septic tanks to municipal sewers, an undertaking the mayor says will take years to complete. That planning was stalled last year by the coronavirus pandemic.
All commissioners serve two-year terms.
In other business:
After three years of negotiating, Town Manager Linda Stumpf said Hypoluxo has accepted an appraisal price of $900,000 to compensate Manalapan for its network of utility pipes and bring an end to the two towns’ long-running water contract.
The last detail of the separation was determining the value of Manalapan’s infrastructure that delivers water to the western neighbor.
Hypoluxo originally submitted an appraisal of $490,000 for the pipes, and Manalapan countered with $1.2 million. A third appraisal came in at $1.3 million, forcing the three appraisers to confer with each other and arrive at the $900,000 figure.
“It’s a good number for everyone,” Waters said. “It allows us to move on to the next chapter.”
The commission hopes that chapter is securing new customers for Manalapan’s water plant. Hypoluxo has signed a long-term deal with Boynton Beach utilities to provide service to its 550 households.