North Cornwall Township manager Tom Long may be retiring, but the township’s recreation facilities, roads, and even township building all serve as proof for his dedication over the years.

Long is officially retiring Feb. 5 after working full-time with North Cornwall for 27 years.

Long first moved to North Cornwall in 1981. A year after his son joined the Neversink baseball team, Long took over as the team’s head coach.

As head coach, Long noticed problems with the program and its field. He sponsored the team with his business, but eventually sought help from the township.

“This township had no rec facilities, we had a little tot lot down here on Center Street,” Long explained. “I started approaching the township at that time saying, ‘Hey, could you maybe sponsor or donate some money to help improve the field down there?'”

Long was told by the chairman at the time that he should form an association, which he did. The North Cornwall Recreation Association is active to this day, overseeing baseball and other youth rec programs.

Through attending township meetings and his work with the rec association, Long got to know township employees. In the early ’90s, Long was asked to plow snow for the township as a seasonal employee.

He didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the start of an extensive career with the township.

In 1996, Long would be offered a full-time job with the township, which he accepted.

Throughout his time in various roles in the township, Long’s calling card was his capacity for planning ahead.

When Long first started in the highway department, he was its only employee.

Planning ahead, Long worked to upgrade equipment before designing and building a salt shed and recycling center.

In the early 2000s, Long worked as the public works director, where he tried to impliment five- or ten-year plans for paving.

He followed the same principle of planning expenses ahead that he had used running a business.

“When I took over here in the late ’90s, our roads were terrible,” explained Long.

After a few years, he convinced the supervisors to take out low-interest PIB loans to pave many roads at once and catch up on paving.

“We could catch up on roads and it would be less costly, because the longer we waited, the more it cost to do the roads four or five years down the road,” said Long.

Due partially to the escalation of oil prices, Long says the township ultimately saved money doing paving this way.

“So we did that every five years over the last 20 years, and now our roads are one of the better ones,” Long said.

Long took these principles with him as he became township manager in 2014.

At that time, Long drew up a 10-year plan for the township’s finances, which were struggling at the time.

“Ten years ago, we had no cash reserves,” explained Long. “And [the board] allowed me to manage it the way I felt it needed to be managed.”

Underestimating income and overestimating expenditures and being careful with expenditures, Long was able to guide the township into coming under budget year after year.

By the five-year mark, the township had built up significant cash reserves.

These reserves allowed Long to work toward the construction of a new township building. At that time, the township shared a building with the police department.

“We were running out of room down here in our facilities,” explained Long. “We had off-site storage for our records and stuff, but that wasn’t a good idea. So we tried to squeeze as much room out of the building down there for storage, and the police department was expanding.

“So the time came to find a new building.”

Now in 2024 township administration has its own building — designed by Long — while the police department has the entirety of the old building.

“He has been invaluable,” said chairman of the board of supervisors Mike Wahmann. “This building is a direct result of his guidance and his foresight for this township.

“He has led us through COVID and many other issues with his great leadership; he will be sorely missed.”

Over the years, Long’s passion for recreation had not subsided, and he continued volunteering alongside his work with the township.

In conjunction with the City of Lebanon Authority, Long worked to build the Dairy Road ballfields, still active to this day.

Long was also instrumental in the development of the Snitz Creek Park, where he (as a volunteer) and the township worked to build it between 2010 and 2012.

Long also served a vital role as township manager designing and implimenting the design for the Gloninger Woods Park.

“That’s the thing I’m proudest of,” said Long. “The vision I had to see this stuff happen and come to fruition, that’s what I’m the most proud of.

“That and the fact that I had a good board of supervisors over the last 10 to 15 years to see it happen, because with them, things just came into place.”

His retirement is far from rushed, being something Long has planned for since at least 2019.

Public Works director Justin Thompson will be taking over the role.

“I said he was the best candidate, not so much that he had a lot of experience, but I said he had the proper character,” said Long of when he first selected Thompson as his replacement. “He had a good head on his shoulders.”

Since 2019, Long has gradually transferred his public works responsibilities to Thompson. He has also showed Thompson how to perform his role as township manager.

Long has also overseen changes to other administrative staff over the years, and is confident they will be able to keep the township running smoothly in his absence.

“We have a good staff in place to handle everything now,” said Long. “Everything is planned out, I think, and we’re in good shape.”

However, Long will not be a stranger to the township. He will continue to work for the township on a part-time basis for the rest of the year, tying up loose ends like land development plan organization.

He also plans to continue attending police regionalization meetings. He also is considering serving on one of the township’s boards or commissions.

“I think I’m going to get back on the recreational board, because that was where my heart was early on,” said Long.

In retirement, Long plans to stay busy. On top of continued involvement with the township, he hopes to get back into his love of car racing, which he participated himself when he was younger but now plans to mostly be a spectator.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Support local journalism.

Cancel anytime.


🌟 Annual

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Your email address will be kept private.