In response to a letter by Middletown Republican candidate Tony Fiore, which was printed on Oct. 15, I vehemently deny that it has been the township’s school board that has been the source of pain for residents where it involves taxation.
In contrast, it is the Republican-controlled Middletown Committee that has played the role of tax-and-spend politicians in this community.
Firstly, Middletown’s students regularly gain acceptance to first-rate academic institutions in this country.
However, where it involves taxation, I personally believe the school board has been nothing but thrifty in its approach. State aid to suburban school districts has been frozen for five years and the school budget was impacted, like any other business or homeowner, by the rising costs of utilities, transportation and insurance.
In addition, nine consecutive budgets have passed since I have taken office, while only three failed that were cut. Bear in mind, those cuts impacted our students, but were made when necessary.
It has been the voters in Middletown that have approved the majority of these budgets because they want a high-quality education for their children. And, it takes at least five members of the board to adopt a budget for consideration by the voters in the first place.
Meanwhile, it has been the Middletown Committee that has bonded $85 million, refused to place fiscal controls or oversight in their budget, and even refused to establish a Budget Committee to oversee departmental spending. They voted to exceed their budget cap. Finally, it was the committee, for at least 20 years, that has used deferred school taxes to balance their budget. This year alone they added close to $56 million in deferred school tax liability to further burden our residents. Combined with the total amount bonded, this places Middletown’s total debt at about $141 million.
Mr. Fiore is hardly the best source of information about taxation, or anything else, given the fact he has ran on an embellished, grammatically incorrect resume throughout this election cycle, and has done nothing to contribute any ideas about how to contain Middletown’s out-of-control spending.
Patricia A. Walsh
Democrat for Township Committee