I am asking the question “What are essential services”? Whether it be State, County or Local, what services are truly essential? Law enforcement? Fire and Rescue ? Garbage ? Road repair? Please tell me, I want to know.
I just got in from tonight’s Middltown Township Committee meeting, a meeting that is still ongoing and sure to last until 11 pm or later, for 45 minutes the discussion revolved around what are essential services.
No one seemed to agree on what services in Middletown were essential.
This discussion came about due to a resolution to pass another temporary budget appropriation, the third so far this year, to keep the township operating.
Committeemen Patrick Short and Sean Brynes questioned the use of the temporary budget resolutions because they are eating away at the money that needs to be appropriated for the current fiscal year.
So far, with the adoption of tonight’s temporary budget resolution, Middletown will have already authorize spending 38% of FY 2009’s budget with no savings whatsoever to the tax payers.
It was pointed out by CFO Richard Wright, that the money being doled out is based on FY 2008’s budget and not what is currently going to be needed for FY ’09.
Committeeman Brynes then needed to point out that based on FY ’08 numbers Middletown is looking at a $3.79 million deficit if it were in place today, so for the FY ’09 budget, which hasn’t been adopted yet, and may not be ready for adoption until May, Middletown could be looking at a much larger deficit then $3.79 million if budget constraints were not in place soon.
CFO Wright agreed. That is when the discussion turned to need for essential services.
It appeared to me that Short and Brynes are really trying to save the tax payers of Middletown a rate increase, while Deputy Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger just rolled his eyes seemingly in protection of the status quo, in not wanting to tell Township department heads to submit budgets with 10%-15 % decreases in funds from the previous year.
Short and Brynes said that all department heads needed to submit budgets that reflected only essential items or services. They mentioned the Parks and Rec. department as an example.
Parks and Recreaction Department Head Greg Silva, submitted an initial budget with an 18% increase over last year and so far no one has Told him that he had to trim his request. Silva was asked to supply a breakdown of the costs per person to operated Park Department sponsored events, as well as the per person costs to operate the Cultural Arts Center, to see if there truly are programs that pay for themselves and should be continued or eliminated. So far he has not done so.
In these tough financial times can Middletown afford to provide concerts in the park or bus trips to ballgames? Can we close down Town Hall an hour or two early every day to save money or possible go to a 4 day township work week?
No one knows because it is Short and Brynes asking the questions and it is Scharfenberger and friends who are stonewalling for some reason.
It seems as though it is Gerry Scharfenberger and friends that are willing to put forward a huge tax increases instead of spending cuts to close the massive budget deficit that Middletown is facing.
Arguing over whether the value of concerts in that park are more important to residents then leaf pick-ups or streets being plowed after a snow storms is ridiculous, of course it is more important to have leaves picked up and roads cleaned. Who wouldn’t think that unless you are friend with Gerry Scharfenberger?