The great budget battle in Middletown continues to rage on. Already nearly 40% of FY 2009 budget has been spent by the Township through emergency appropriation.
How can we allow this to happen? No matter how much budget wrangling goes on, it will be almost impossible to save taxpayers from a municipal tax increase with only 60% of the budget left to play with.
If anyone thought that the leaf pick-up this year was a fiasco, wait until you see what the results will be of the draconian budget cuts that will be needed to close a possible $7 million deficit in the township budget.
The reason why Middletown is in this type of mess to begin with is because the Township Committee, controlled by Assemblyman want to be Gerry Scharfenberger, Pam Brightbill and Tony “the Fibber” Fiore, unlike Fair Haven, has refused to cut services. Instead, the GOP control Township Committee has raised our tax rate by 17% over the past 3 years to close the budget deficits, all the while blaming Trenton for it.
How did Fair Haven save it’s taxpayers 2% on their tax bill? They consolidated departments, bid out fro professional services and now do engineering work in-house.
Now granted, Middletown is a much larger town than Fair Haven, with more complex issues to deal with, but if Fair Haven can consolidate services to save money, then Middletown should also be able to, there is a lot of fat that could be trimmed before Middletown should consider a tax increase.
One idea being floated by Democrat Sean Brynes is to transfer the Cultural Arts Center from the Parks and Recreation department to the Middletown Library. Many of the programs offered at the Arts Center are duplicated by the library system, so why not ask the library to take over the Arts Center in order to run it more efficiently. In doing so, it could save the township over a quarter million dollars in operating fees alone.
Middletown should look at Fair Haven as an example of how to control costs and limit spending in order to contain the need for tax increases.
Click here to read how Fair Haven was able lower it’s tax rate 2 years in a row.