Monthly Archives: December 2009

Press Release: Committeman Sean F. Byrnes Calls For Sweeping Changes To The Way Middletown Does Business

Press Release

December 21, 2009
In Middletown today, Committeeman Sean F. Byrnes called for sweeping changes to the way Middletown does business. Since joining the Committee in 2008, Byrnes has continuously called for the creation of a Finance Committee to oversee the preparation of Middletown’s budget, evaluate expenses and investigate restructuring how services are delivered. However, his efforts have failed to garner support from Republican members of the Township Committee.
Citing the worst budget environment in the Township in 20 years , Byrnes called on his fellow Committee members to make dramatic changes to the way the Township does business:
“We find ourselves sinking deeper into debt with fewer tools for pulling ourselves out. Last year, we limped through the year relying upon one-time revenue line items, a request to exceed our cap on increasing tax levies to citizens, and a decision to defer $1.5 million in pension contributions. Yet, by year’s end, we still needed an emergency appropriation of $1.4 million, payable in 2010, to pay escalating health care expenses. I am estimating that we begin 2010 with a shortfall that approaches $5.0 million. We will need a specific plan, very early in the year to offset this shortfall.”
To address the looming budget shortfall, Byrnes has recommended exploring the following cost-saving measures:

  1. Requiring all capital spending projects in 2010 to be competitively bid among 5 pre-approved engineering firms.
  2. Retaining the Township attorney and other professionals to operate on a fixed fee monthly retainer basis and eliminate all hourly billing for all but complex litigation.
  3. In 2010, combining the property maintenance functions within Public Works and the Parks & Recreation Department into one Department within the Department of Public Works, responsible for all property maintenance.
  4. In 2011, combining the property maintenance functions currently operated separately by the Board of Education and the Township Committee into one department to maintain all property within the Township.
  5. Eliminating the Sewerage Authority thereby eliminating the administrative, overhead and professional fees associated with the operations of this Authority.
  6. Soliciting private contracts for 50% of the leaf and brush pickup in 2010 and a larger percentage in ensuing years.
  7. Shifting to a once per week trash pickup in conjunction with mandatory recycling of paper and a campaign to encourage a far greater percentage of composting within the Township. Reducing the volume of paper and vegetable waste will substantially reduce the volume of disposable waste and the need for more than one trash pickup per week.
  8. Offer early retirement to the more senior maintenance workers in the Parks & Recreation Department and Public Works Departments where salaries in the Parks & Recreation Department dedicated to property maintenance exceed $1.0 million.
  9. Commence discussions with the Library Board to consolidate the Arts Center operation into the Middletown Public Library, which has a steady funding source and currently offers arts programming that is similar to programs offered by the Library.
  10. Continue the initiative started by Committeeman Fiore to negotiate a new health care payment arrangement, as the existing self-insured relationship for claims has produced double-digit increases in costs that cannot be sustained.
On a County-wide basis, Byrnes has recommended a consolidation of police, fire and school administration.
“The taxpayers cannot sustain the spiraling salary, benefit and pension costs that follow the large administration that oversees the delivery of police, fire and educational services. We need our locally elected State representatives in Monmouth County to propose State-wide legislation that gives counties and municipalities the ability to engage in consolidation efforts and other cost-sharing measures. The current statutory and regulatory framework ties the hands of municipalities that might be willing to take bold steps to cut costs. ”
Mr. Byrnes also pointed out that two Township officials, Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger and Township Attorney Brian Nelson have been appointed to the transition team for Governor –elect Christie.
Citing the rare opportunity presented by the current economic climate and voter dissatisfaction, Byrnes said, “I am hopeful that Mr. Scharfenberfer and Mr. Nelson will seize this opportunity and advocate for sweeping changes to the laws that foster duplication and overlap of governmental services. As an example, the legal separation of Boards of Education and municipal government is too stark. There must be greater shared services between these public entities and even some degree or merger of some functions such as property maintenance, recreation, human resources and purchasing.”
“The old system is broken, everyone knows it, and we need to be creative and willing to re-design how services are delivered to taxpayers at the local, county and state level. If we do it right, the end product will look a lot different than what we have right now.”
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Filed under Budget Shortfall, Chris Christie, Middletown, New Jersey, press release, Sean F. Byrnes

New Years Day Hangover Remedies

Here is a reposting of a blog entry from last year that is timely and appropriate if you are planning to party hardy tonight while ringing in the New Year.

If you are going to party it up tonight in celebration of the New Year, then you will more than likely be in need of a good hangover remedy.

Most hangover remedies are hit and miss and not based on any facts or science, generally they do not work. I have always found that drinking plenty of water is the best cure for hangovers because the alcohol that is consumed dehydrates your body which leads to the hangover.
But if you find yourself in dire needs of a hangover cure in the morning then maybe one of the suggestions in the following video may help ( just keep the volume down as to not worsen any headache that you may have):
According to Terry Condon of NYC’s Gallagher’s Steak House, there are at least 5 things you can do to help ‘fix’ a hangover

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Filed under hangover remidies, New Years Eve

"It’s Your Town Hall" Newsletter Issue 2 -Middletown Goes to MCIA To Consolidate 2009 Bonds

The second issue of the “it’s Your Town Hall” Newsletter is ready and available to ready.

Issue 2 discuss the special township committee meeting that was called for on Dec. 17th at 5:30 pm to discuss the refinancing of approximately $13 million worth to township bonds. The township will be refinancing these bonds with the Monmouth County Improvement Authority (MCIA).

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders formed the Monmouth County Improvement Authority in 1986 as a conduit to cost-saving alternatives to the traditional methods of public capital finance for municipalities, boards of education, local and regional utility authorities and other local and county government entities.

As part of this resolution the Township of Middletown has agreed to pay all costs and expenses, including legal fees, in connection with the administration and enforcement of this bond in addition to its share of the amounts payable between the Authority and the town.

The refinancing of these bonds is expected to save the township a considerable amount of money in interest payments over the course of the next 20 years.

To receive a copy of the biweekly issues of “It’s Your Town Hall”, send email contact info to: itsourtown@yahoo.com


To read this weeks issue click >>> Here
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the amount of the bond refinancing was not for a total of ~$ 13 million but for $5.966 million, which is a big difference (sometimes it can be a little confusing when reading ordinances or resolutions)

Also not included with the posted newsletter was the last page of the resolution which stated the bonding firm of Gibbons P.C. which happens to be firm that the GOP leader in Middletown works for and our curent Township Atorney worked for as a bond attorney.

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown, Monmouth County, Newsletter

Letter: Why Are Turf Fields Top Priority During Worst Economic Times Since The Great Depression?

Politics has overcome any sense of good government in Middletown Township.This is an egregious miscarriage of politics masquerading as government in this community.

When economic conditions are ignored and artificial turf fields are the major priority of the township committee members, there is something radically wrong with those elected and hired to administrate in this township. Most families are endeavoring to keep jobs,keep their homes, and trying to keep food on their tables and pay their bills. Their prime concern is not whether their kids have artificial turf fields to run on for sports activities.

There are many residents and citizens in this community that can connect the dots in this scenario. Remember the vicious political rhetoric of the 2008,2009 campaigns for township committee and the 2009 freeholder race and the individuals responsible for those vicious accusations against the democratic candidates in those races…( the alleged petitions for recall of the board of education member were never circulated or filed). These names connected to all that vicious rhetoric are the same names that trace connection to the turf field company favored for the current endeavor to construct two turf fields in Middletown during the worst economic circumstances since the Great Depression.

These questions demands answers……Is this proposal for turf fields somehow payment of a political debt for that vicious ranting that commanded so much attention in the fall of 2008 and again in 2009? Is common sense or reason absent when this township cannot pay it’s financial obligations without emergency resolutions,refuses to consider a finance committee and choses turf fields over jobs.

This all reeks of political motivation and ineptitude.Smell the coffee residents of Middletown….it’s your tax dollar at work. You pay these bills!

These are not the times for this kind of ignorance from those who claim to govern.This suggests incompetence when one examines the priorities of those chosen to serve in this community!!

Barbara R.Thorpe

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Economic Crisis, Middletown, the Great Depression, Turf project

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 12/25/09 Celebrating Christmas and Honoring Those Who Serve

For the first time in a weekly address, the President is joined by the First Lady as they celebrate Christmas. They both honor those serving overseas, those who have sacrificed for their country, and the families that stand by them.

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Filed under Christmas Message, President Obama, weekly address

Merry Christmas: Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul Bill, Obama Praises Their Accomplishment

The President praises the Senate for passing health insurance reform, another major step towards this historic goal.

Here are his remarks:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. In a historic vote that took place this morning members of the Senate joined their colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass a landmark health insurance reform package — legislation that brings us toward the end of a nearly century-long struggle to reform America’s health care system.

Ever since Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform in 1912, seven Presidents — Democrats and Republicans alike — have taken up the cause of reform. Time and time again, such efforts have been blocked by special interest lobbyists who’ve perpetuated a status quo that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people. But with passage of reform bills in both the House and the Senate, we are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people.

The reform bill that passed the Senate this morning, like the House bill, includes the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition. They will no longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick. No longer will you have to pay unlimited amounts out of your own pocket for the treatments you need. And you’ll be able to appeal unfair decisions by insurance companies to an independent party.

If this legislation becomes law, workers won’t have to worry about losing coverage if they lose or change jobs. Families will save on their premiums. Businesses that would see their costs rise if we do not act will save money now, and they will save money in the future. This bill will strengthen Medicare, and extend the life of the program. It will make coverage affordable for over 30 million Americans who do not have it — 30 million Americans. And because it is paid for and curbs the waste and inefficiency in our health care system, this bill will help reduce our deficit by as much as $1.3 trillion in the coming decades, making it the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.

As I’ve said before, these are not small reforms; these are big reforms. If passed, this will be the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s. And what makes it so important is not just its cost savings or its deficit reductions. It’s the impact reform will have on Americans who no longer have to go without a checkup or prescriptions that they need because they can’t afford them; on families who no longer have to worry that a single illness will send them into financial ruin; and on businesses that will no longer face exorbitant insurance rates that hamper their competitiveness. It’s the difference reform will make in the lives of the American people.

I want to commend Senator Harry Reid, extraordinary work that he did; Speaker Pelosi for her extraordinary leadership and dedication. Having passed reform bills in both the House and the Senate, we now have to take up the last and most important step and reach an agreement on a final reform bill that I can sign into law. And I look forward to working with members of Congress in both chambers over the coming weeks to do exactly that.

With today’s vote, we are now incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country. Our challenge, then, is to finish the job. We can’t doom another generation of Americans to soaring costs and eroding coverage and exploding deficits. Instead we need to do what we were sent here to do and improve the lives of the people we serve. For the sake of our citizens, our economy, and our future, let’s make 2010 the year we finally reform health care in the United States of America.

Everybody, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

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Filed under health care reform, President Obama

The Night Before Christmas – A Disney Silly Symphonies

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