Scharfenberger Admits "… a budget shortfall of several million dollars in the coming year."

Not many surprises happened yesterday at Re-Organization day in Middletown other than re-appointed mayor Gerry Scharfenberger admitted during his address that the Township was facing “… a budget shortfall of several million dollars in the coming year.”

This statement is really quite out of character for our mayor because for the past couple of months Committeeman Sean Byrnes and former Committeeman Patrick Short have been warning everyone about this on coming problem,while Scharfenberger and his fellow GOPer’s have accused the Democrats of playing “Chicken Little” .

Last months workshop meeting received a lot of headlines in local papers because Byrnes and Short would not vote for borrowing money from 2010 ‘s budget for an emergency appropriation to pay for medical claims in 2009 without first seeing a plan on how the township planned on closing, in Byrnes’s estimation, a $5 million budget shortfall 2010. Byrnes stated during the workshop meeting that layoffs throughout all departments would be necessary without some type spending plan for the coming new year.

They ultimately voted to approve $800,000 of the emergency appropriation to pay the medical claims and deferred the remainder to discuss at the next meeting with the stipulation that the township needed to come up with some sort of spending plan before than.

At the December 21st Township Committee meeting Byrnes and Short once again refused to borrow money from 2010 to pay for the outstanding claims because nothing was presented during the two week period since the previous meeting to show them that the township was taking seriously the looming budget crisis.
Now upon his re-appointment as mayor he admits that there is a looming crisis and wants to assure everyone that he will do everything in his power to make the best of it by “…a continued freeze on all township salaries, the potential sale of unneeded township assets, increased worker contributions to health benefits, new interlocal agreements and the sale of the township swim club.”
We’ve heard all this before from Scharfenberger and his GOP buddies, the only new proposal here is to sell the swim club and that was proposed 3 years ago by Patrick Short.
Last February Patrick Short and Sean Brynes submitted budget cutting ideas to the Township Administrator and the CFO and many if not all were rejected out of hand.
Last week Sean Byrnes issued a press release to highlight some additional proposals that he believes would save the township money for 2010 and years to come. They are practical and make sense. Maybe the Committee can use these proposals as a starting point when they begin to formulate the 2010 budget and not let partisan politics get in the way of doing what’s right for the residents of Middletown.


Filed under Asbury Park Press, Budget Battle, budget cuts, Budget Shortfall, Democrat, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Republicans, Sean F. Byrnes, tax increase, the Independent

17 responses to “Scharfenberger Admits "… a budget shortfall of several million dollars in the coming year."

  1. Anonymous

    Currently the only sitting member of the TC qualified to straighten out some of this mess is Sean Byrnes. Don't get your hopes up residents,the others have acute paranoia and because the only brains belong to a democrat they will not accept his help or his expertise. Do we have a financial officer yet?????

  2. Middletown Mike

    Nope, no financial officer yet

  3. Raymond Linoman

    I believe Mr. Scharfenberger's speech stated, that the new budget for 2010 would stabilize taxes. Scharfenberger also stated that in the coming year certain unneeded boards and commissions that the town has no necessary use for will have to be cut to increase the budget, therefore stabilizing the township taxes. Also, I believe that Mr. Byrnes asked for a finance committee which is unnecessary at this point because our elected town officials have the job of taking care of Middletown's finance.

  4. Anonymous

    I do not recall Mr. Short ever proposing to sell the swim club.

  5. Middletown Mike

    Raymond,How exactly will the new budget be stablized? It is all ready Millions of dollars short.Most boards and commissions are filled by volunteers how would eliminating some boards or commissions save the taxpayer any money?I also believe that Scharfenberger stated that no one currently on the TC is an expert on budgeting. If that is truely his feelings then why does he have such strong feelings against a finance committee that could help the Administrator, CFO and the TC in planning the budget and look for trouble signs through out the year?He is against a finance committee because it was a democratic idea and the GOP is afraid to open the books to outsiders so that they can see how our tax dollars are being spent.

  6. Raymond Linoman

    Mike,I will have to say that you plead a good case. But Scharfenberger does not want a finance committee because of an even higher payroll that the town is in no shape to take on right now. A finance committee only adds on to the debt in place.

  7. Middletown Mike

    Raymond,I hate to inform you but a finance committee woul dbe manned by an all volunteer staff as proposed by Sean Byrnes.Scharfenberger is playing games with you and anyone he talks to. A finance committee would not add any extra expense to the township budget, if Scharfy says it will then he is intentionally misleading you and anyone who asks about it.Here is Byrnes's email address contact him yourself and ask him directly:

  8. Anonymous

    The sooner the residents realize what a master at distortion of the facts Gerard Scharfenberger is the sooner the financial health of this township will start to recover. We need professionals and a qualified CFO and an AUDIT of this township's finances….ALL OF IT…ASAP !!It's all politics with this individual and a total lack of responsibility to anyone except his political cronies. God help us….another year of this BS with lack of integrity and credibility surrounding us everywhere with this majority.It's incredible how gullible the taxpayers in Middletown can be…. like sheep led to the slaughter repeatedly!!

  9. Raymond Linoman

    No thank you Mike that will not be necessary right now. Mayor Scharfenberger is not playing mind games, Mr. Byrnes's proposal will not just be a no cost organization, even if the finance committee were to be 100% made up of volunteers the expenses for the town to be forced to pay off would be unnecessary. The committee needs a place to meet, mailers, contracts, etc.

  10. Middletown Mike

    Raymond,What expenses could you possibly be talking about???The committee could meet at town hall or at someone's office. Mailers?? Who would they be mailing information to? That's what phones and email are for.Contracts?? For what? Who needs a contract? I think that you are just trying to justify the reasoning against a committee or finance board that you have heard from Scharfenberger and his GOP buddies.And for arguments sake, lets say that the finance committee may need a few hundred dollars for office supplies and stamps, if they can save the township hundreds of thousands of dollars, wouldn't it be worth it?Drop Byrnes an email and ask him yourself, don't rely on others to miss-inform you about potential costs to the township if a new committee were to be formed.

  11. Middletown Mike

    Anonymous said,"I do not recall Mr. Short ever proposing to sell the swim club."It was early on during his first year in office when he couldn't get substancial data from the township about operating expenses and revenues generated for the swim club.

  12. Anonymous

    Mr. Short was a hoax. He was just putting on an act his entire term. And I want to know why Mr. Byrnes opens his weekly information packet for the first time at the meeting on Monday when each committee member receives them on Friday of every week. That shows that he is not quite prepared for the meetings.

  13. Middletown Mike

    Really Anonymous?Short was a Hoax and Byrnes is unprepared?How do you know this about Byrnes do you live with him or spend time with him over the weekends that he receives his packets? Or are you just spreading the lies and innuendo that the Middletown GOP likes to smear people with because they don't have brains enough to ask the questions that need to be asked of their own township professionals?

  14. Anonymous

    Mr. Short was putting on an act. He was acting like a representative of the people, as the rest of the Committee should. He showed concern for the direction that the town was going and voted for what was best for the residents. I am sure Anonymous is not with Mr. Byrnes all weekend to see when he open his packet, so he really does not know when it is opened. He might not be knowledgeable on certain legislation because he does not meet with the rest of the Committee over the weekend to discuss the agenda and how they should all vote.The Republican Committee members have all voted the same on almost every issue, except for Tom Wilkens. Tom Wilkens treid not to be persuaded by the GOP Party Bosses that are in control of the Committee members.

  15. Anonymous

    I know because i have two eyes and ears. i can see and hear the tearing of the packet and see him looking through it just like a surprise. You don't have to try and defend Mr. Byrnes. I just wish he would actully have some helpful ideas and have something important to say.Thats all i ask of my elected "official."

  16. Middletown Mike

    Anonymous,I think you need glasses and a hearing aid, you don't have any idea as to what you are talking about.

  17. Anonymous

    But I don't think you know what the funny thing is. I am a Democrat myself and I still support Mr. Scharfenberger and the Republicans of Middletown township committee. Obviously the Dems dont have the power on the stand because of a 4 to 1 stand. So if you think any "excellent and well thought out proposals" by the one Dem is going to get through, well them i just dont know.**HINT HINT** (Putting this blog at the top of the website again will not prove to anybody anything you are trying to pass off as the truth.)

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