Have you seen the two videos of Middletown’s acting mayor Gerry Scharfenberger being interviewed by another local blogger? The videos were made a number of weeks ago, just before the 4th of July holiday, so if you have not you can seem them, you can do so >>> here
These videos are a classic examples of how Gerry Scharfenberger ignores the truth to promote his own agenda.
Scharfenbeger stated in the first video that the 13% increase in the municipal tax rate stated by Committeeman Sean Byrnes at the budget introduction meeting was not accurate, which is untrue.
In 2009 there was $40,001,112.58 raised by property taxes and this year (2010) there will be $45,549,733.91, the difference being $5,548,621.33. If you divide this difference by the 2009 amount and multiply it by 100 you will get the percentage increase for 2010, which is 13.87%. Byrnes was rounding down to 13%.
Scharfenbeger mentioned about how the lack of state aid was a factor behind the increase in the municipal tax rate. In 2009 Middletown lost, I believe $800K in state aid and Scharfenberger stated that then Gov. Jon Corzine was strangling the municipalities. In 2010 Gov. Christie has shorted Middletown twice that much,$1.6M. Now, Scharfenberger has stated that Gov. Christie is doing what is necessary to set the State on the right course, but he had no plan to deal with the loss of aid. The mayor had to have seen this coming just by the shear climate of the economy and planned appropriately for it.
This brings up a point that I am surprised others haven’t talked about much; why should Middletown rely on State aid to begin with? Middletown is larger enough and should be supporting itself, not looking for handouts from the State or Federal Governments. If aid comes down from the State it should be applied to the town’s surplus and the following years’ budget.
When asked about the adoption of the township budget and why after 6 months into the year a budget had not been adopted yet, our acting mayor stated that each month thus far Middletown has been operating with a temporary budget that has been kept to within 75% of what was expected to spent each month.
If that’s the case, why not make a yearly budget to do the same? A budget could have been made in January to include 90% of what was expected to be spent. That would leave 10% to go toward surplus. Why put off the enevitable? Given this statement Gerry expected a 13% increase, therefore he saw it coming.
In the second video, the mayor talks about unfunded mandates like COAH and opting out of the civil service system. Scharfenberger stated that millions have been spent over the years on lawyers fees to to fight lawsuits on COAH, but the reality is, if the Middletown was COAH compliant for all of those years then most of the lawsuits would not have taken place. As a matter of fact, if Middletown was compliant in many other areas of the law, then lawsuits would not have had to be fought. Many times Middletown has enabled the lawsuits to continue only to have the lawyers profit.
In wishing to opt-out of the Civil Service system, Scharfenberger stated that shared service agreements can’t be reached with other towns that do not have civil service employees. He says that because of civil service requirements agreements between Middletown and other towns are nearly impossible. Now I might be wrong in presuming this but, if an agreement can be made between two municipalities whether they are civil service or not, that complies with the civil service contracts, it should be acceptable to the non-civil service employees from another towns.
Finally, the mayor claims that he had no idea of what the Governor was going to do, which has to be the furthest thing from the truth. After all, Scharfenberger was on the Governors’ Transition Team writing policy for what the new Governor was going to do and he loves to tell everyone that he is in constant contact with him or Lieutenant Gov. Guadagno.
So to be taken by surprise or caught off guard by anything coming from Trenton has to be taken with a grain of salt and chalked up as nothing more than the continued issuance of half-truths an blubbery from him, in order to promote his own self interests.