Middletown resident seeks accurate Township budget and Municipal Tax increase information
(Middletown, Monmouth County NJ)-
Patrick Short a long time resident of Middletown stated today that he intends to file an “Order to Show Cause” with the Superior Court of Freehold based on an official mailing he received from the Township of Middletown on the 2010 Township budget and 2010 property tax.
Early last week, Mr. Short received an official letter that was sent to over 21, 000 households in the Middletown Township entitled “2010 Property Tax Fact Sheet”.
Mr. Short claims that official correspondence contains false and misleading information when it comes to the amount of municipal tax that will increase and that he as a resident is expected to pay in 2010.
Mr. Short challenges several passages in the official correspondence; specifically the letter reads, “This year’s final adopted budget which totals $64.7 million reflects a reduction of 40 staff positions…..”, and where the letter reads, “This budget represents a 2.67% increase in property tax.”
Mr. Short argues that the Municipal tax increase for 2010 is really closer to 13.4% and not 2.67% if the Approved 2010 Township Budget that is posted on the Township website is correct. Short compared the line item titled “Amount to be Raised by Taxes for Support of Municipal Budget, for Local tax Municipal Purposes” in the 2010 approved budget to same line item in the approved Amended 2009 Township Budget: $45,349,477.91 as compared to $40,001,112.58, resulting in an increase of $5,348,365 or a 13.4% municipal tax increase to support his claim.
At least fifty (50) residents verified Mr. Short’s claim by checking their past tax receipts.
Mr. Short would not comment on whether he felt the official letter was published for political purposes given Middletown Township’s appointed Mayor, Gerald Scharfenberger, is up for re-election this year and the fact that he has increased Municipal taxes approximately 40% since he has been on the Township Committee. Instead, Short stated that he would encourage Middletown taxpayers to check their past municipal tax receipts to see how much the Municipal taxes have increased.
As for the Township’s claimed to have reduced a total of 40 staff positions, Mr. Short stated that when he compared the 2009 Township payroll to the current 2010 Township payroll dated August 13 2009, he could only find a total reduction of 5 staff positions. “The only way the Township could come close to the numbers that they are citing of a 40 staff reduction would be to compare the staffing levels over a 20 year span, from 1990 to 2010 levels”.
Mr. Short also challenges the Township claim that reads, “The adopted budget made up for nearly $ 10 million in lost revenue in 2010.” Mr. Short found when comparing the General Revenue totals between 2009 and 2010 the revenue shortfall was just over $2 million dollars and not the $10M in lost revenue as the Township claims,
“The Township has an obligation to state the facts and not spin the information. What disturbs me is that the township used taxpayer funding to publish and distribute this false information to every house hold in Middletown. And, the local newspapers published this inaccurate information. Middletown residents are making decisions based on inaccurate information and it needs to be corrected immediately”, stated Short. Short’s intention is challenge is to have the Township of Middletown show how the figures they published and distributed were derived and ultimately have the accurate numbers published so taxpayers can make informed decisions.