It was a somber night as district results started rolling in to the Democratic Headquarters at the Leonardo American Legion, it was evident early on that it wasn’t going to be a good night for Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes or his running mate Mary Mahoney. From the moment that the first few districts started reporting in, the numbers didn’t look good. Byrnes and Mahoney only managed to capture 6 out of 46 districts and gave their concession speeches shortly after 9pm.
It was a real disappointment to many in the room after it seemed that so much of what transpired during this election season in Middletown, was leaning in the Democrats favor. From the turf field debacle in Lincroft, to the 13.87% increase to the municipal tax rate, people in town were angry at the leadership of Gerry Scharfenberger and his GOP majority, who seem to take residents for granted.
With their victory yesterday, the Middletown Township Committee will once again revert back to the 5-0 Republican super majority that it had enjoyed for nearly 20 years before Patrick Short was elected in 2006 and then Sean Byrnes in 2007.
What will that mean for residents in Middletown? It will mean less transparency and more decisions being made behind closed doors with little or no public discussion, much like it was previous to Short’s election.
Flooding issues in Port Monmouth and Leonardo will be once again placed on the back burner due to budget and cost concerns which means relief for residents in those areas will have to wait another 20 years for solutions and those that wish to see Township Committee meetings televised on the Township’s public access cable channels are out of luck, it will never happen.
Township engineering and legal fees will continue to increase because the Majority will continue to appoint the same firms to represent the Township without first competitively bidding those services out to lower costs, like Sean Byrnes has advocated for.
The local environment is also at risk. If Gerry Scharfenberger gets his way thousands of metric tons of carcinogenic and arsenic laced spoils will be dredged and from the bottom of Shadow Lake and burried in Stevenson Park against NJDEP wishes, instead of investigating alternative solutions like what may be proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers, which now has as part of their mission, responibilities over the ecosytem.
Middletown residents deserve the type of government that they voted for, unfortunately those that they voted for will not always have the best interests of all the residents in mind. That’s why I and others, will continue to act as watchdogs over those that feel that Middletown is her to serve them as opposed to the other way around.