Daily Archives: March 10, 2011

>Finally Some News About Middletown’s Proposed School Budget

>In today’s issue of the Independent which was posted online Tuesday night, comes word about the proposed Middletown School budget.

According to the article, a special school board meeting was held on March 2nd to introduce the school budget. This year’s budget would increase over last year budget by 2%, which would equate to a $2,445,064 increase in the tax levy and would support a budget that would be $145,211,537 or roughly $6.5 million more than last year.
There are a few things that were mentioned in the article that strike me in a good way and one thing that potentially troubles me.
Much of this year’s budget increase would go towards restoring some of the things that were lost after last years budget defeat. Things like capital improvements to High School North, funding for technology and the hiring back of 5.5 teachers (I wonder what happen to the other half).
What I found trouble about what was contained in the article was that it mentioned that contract talks between the MTEA and the Middletown Board of Education has reached an impasse, and now both sides are waiting to hear from the Public Employment Relations Commission to determine if negotiations should resume.
It turns out that this proposed budget was put together with the idea that the MTEA would accept a wage freeze for the 20011/2012 school year and contribute more towards their health benefits, which would help to offset a $4 million increase in health care costs.
I would hope that after the beating the MTEA took last year in the public opinion of residents, they would be slightly more lenient in their contract negotiations this year with the school system for the public good and in an effort to somewhat reform their image.
Without being involved in those negotiations however, it is hard to determine if good faith negotiations and measures have taken place between the two side. So I won’t pass judgement on either side just yet.
I am sure though, that as this impasse progresses and the time comes closer to having the School budget voted on in April, we’ll hear an awful lot more about this.
You can read the article >>> Here

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Filed under budget introduction, contract impasse, Middletown Board of Education, MTEA, school budgets, Teachers

>Wow Big News; Monmouth County Freeholders Reduce Proposed 2011 Budget by $3.7M

>Hey have you heard, the Monmouth County Freeholders have produced a new proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 that has reduced the previously proposed budget by $3.7 million?

I guess we’re all suppose to be happy with this latest budget proposal because it reflects a decrease of $1.1 million from last year’s adopted county budget.
That would be big new to me if the amount to be raised by taxes wasn’t increased by $6.8 million (or 2.26%) to fund the nearly 1/2 billion dollar budget.
I find it very hard to believe that out of a proposed budget of $492 million, the Freeholders can only find cuts that amount to less than 1% of this budget.
If you ask me, if the members of the Monmouth County Freeholder’s Board can point fingers at those who run Brookdale Community College to ferret out wasteful spending after the Burnham debacle, then they should be able to find wasteful spending with in their own departments that would lead to less spending and lower amount of tax dollars needed to be raised through taxation.
I wonder if the Bayshore or other Monmouth County Tea Party organizations have an opinion of their own on this?
I’m just saying….

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Peter Burnham, proposed budget, tax increase, Tea Party

>Burnham Quits As Brookdale College President

>I know I’m a little late on this so I won’t spend a lot of time here discussing it, but by now everyone knows that Brookdale College President Peter Burnham resigned from his position Tuesday with a black cloud hovering over his head.

There is a lot of finger pointing going around between the the Monmouth County Freeholders and Brookdale’s Board of Trustees as to who was responsible for overseeing the reimbursement of Burnham college expenses and his generous perks.
Freeholder Lillian Burry before Tuesday was quite on Burnham’s plight, until she was quoted as saying, “He disgraced himself in the eyes of his students, in the eyes of his peers, in the eyes of everyone who believed in his vision for Brookdale and every Monmouth County taxpayer, he has to be held accountable for his actions.”
And Freeholder John Curley, who’s job it is as a Freeholder to oversee the goings on at the college and who exposed Burnham’s contract to the public after Burnham called out the Freeholders for being responsible for a proposed 8% hike in tuition and fees last month, chimed in as well according to the Asbury Park Press:

…Freeholder John P. Curley said he was pleased that Burnham resigned. Now it’s time for the college board and its attorney to step down as well, he said, adding that the public does not have faith in the college leadership anymore.

“They are policing themselves at this point and that’s unacceptable,” Curley said….

What I find unacceptable in that quote is that fact that it has been Curley’s job and others, who have been the liaison between the the college board and the Freeholders, to police and oversee what the college board does on behalf of tax payers. Curley and others should have been acting as the police, watching over and policing the college’s board of trustees instead of maintaining a hands off policy expecting the board of trustees to do what was right for students and county tax payers.
The only Freeholder that has come out of this situation unscathed seems to be Freeholder Amy Mallet, who when she heard of Burnham’s extravagant contract and perks called for the immediate resignation of the college board’s President Howard Birdsall.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, Brookdale Community College, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Freeholder John Curly, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Peter Burnham

>Township Makes New And Improved Request Of $500K To Library

>Instead of the over inflated request of $1.2 million that the Middletown Township Committee wants to steal from the Middletown Library, local officials have now made a new and improved request to the library for only $500,000 of its reserved funds according to an article online this morning over at the Asbury Park Press.

What strikes me about this article is that Township Attorney Brian Nelson, who is not an elected official but somehow seems to think he is very often, is out in front of this without he lead quote ” This is our official request”. Where is the mayor or deputy mayor on this; Why no word from them?

The other quote that sticks out is from Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, “Both sides could sue each other, and we’d end up in court for three years, but no one wants that.”

This to me seems like an ill disguised vile threat if you ask me, especially if you add it to other inflammatory remarks already made by those who represent the township that threatened to change the composition of the Library’s Board of Trustees by not reappointing current trustees and by adding more trustees that would be more sympathetic to the Township’s wishes, along with handing the Middletown Library over to the County to run.

The article also reiterates what I have been reminding people of since the February 16th Library Board meeting, which is that this request will not save the jobs of the 26 employees already scheduled to be laid off:

Township officials have said they need the money to avoid laying off more than the 26 positions that are already part of a plan it submitted to the state Civil Service Commission last month. Included in the layoff plan are 10 township police department and 13 parks and recreation department positions.


So now the Township feels that the ball is in the hands of the Library’s Board of Trustees at this point, Wednesday night is the next scheduled Library Board meeting and the Township expects an answer to their request.
The last I heard the Library Board was unwilling to give the Township much more than ~$250K, which is what they feel the library is obligated, by state law to return.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens Wednesday night.
Read the article >>> Here

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Brian Nelson, budget deficit, budget surplus, Middletown Library, Middletown Township, surplus funds, Tony Mercantante