>The following letter appears in this weeks edition of the Independent. The letter reflects fairly well the frustration that residents felt and may still feel about the clean-up efforts after last weeks massive blizzard that struck the area:
In Middletown, our recent snowstorm was not only a climatic event; it was catastrophic to its citizens. From its inception, this storm paralyzed transportation on Middletown’s roads. The storm started with intensity at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday; it roared into Monday and stopped at approximately 4 a.m. S ervices in the form of plowing appeared to be nonexistent not only during the storm but after the storm.
On Monday morning, the concept of plowing turned out to be a real mystery. With the exception of the Monmouth County roads, the roads in Middletown were not really plowed. There didn’t even seem to be an attempt to plow a single lane down the middle of the road. I always thought this was done to facilitate the movement of police, ambulance and fire vehicles. I was very concerned; I therefore called the offices of both Public Works and the business administrator. The phones of both these departments were not manned. The phone at public works had a pre-recorded message, which stated that the individual had just stepped away from her desk and I should leave a message. I called the police department and there was an immediate response from a live person. The individual said that they didn’t have anything to do with the roads.
I began to think and I reached back into my memory. I began to recollect that under our form of government it is the business administrator who is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Middletown. I made another call to the business administrator’s office, and once again I experienced an unmanned phone. I didn’t think that it would be appropriate to give a civics lesson to a message recorder.
Driving on Middletown’s roads has been a real challenge. It may be related to shake, rattle and maybe roll.
Middletown needs to take lessons from the Monmouth County Road Department. The work done by this department can be described as nothing less than excellent.
Middletown needs to learn how to plan, manage, deploy, schedule and implement the skills of its workers. They are a great group of guys. They should have the opportunity to do a great job.
P.S. I can’t wait for the next snowstorm. I’m thinking about purchasing a snowmobile.
Belford section of
>The audio clip below are comments made by Gerry Scharfenberger before he gave his prepared outgoing speech as Middletown’s Mayor during the Township’s annual Reorganization Meeting. The clip is a classic example of Scharfenbegrer at his best, Gerry felt compelled to address the snow removal effort of the Township and it’s employees which have come under fire by many township residents.
As usual, Gerry overstates his role in the clean up efforts and mentions that people should read his message that is posted at the Township’s website that further explains what was done in response to mitigate the effects of the blizzard that struck Middletown on December 26th.
As he states, “It was an act of God”
>For those that my be interested in knowing (as I was), Tuesday’s tax lien sale in Middletown happened as planned despite the snow emergency that was declared by our Mayor.
So while residents were busy trying to get out of their driveways and streets in order to get to work on time or make it out for bread and milk, Town Hall was plowed clean and was accessible to those that braved the elements to participate in the sale.
I was told that the sale went well but didn’t finish until after 5 pm due to the conditions outside. Evidently the sale started a little late but went on without a hitch afterwards. I didn’t ask how much was collected but the woman I spoke to said that they were happy with the outcome.
So the moral to the story as they say is “The show must go on”.
It doesn’t matter whether or not streets are plowed or basic services are provided for the safety of area residents. What matters is as long as the Town gets it’s share of the pie, nothing else matters.
Maybe the tax sale could have been postponed for a day or so and those resources used to clear out Town Hall, could have been better utilized digging the Town out from under all the snow.
>It’s only taken 4 days, but as far as I’m concerned, I am done with shoveling. The last bit of snow that need to be shoveled was covering the sidewalks in front of my house.
It took about two hours to shovel close to 3oo hundred feet of sidewalk, but it is now over and done with until the next storm, which I hope wont be anytime soon.
Status report on the condition of the streets through out my neighborhood is that the streets are doing better. It now seems that the town snow plows have gone through the streets of the development at least once. I am hoping that they can make it back for a second pass soon, there is still an awful lot of snow that needs to be pushed off to the side in order to widen roads for safer passage.
>It’s just not me complaining about the “Snow Job” that we have received courtesy of our town, others are complaining as well. The following letter to the editor appears in today’s online edition of the Asbury Park Press:
The Middletown Department of Public Works knew well in advance of the snowstorm that hit on Sunday. Yet, it’s Monday night at 9:15 p.m., and my street, Melrose Terrace, has yet to see one plow. I spoke to friends who work for the Department of Public Works, and they say that they are all home and all plowing is contracted out.
Who is in charge? I’ve been trying to call all day and just get voice mail.
As a worker for a power company, I have to get to work or my job is in jeopardy — no excuses.
I also have a daughter with autism and if we had an emergency it would take hours for EMTs to get here, if not days.
Where’s the mayor? I’ll bet his street is plowed. Neither he nor anyone on his staff is answering the phone. I’ve lived in Middletown for 48 years and I never thought I would say this but I think it’s time to move out of this state.
>I just pulled into the driveway a short while ago after working all night, why is it that I am not surprised to see that none of the streets in my neighborhood have been touched by a snow plow?
I thought that Gerry Scharfenberger issued a statement saying that by midnight of last night the goal was to have at least all the streets in town plowed at least once?
So far the only street that looks like it had been touched overnight was Main St., which is a thoroughfare and should have been plowed and salted to being with for safety purposes.
Like most of what Gerry declares, his statement was nothing more than a blast hot air, but unfortunately for residents, that hot air can’t be used to plow or melt all the snow in the streets.
>I was just forwarded the following press release from Middletown Township, from what I have been told, it hasn’t been added to the Township website just yet but will be there shortly.
After reading it though, it just seems like an attempt at damage control. I haven’t been out in the car driving on the main streets, but from what neighbors have told me, many of the main streets are awful and almost impassable, Harmony Road and Rt 35 leading to Shoprite being one of them.
This release also seem to contradict what a neighbor also told me about the township workers begin sent home during clean- up efforts because the Township doesn’t want to spend anymore more on overtime:
Middletown Township Road Crews are continuing to battle one of the most severe snow storms in recent memory. Crews have been on the road working round the clock since 10:00 AM Sunday. Township crews, consisting of 40 plows and 6 front end loaders, supplemented by an additional 20-25 plows and 4 front end loaders belonging to private contractors will continue working all day through the night in hopes of reaching all streets by late Tuesday.
Road crews will generally prioritize main and arterial roads first, before getting into local residential streets and cul-de-sacs. Township plows must give top priority to clearing the way for first aid and fire emergencies during storms. So far there have been 269 fire and first aid emergency incidents in the last 36 hours and over 1200 emergency calls. Normal for this time period would be about 80 incidents.
Anyone who does not absolutely need to be on the road should remain at home as long as possible. The fewer cars on the road, the faster plow operators can complete their work. The sheer volume of the snow generated by this storm is far greater than we have seen in many years and therefore plowing is taking longer than usual. We do ask your patience in completing the plowing; we will get to all streets eventually.
Due to a tremendous call volume some calls will not go through. Emergency 911 calls should be limited to true medical and health emergencies.
Calls simply asking when your street will plowed will be difficult to answer, due to the magnitude of the situation we are facing, but again our goal is to reach all street’s at least one by midnight tonight.