Category Archives: bonding debt

An Open Letter to Middletown Residents From Carol Fowler

I am a mother of two whose family goes back four generations in Middletown and whose children were educated in our Middletown schools. For the first time in my family’s history, I see families being priced out of our Township, because of our soaring taxes. As our incomes have remained flat, we have seen steady, significant municipal tax increases exceeding 40% in the last 6 years. If you believe every municipality has experienced these increases, think again. While many of our surrounding towns have had minimal or no increases in taxes, over the last six years, our elected officials have burdened our citizens with a dramatic tax increase unmatched by our surrounding communities. Many members of the next generation of Middletown children cannot afford to live here. Poor management of our local government produced these unnecessary tax hikes. I am running for office to reverse this trend.

We must start by reducing taxes by cutting our debt, which has mushroomed over the last decade under the current regime from $48million to $72 million. Over the last decade, our Township Committee has overspent its way through an $8 million dollar Arts Center, bonded for $2.5 million for turf fields for our kids that disappeared somewhere in the Town’s budget, and paid the same politically connected engineering firm to work on every Township engineering project without competitive bidding for the last 30 years or more.
We must also cut spending, consolidate services with the Board of Education and neighboring towns and look for partnerships with private and non-profit entities. We must continue the trend initiated by the efforts of my Democratic predecessors Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short to privatize more of our brush collection, and open up our professional contract awards to competitive bidding. For the last few decades, I’ve been an executive officer of our volunteer first aid squad. I’ve recorded many business meetings and, when a purchase is necessary, three bids are sought and then voted on. Why can’t our Town do the same for professional services that cost taxpayers well over $1,000,000 per year?
These steps are easy to grasp, but have eluded the current regime, because these steps would threaten the cozy, lucrative relationship enjoyed by the professionals retained by our elected officials to serve this Township. You may not be aware of how your Township is being run, because the Township Committee steadfastly refuses to televise its meetings. If you visit the websites of similar-sized or even smaller municipalities (e.g. East Brunswick, Rahway), you will find complete coverage of their regular meetings, where any citizen who wants to can see how their tax dollars are being spent. What do we have to hide? How come we broadcast events form the Arts Center, concerts in our parks, but not our Town meetings?
Walking our township, I’ve seen with my own eyes that we have seniors who can barely afford to purchase food, as well as victimized homeowners who lose everything when a tropical storm sweeps through, with no solution in place to their long time flooding predicament. Our town’s Senior Center has a very good food program, yet the recreational side of it is not as attractive to seniors, who pay a nominal non-resident fee to attend the more enjoyable Keyport Senior Center. Why can’t we have equally attractive senior programs at our own Center?
I want to restore this town to what it was — a reliable and affordable place to live. But I also insist that we keep in step with what our neighboring communities offer to residents. Our recreational facilities and our overall Recreation Department lag far behind the thoughtfully planned recreational centers available to resident of townships far smaller than Middletown. When elected leaders take your hard-earned money for taxes, you need to know that they will spend it wisely. The current regime has failed miserably, and I hope you will consider a vote for change.
Carol Fowler
Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee

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Filed under Arts Center, bonding debt, Brookdale Democratic Club, Carol Fowler, high taxes, letter to the editor, Middletown Township Committee, Senior Center, televised meetings

>Tony Fiore Respondes to Latest Robo-Call

>Over on his “new” blog provided by Middletown-Patch, Middletown’s acting mayor Tony Fiore, has addressed the latest robo-call that was sent out by the group Concerned Citizens Of Middletown, that talked about the amount of debt the Township is carrying. If you ask me, Fiore’s response just lends credence to the message that went out last Friday.

His answer is the same stock answer that has been given many times before but only this time he providers a true debt number of $72million that so many before him have been reluctant to confirm!


And how is it that Mr. Fiore is so sure who is responsible for these robo-calls when so many (myself included) do not? He blames the Middletown Democrats for placing them, which if that was the case, I think I would know about it. It seems to me that these robo-calls have struck a nerve and seem to be factual based by his response to them.

Also I believe, the point of how much debt the town can borrow itself into, is a silly one; who cares what a towns’ or persons’ credit card limit is when it is already difficult to meet the minimum payments on the balance!

Middletown hasn’t had it debt rating updated in several years, It has been shown recently that credit rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor aren’t worth much. After the financial meltdown of the past few years, many of the investments that caused the near collapse of the economy were rated A, AA, or AAA from both of these institutions. Knowing that why would anyone want to tout how special they are? They’re not.

On the final point about the blocking of a return phone number, I don’t know what Fiore is talking about, unless he wants to incite others into believing that these messages have no integrity, which I’m sure is his intent, he is living up to him nick-name of the “Fibber”. Every call that I have received by Concerned Citizens of Middletown, including Friday’s, had a return number left on my caller-id.
True it wasn’t a Middletown phone number or one from the immediate area (I think it was Dunellen), but there was in fact a phone number associated with the call.
On a side note – I don’t know how Fiore’s blog on Middletown-Patch works, but this posting was dated Tuesday May 24 at 12:58 PM, right in the middle of a busy work day. Doesn’t Tony have a job that he needs to attend to at 1pm in the afternoon? True, he may have been on his lunch hour but I think not. Working on Township business (which this clearly is), on company time is a No-No as everyone knows.
I wonder what his employer would think????

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Filed under blog, bonding debt, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, debt service, Middletown NJ, Middletown Patch, Moody's, Robo-calls, Standard and Poors, Tony Fiore

>New Robo Call From Concerned Citizens Of Middletown Received Over The Weekend

>A new robo call was issued over the weekend by the group calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Middletown. I received the call Friday when I check my messages on the answering machine.

This latest call talks about whether or not you fell stressed because you can’t make ends meet and have to live within a budget, something that the Middletown Township Committee has a hard time doing. The Township is currently $73 million in debt according to the message and will have to borrow more money to pay for tax appeals.

Listen to it and please comment, I am interested in seeing what readers think of this latest call that went out to residents. If you have a hard time hearing the audio (I tapped it off the answering machine), I transcribed the message below.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

Hello, I am a middletown resident, stressed like you, and needing to cut my budget.

Have you heard the Township Committee cannot live within its budget?

They raise taxes, then borrow more money to cover poor planning.

Our debt level, currently at 73 million will have at least an additional 6 million to cover the tax appeals from the last re-evaluation.

Can your budget survive this kind of borrowing? Mine can’t.

Paid for by Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

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Filed under Audio clips, bonding debt, borrowing, budgeting, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, poor planning, Robo-calls, stressed out