Category Archives: budget resolution

>Middletown Budget Introduction and Public Hearing For New Salary (Bonus) Ordinance On Tonight’s Agenda

>During tonight’s Middletown Township monthly workshop meeting, two items are on the agenda that should be of interest to residents, the Township spending plan for 2011 will be introduced and Ordinance 2011-3027 will be given it’s public hearing.

The Township Committee, unlike prior years, will not host a special meeting tonight for the introduction of the Township’s proposed FY2011. Instead the introduction will be part of tonight’s workshop meeting and will limit resident comments and questions until the “Public Comments” portion of the meeting at end of the night.

After the budget introduction a public hearing is scheduled to take place on Ordinance 2011-3027 – the “Ordinance Amending Management Salaries and Non-Union Employees for 2011- Revised”, A.K.A “the Bonus” ordinance. For those that are not familiar this ordinance , this is the controversial ordinance that will authorize $20,000 worth of bonuses (or Stipends as mayor Fiore has now been calling them) to Middletown’s Tax Assessor Charles Heck and his assistant for work they did preparing for the Townships’ recent reassessment which was conducted by Reality Appraisal. This ordinance is scheduled for adoption at the next Township Committee on April 18th, so now is the time to speak out against it.

The meeting is expected to start at 8pm in the small conference room off the Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, so it would be wise to show-up early in case there is a large crowd interested in hearing the details behind this years budget or the proposed salary ordinance. Hopefully though, if that is the case and a large number of indiviuals show-up the meeting will be moved to the larger Court Room.

I hope to see you there.

Here is a link to tonight’s meeting agenda

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Filed under bonuses, budget introduction, budget resolution, Charles Heck, Middletown Township Committee, proposed budget, workshop meeting

>Tuesday’s Budget Approval Meeting In Middletown Designed To Limit Debate and Questions From The Public

>This coming Tuesday night Sept. 7th at 6pm, Middletown will finally adopt it’s 2010 Municipal budget. The budget will be 9 months late contain an 11.79 % tax increase to the municipal tax rate.

The regularly schedule meeting of Middletown Township Committee, which is open to the public, will not start until 8pm. This meeting will be preceded by an Executive session meeting at 7pm, which means that if the residents or members of the public wish to attend both the budget meeting and the regular meeting they will have to hang out for at least an hour in between, from 7-8pm, until the Executive session meeting is concluded.

This type of scheduling puts an undue burden on the members of the public that would like to attend both meetings.

The early meeting time to adopt the budget was requested at last Monday’s special meeting that was held during a power outage that left many residents stuck on the road unable to navigate the streets or stuck in their homes waiting for some kind of relief, by our ‘very open’ mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger.

If possible, I would encourage interested residents to try and make both public meetings, but if they can’t, they should at the very least express their dissatisfaction with Scharfenberger and in the scheduling time of these meetings by calling Town Hall @ 732-615-2015.

As I see it, there is no reason that the budget adoption meeting could not be held at the same time as the regular meeting. The Budget Adoption Resolution is only one resolution that needs to be voted on. The public can speak on it before it is voted on like other resolutions or ordinances that are offered up for comments before approval or adoption.

As it stands now, there is no discussion planned to review the changes that this amendment will make, nor are there any discussion planned as to what took place in Trenton on August 26th, that allowed Middletown to exceed a State budget cap of 4%.

There will be no discussion on anything unless the public comes forward and demands it.

You can read the Agenda for Tuesday’s Budget Adoption/Workshop Meeting >>> Here

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Filed under 4% budget cap, budget meeting, budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, resolutions and ordinances

>Middletown Special Budget Meeting: 15 Minutes Will Getcha 11.79% Municipal Tax Increase

>I wasn’t able to make it to last nights special budget introduction meeting in Middletown, I had a prior commitment that I needed to attend. However, even if I had been able to attend I may not have gotten there in time anyway, by all accounts the meeting lasted only 15 minutes. It was called to order at exactly 6pm and was over by 6:15pm, I’m told.

Given the fact that there was a major power outage just prior to the start of the meeting, which made traveling the roads nightmarish for many, it is outrageous to think that the Township would not have held up the meeting for a short while to allow people to get to Town Hall in order to hear the presentation of the amended Municipal Budget.

But I guess when you have to announce something as painful as a 11.79% increase to the municipal tax rate the sooner that you can get the meeting over with the better.

From what I have been told by a few that were in attendance, it was like mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Town Administrator Tony Mercantante and CFO Nick Trasente had this big secret to keep. None of the 3 wanted to directly answer questions about the resolution that was introduced for the purpose of amending the proposed budget, which originally had called for a 13.87% tax increase.

When asked directly, by what percentage the tax increase to the Municipal budget was going to be, Scharfenberger kept responding “2.9%” (which has been Scharfy’s standard line). The question was repeated a few more times for clarification at which point Nick Trasente stepped in and told the questioners that the information was in the resolution document and that they were still making adjustments before the budget would be formally introduced on Sept. 7th at the next meeting (Township Workshop meeting).

At that point the meeting ended abruptly some 15 minutes after it started.

You can see the resolution for yourself >>> Here

The major change proposed to the budget is that the Township will be collecting an additional $5.3M from property taxes instead of $5.5M that was proposed earlier. So the Municipal tax rate will be increasing by 11.79% instead of 13.87% and most certainly NOT the 2.9% that Scharfenberger wants all to believe.
I hope to have audio of the meeting soon so that I can hear for myself what took place. When I have the audio I’ll post it here on the blog for others to listen to also.

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Filed under budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Nick Trasente, special budget meeting, tax increase, Tony Mercantante

>"SoundBites" From Middletown’s Recent Township Committee Meeting

>This past Monday night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting once again did not disappoint those that were in attendance when it came time for comments by Committee members.

I walked into the meeting late and didn’t have the opportunity to witness or hear for myself the introduction of Resolution 10-210, which calls for supporting property tax relief through State assumption of per pupil educational costs that our mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger has been touting recently by suggesting that a “percentage” increase to the State’s sales tax would be the key to lowering property taxes in Middletown.

(Scharfenberger introduces tax resolution)
http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf
Many feel that this resolution is nothing more than an attempt by Sharfenberger and those in the majority, to play a political “shell game” that would divert Middletown resident’s attention away from the proposed 14% increase in the municipal tax rate that is called for in the as yet adopted 2010 Township budget.
After the resolution was passed by a 3-1 vote (Committeeman Sean Byrnes being the lone decenter and Committeeman Steve Massell not present to vote), it was time for committee comments.
In the audio that can be heard below Byrnes explains why he voted against the mayor’s resolution. He stated that it was designed to take the focus off of the Township’s proposed budget that includes a 14% tax increase and clearly shows the lack of planning on the Township’s part on budget issues and finance. After his comments many of those in attendance shows their appreciation for Byrnes’s level-headed and sensible explanation as to why this resolution would do nothing to alleviate taxes in Middletown and why it was nothing more that a distraction a way from the Township’s budget.
(Byrnes’s Comments)
Deputy(dog)-mayor Tony Fiore took offense to much of what Byrnes had to say, stating that terms like consolidation, planning and committees were nothing more that “soundbites” and that indeed the Committee(those in the majority) had a plan to control costs through the use of lay-offs and the reduction of insurance costs once employee contracts were up at the end of the year.
After the Committee comments portion of the meeting was finished and the floor was open to members of the public a handful of those in attendance who had just received their tax bills came up to the podium to question the Committee about the large increases that they saw in them. These people were assured that by the 4th quarter of the billing cycle all would be well and not assume that based on the 3rd quarter bills have any bearing on what their new yearly tax bills were going to be.
A few weren’t feeling very assured and questioned the mayor and deputy-mayor about what their plan actually was because they had been hearing most of the night that a plan was in place to control costs and limit tax increases, but when pushed and prodded they had no answers.
Dustin Racioppi of Redbankgreen.com has an account of what went down Monday night. When reading his column make sure to read the ending comments left by readers, they are fascinating and real eye-openers.
Residents are not as foolish as Scharfenberger and Fiore think they are. They know when they are being made out to be fools and are intelligent enough to tell the difference between being deceived and told the truth.

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Filed under Audio clips, budget resolution, committee meeting, Gerry Scharfenberger, green, Middletown Township Committee, RedBankGreen.com, Sean F. Byrnes, tax bills, tax increase, Tony"the fibber"Fiore

Middletown Schedules Second Attempt For Budget Introduction Monday Night


Posted on it’s website earlier today, Middletown announced that there will be Special Meeting of the Township Committee, Monday June 21, 2010, 7:00 PM Town Hall Main Meeting Room, for the purpose of the Introduction of Municipal Budget.

This will be the second attempt at introducing the township budget to the public. The first meeting you will recall that was scheduled for June 2nd, had to be officially postponed due to the lack of an available quorum of committee members. Unofficially it was rumored, the real reason for the cancellation was due to the lack of support to introduce a budget that contained a 15% tax increase prior to the June 8th Primary where the mayor was facing a primary challenger.
As it so happens, Monday night is also when the regularly scheduled monthly Township Committee meeting takes place. It will be interesting to see if the Township releases the budget resolution along with the meeting agenda and other resolutions for the night, on the township website before 7 PM Monday.
Back before the June 2nd Budget Introduction Meeting was cancelled, the Township Committee and Administrator caught flack from residents for their lack of transparency when they decided not to post the budget resolution online before the meeting.
Hopefully this time they will learn from their earlier mistake and post the resolution online prior to introduction, so that residents have an opportunity to see what it contains and how it will effect them so that they can question how and where their tax dollars will be spent for the rest of the year.

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Filed under budget resolution, Introduction, Middletown Township Committee, special budget meeting

Half Truths and Sugar Coating Doesn’t Change The Fact Middletown Has a $5M Budget Deficit And Strong Leadership Is Needed

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Filed under Audio clips, budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middeltown Township, Nick Trasente, RedBankGreen.com

Byrnes: 2010 Will Bring Layoffs To Middletown

BY TOM SHORTELL – The Independent

Growing financial woes and increasing debt will force the township to institute layoffs next year, Committeeman Sean Byrnes said at the Middletown Township Committee workshop Dec. 7.

Byrnes predicted the township would cut people from the municipal payroll because of a myriad of financial problems. In 2010, the township faces shrinking revenue and mounting debt, he said. Additional restraints could emerge if New Jersey’s financial problems bring less state aid or if unions win their lawsuit to end government furloughs, he said.

“There’s going to be layoffs,” Byrnes said.

The township will also face contract negotiations with four labor unions next year, including the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and the Superior Officers Association, said Anthony Mercantante, township administrator.

“[Next] year is going to be ugly — UG L-Y, ugly,” Byrnes said.

The township has begun making a layoff plan should the Township Committee ultimately decide it’s the best way to manage the budget, Mercantante said. However, he said the move is a precaution commonly taken by municipalities before budget discussions begin.

“You just need to be prepared, not knowing how much the Township Committee is going to raise taxes, if at all,” he said.

The state’s Civil Service Commission would have to approve any layoffs, Mercantante said. The process typically takes months, he added.

“The existence of a plan does not necessarily mean layoffs are going to happen,” he said.

The committee’s two Democrats, Byrnes and Committeeman Patrick Short, raised the issue of layoffs in a debate over how to pay $1.3 million in health insurance bills and workers’ compensation. The township’s insurance manager warned the committee during the summer that insurance costs were running high for the year, they said.

The workshop agenda contained a resolution to pay those bills with money from the not-yet-created 2010 budget through an emergency appropriation.

The Democrats, however, refused to vote for the resolution. The $1.3 million, when tallied with existing debt, would put the township in a $4 million deficit to begin 2010, Byrnes said.

“It’s a huge number, and it’s frightening. I think we can do it [balance the 2010 budget], but I think there’s a lot of radical steps that need to be done,” Byrnes said….


Read More >>> Here

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Filed under budget resolution, layoffs, Middletown Township, New Jersey, Sean F. Byrnes

It’s Payback Time In Middletown: So Far Township Facing $4 Million Budget Shortfall For 2010 – Layoffs Pending

I attended the Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting last night to hear what would be said about the Emergency Appropriation Resolution 09-277.
This resolution was for the purpose of borrowing ~ $1.5 million from next years budget to pay for worker’s compensation claims and other employee medical benefits that the township did not budget for this year.
There was a lively discussion on the subject that lasted nearly an hour. Committeemen Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short questioned the Township Administrator about how and why, with less than 30 day left in the calendar year, did the township find that it needed to borrow such a large amount of money against next years budget when the projected budget for next year was already a few million dollars short.
The simple answer was the Township did not foresee that worker’s compensation claims and other employee health benefit claims would be at such a level as to need more money than budgeted for in the previous year’s (2008) budget. And after all, the bills needed to be paid.
The money that was set aside this year for health benefits and claims was ~ $2 million less than last year. The reason being was because recent trends over the past several years showed that health claims rose and fell from one year to next. With this in mind, the powers that be who shaped the 2009 budget decided to gamble on the trends downward slope and under funded the Township’s health care plan.
In the 2008 budget ~ $6 million was appropriated for benefits but at the end of the year, much like this year, an emergency appropriation 0f $500,000 was needed as opposed to an ~ $1.5 million. I would say that their gamble did not pay off.
Committeeman Byrnes was relentless in his questioning and would not support the resolution as written without assurances from the rest of the committee that further review of township finances would be made before the end of the year. To get these assurances Byrnes only agreed to support a resolution for $800,000 of the $1.5 million emergency appropriation at last nights meeting. The other $700,000 will be appropriated through a new resolution at the December 21st committee meeting if Byrnes receives proper answers to his questions about how next years budget will be addressed.
The reason why Sean Byrnes is being such a stickler over the 2010 budget is because at this present time it is being projected by the Township Committee, that there will be a minimum of a $4 million shortfall in revenues next year with this resolution and by the time January or February comes around it could be a couple of million more dollars short.
When Byrnes pressed the Township Administrator over what plans he intends to present to the Committee to curtail costs next year the administrator, Tony Mercantante said that among other things, plans were in the works for employee layoffs starting in either January or February of 2010 but paper work must first be filed with the State before any layoffs could take effect.
With this in mind I have to ask once again, why not listen to Sean Byrnes and establish a nonpartisan Finance Committee that could identify problems like this in advance and work towards budget solutions before they become problems in the first place?

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Filed under anca, budget resolution, Budget Shortfall, Finance Committee, Middletown, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Tony Mercantante

It’s Payback Time In Middletown: Emergency Appropriations Needed to Pay Bills

One of the more interesting pieces of information to come out of last Monday nights Middletown Township Committee meeting was the fact that the Middletown can’t pay its bills.

Resolution No.09-263 which passed unanimously, authorized the borrowing of approx. $1.5 million to pay the interest on a $10 million Tax Anticipation Note.

This emergency appropriation needed to be made because funds were not made available to pay the interest on the note in the 2009 township budget that was passed in August.

This just goes to show you what another fine mess the Middletown GOP has gotten us into. The GOP majority members couldn’t negotiate in good faith with Democratic members on the committee to come up with a budget that was responsible and would not have included a 9 % tax increase, instead they turned over the budget to the State and succumbed to pressure to put off pension payments and reduce surpluses to get an approval for a 5.2% increase while in the process they forgot that appropriate money for the interest on the $10 million Tax Anticipation Note.

Great Job!

I bring this up because it Looks like the Feds are going to have problems servicing debt payments on their bills soon.

Below is the resolution:

EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION
NJSA 40A:4-48
WHEREAS, an emergency has arisen with respect to the interest due on the $10,000,000
Tax Anticipation Note authorized pursuant to Resolution 09-205 adopted on August 3, 2009, and no adequate provision was made in the 2009 budget for the aforesaid purpose, and NJS 40A:4-46 provides for the creation on an emergency appropriation for the purpose mentioned above, and
WHEREAS, the total amount of the emergency appropriations created, including the appropriation to be created by this resolution is $51,334.00 and three (3) percent of the total operating appropriations in the budget for 2009 is $1,478,267.00 and
WHEREAS, the foregoing appropriation together with prior appropriations does not exceed
three (3) percent of the total operating appropriations (including utility operation appropriations) in the budget for 2009,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, (by not less than 2/3 of all governing body
members affirmatively concurring) that in accordance with NJS 40A:4-48:
1. An emergency appropriation is here by made for: 9-01-45-935-200-200 – Debt Service – Interest on Tax Anticipation Note
2. That said emergency appropriation shall be provided for in full in the 2009 budget,
and is requested to be excluded from CAPS, pursuant to NJS 40A:4-53.3c(1)
3. That two (2) certified copies of this resolution be filed with the Director of the Division of Local Government Services

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Filed under Budget, budget resolution, Middletown

Middletown Republicans Put Politics Front and Center, Adopt NJ State Republican Party Resolution Condemning Corzine Budget

Contact: Joe Caliendo, Chairman, Middletown Democrats

8 Daniel Drive, Middletown, NJ 07748
Tel: 732-299-6470

Press Release

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: Middletown committeemen Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short decided not to cooperate with the politics of parties over people at the April 20th session of that governing body.

The Middletown Committee’s Republican Majority adopted, by a vote of 3 to 2, a resolution they received from the New Jersey Assembly’s Republican Office that did not constructively criticize the governor’s spending plan – the resolution was just politics as usual.

“I’m not a fan of the governor’s budget, but this resolution was created for clearly political reasons,” said Byrnes, who is also running for a 3-year seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders this year.

Byrnes noted that the proclamation adopted by the Middletown Committee did not offer any actual recommendations. Instead, it sought no tax increases, program cuts, personnel cuts or any other belt-tightening measures. In addition, the document was filled with partisan references geared to an election season instead of the kind of work government should be accomplishing when convened. “I expected a comment about a magic wand somewhere,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes faulted Gov. Corzine for not making the tough choices that should have been made in the spending plan this year, especially in the current economic environment. Some of the ways that Byrnes recommended should have been explored on the state level included: reigning in high-paying salaries for top state officials, examining ways to fundamentally revisit the organization of state government and the way it offers services, and exploring consolidation of services.

Otherwise, without this kind of thoughtful approach to critiquing the state budget, complaints about the spending plan lack real seriousness where it involves a subject that warrants it.

Short similarly criticized the language of the resolution, noting that state spending has to be examined in the context of the plan and government spending has to be reined in realistically. He stressed that much more work could be to improve the lot of state taxpayers, but noted that political posturing isn’t the way to achieve it.

Rather than engage this line of discussion, committee Republicans offered criticism without anything constructive in their arguments. Republican Committeeman Anthony Fiore criticized the financial subsidies that cities like Camden, Newark and Jersey City receive. He offered that more of an emphasis should be placed on suburban towns by the state.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended adopting the Assembly GOP resolution through his criticism of universal preschool in New Jersey.

Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo noted, “If Republicans either in Trenton or Middletown want to make a change to give taxpayers a better break, they are going to need to have actual ideas of their own – not just criticisms. Democrats do not need to change parties to say what they think – because party lines aren’t what is going to change things for the better.”

Caliendo explained that it is not enough for Scharfenberger or anyone else to point to Trenton and say that the state government is the sole problem with what is wrong in Middletown. “When someone is usually wrong they look to shift blame from themselves. The Middletown Committee has been Republican controlled for 28 years and if there is a problem in this town with the budget and its oversight it isn’t Trenton’s fault. It is the fault of the people in charge of the town, and they happen to be Republicans,” Caliendo said.

He added that, where it involves Trenton, it was not Jon Corzine that created the state’s fiscal crisis. Rather, Caliendo noted that it was former Gov. Christine Todd-Whitman who did more to place the Garden State into the red than all of New Jersey’s governor’s combined, and she happened to be Republican. “If the Republican Party could stop lying, then Democrats wouldn’t have to keep telling the truth about them. There are things that could have been done better in this year’s state budget but it takes real recommendations to make changes and not just posturing by the GOP,” Caliendo concluded.

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Filed under budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Jon Corzine, Joe Caliendo, Middletown, Middletown GOP, Middletown Township Committee, Monmouth County, Patrick Short, Republican Majority, Sean F. Byrnes