Category Archives: Byrnes and Mahoney

>Middletown’s Byrnes & Mahoney Wish To Thank Their Supporters

>Dear Supporters,

We are so grateful to all of you for sacrificing your time and supporting us during our campaign for the Middletown Township Committee.

Obviously, we are disappointed with the outcome, but not with the effort put forth by all of you. We would encourage you to remain engaged and optimistic about the future. We saw many new faces this year, and those of you who have been working on the Party’s behalf for many years helped us to convince over 2,000 voters, who voted for Republican Congressional candidates, to cast a vote for us. We believe these “crossover” voters were the product of your door to door efforts and running a campaign based on substance.

Our goal is to build on these efforts. We learned that knocking on doors and delivering our message in person can deliver a district to our side, even in a tough election year. Some of you covered every door in your district, and we won those districts.

Above all, we are proud of the professional campaign we ran, which focused on issues and never allowed our approach to descend into name-calling or personal attacks. Our written materials relied upon empirical facts, and we took great pains to make sure that our assertions were factual. We established ourselves as a credible alternative to those that have controlled this Township for too long.

Looking ahead, we will continue to fight for greater transparency in our local government and work to hold all elected officials accountable for their actions.

You have given us a great gift, and we will never forget it—a gift of your time and energy and deep concern for all of us who live in Middletown. We will forever hold you in our hearts remembering your generosity.

With the warmest regards,

Sean Byrnes & Mary Mahoney

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>Democrats Byrnes & Mahoney Lose In Middletown;Township Committee Will Revert Back To 5-0 Super Majority

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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.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Byrnes and Mahoney, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, NJDEP, Patrick Short, Shadow Lake

>Election Day 2010

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When you go out to the polls today in Middletown remember to

And pull the lever for Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney

(And while you’re at it, a vote for Holt, Pallone, Venables, D’Amico and Brophy would be in order also)

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, election day, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown

>Dear Fellow Middletown Residents Support Byrnes & Mahoney

>The power of the Internet and email is amazing to me. I don’t know who authored this letter but I have received it from nearly a dozen different individuals, some on my contact list and from others that I don’t even know. From what I happen to know about Sean Byrnes’s record and of Mary Mahoney, I would have to say that it is right on.

Dear Fellow Middletown Resident,

Someone you know has sent this to you as an effort to help make residents more aware of what has been happening behind the scenes of our local government, and why our property taxes are so high and continue to rise. Due to our Township Committee’s refusal to institute ways of making our local government more transparent, most residents really have no way of knowing the decisions the Committee has been making about how they spend our tax dollars. It has been that way for three decades and Mayor Scharfenberger and the Middletown Republican Party would like to keep it that way.

It is not only impossibly expensive, but it is just impossible to communicate the truth the traditional way- with signs, ads and direct mailings. There is simply too much important information that people need to know, and hopefully this email will serve that purpose. Thank you for taking a few minutes to read it. This election is pivotal for Middletown. Voters need to be able to make a truly informed decision, not just rely on distortions, misinformation and character assassinations.

Sean Byrnes is the only Democrat on the Township Committee. For those of you who don’t pay close attention to how our local governing body operates, Sean is widely recognized as the fiscal conservative on the Committee. This stems from his experience handling budgets for the U. S. Coast Guard during a time when the Coast Guard was repeatedly suffering reductions in funding. He has voted against the last 3 Middletown municipal budgets voicing frustration at the Township’s failure to shrink the size of local government and the absence of any Finance Committee to prepare a financial plan for the Township. Over his objection, each of the three years he has been in office, the majority has approved substantial increases in our municipal tax levy. The municipal tax levy in 2005 was $31,217,469, and it is $45,349,477 for 2010. That’s a 45% jump in the 6 years that Gerry Scharfenberger has been in office. There have been recent Township mailings going out to households (paid for with taxpayer dollars by the way) “spinning” the tax statistics to make them look better. The truth is that the numbers speak for themselves:

In 2010, a comparison of the 8 neighboring municipalities revealed that Middletown had the highest jump in the municipal tax levy.

Here are the numbers:

Although the Mayor has cited large snowplowing expenses and other factors as the cause for this substantial increase, the reality is that all of these towns faced the same financial pressures, but only Middletown has had to seek approval from the Local Finance Board for Emergency Appropriations in each of the last 3 years to allow Middletown to exceed its scheduled appropriations.

Committeeman Byrnes has recommended sweeping changes in how Middletown delivers its services, but as the lone Democrat, he cannot even get a second vote to allow discussion of his ideas. Here are some examples:

· He sought to force competitive bids for all engineering work related to roads and other larger projects in town, instead of hiring the same politically-connected engineering firm to do all Township engineering work over the last 35 years. This firm gets paid on average over $1,000,000 every year.

· He has recommended consolidating the maintenance personnel in the Parks & Recreation Department, Public Works Department and the maintenance personnel working for the Board of Education.

· He pushed for privatization of much of the Township’s leaf and brush pickup, which consumes a large portion of the Township’s workforce. The Committee reluctantly agreed to bid out a small portion of the Township and realized a savings of $100,000 when the bid was received.

· He has recommended partnering with local non-profits like the YMCA to provide non-essential services like cultural and recreational activities so as to eliminate excessive costs associated with full-time employees’ pay and benefits, including health benefits that extend into retirement years.

· He has asked his fellow Committee members for 3 years to create a Finance Committee like every other municipality and well-run organization, but they have refused. He suspects that his fellow Committee members fear bringing citizens into the financial planning for the Township, because it would reveal the dire shape of the Township’s finances and the poor decision making by the Committee which got the town into this situation in the first place. Also, those no-bid contracts, politically–appointed positions (with benefits) and other practices would finally be brought to light if the public became involved. He knows that Middletown is rich with talent and resources – very highly-qualified people who, regardless of party affiliation, would volunteer to examine the budget and make recommendations to the Committee on how to cut costs and save tax dollars. Numerous other towns, with budgets a fraction of the size of Middletown’s, utilize Finance Committees to help them make the best decisions. It is absurd that a township the size of Middletown does not. It is unnerving to think why that is so.

· He believes that the residents of Middletown need to be more engaged in the governing process and he has observed a disconnect between the residents and their elected officials. He has advocated for televising the Township meetings to allow broader access to the public, but the Mayor and majority refuse to do so. They don’t want anyone to really know what is going on. Why is that? Byrnes did however have some success with his request to have the resolutions posted on the town website. This means that residents are now able to see what is being discussed and voted on at the Committee meetings through the website. Prior to that, anyone who went to a meeting would have no clue what was being discussed. Televising or streamlining the meetings online would be a wonderful way for residents to be connected without having to leave home. Other nearby towns are doing it already at little or no cost and it has been very positively received.

· He has recommended placing the Township’s attorney on a fixed retainer to reduce expenses and add predictability to this line item. The majority has refused to limit the (politically connected) attorney’s expenses in this fashion.

· He has called for a Task Force to examine whether Middletown still needs a Sewerage Authority. There are seven Commissioners of the Sewerage Authority who are entitled to receive pay, pension and health benefits. (Remember, there are only 5 Committee members, who are responsible for the entire township). In addition, the Director earns a salary in excess of $100,000. The Sewerage Authority meets once a month for less than an hour. These members are all active Republicans, including a former Mayor, party Treasurer, party Vice Chair etc. Middletown has been substantially developed and Sean Byrnes believes folding the Authority into the Public Works Department would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead. Efforts by Byrnes to investigate the merger of the Sewage Authority and Township Government have been opposed and blocked by Mayor Scharfenberger.

Both Sean and his running mate, Mary Mahoney, believe these sensible initiatives, if adopted, might have helped to avoid the large-scale tax increases of recent years. Sean and Mary stand by these recommendations. Together they will bring a conservative perspective to the Committee by examining how operations can be improved, by introducing management practices proven to eliminate waste and by improving the depth of research and analysis done prior to making important decisions.

Electing Mary Mahoney will bring strong organizational and leadership skills, currently lacking on the Committee. Her 18 years of experience in the business world honed these skills enabling her to challenge the Committee last year when they were poised to make another poorly planned investment at a time when they were already $5.5M in the red. She helped form a citizens’ group, hired their own engineer, proved the folly of the Committee’s majority leadership and won. In addition, in the past 10 years while raising her two sons Mary has been an active member of her community serving on several local boards dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life for residents of Middletown. Mary’s experiences with our local government have shown her that Middletown’s majority leadership is not representing the residents’ needs and vows to change this.

The Asbury Park Press has had this to say about Sean Byrnes :

“Sean Byrnes’ passion for cutting government spending and increasing transparency separate him from the field” (APP 10/18/09)

(He) “is bright, articulate and has an uncommon grasp of the issues” (APP 10/18/09).

Part of the problem is that without a second vote, resolutions cannot be discussed at Township Committee meetings. Sean’s ideas die on the vine, because no one will second them to allow discussion. This is partisan politics at its worst, and the taxpayers end up paying for it. Electing both Sean and Mary will force discussion of these and their other ideas that will help Middletown reduce waste and manage our tax dollars more efficiently. Once there is a discussion, there is also a public record of those discussions. We will gain transparency in our local government and make our elected officials accountable for their actions.

From the beginning of his term three years ago, Sean Byrnes has been pleading to step up the recycling program in Middletown. Recycling is an issue both the Byrnes and Mahoney families have always felt very strongly about and have been putting into practice for a long time. As Sean has explained at many Committee meetings, it will not only reduce expenses, it will bring in revenue as well. He has described how his own household of 7 people produces less than one can of garbage a week simply by recycling mixed paper and newspaper. No one on the Committee would listen. Now it is election time and the Mayor is campaigning about “his” recycling program. Another request Sean had made months ago was to have a property reassessment for the township. The rest of the Committee would not discuss it. Then, Mayor Scharfenberger introduces a resolution for a reassessment, once again taking credit for Byrnes’ ideas. To make matters worse, he uses taxpayers’ dollars to campaign via Township publications and robocalls sent to every household. This again is partisan politics.

Regardless of their party, voters understand the importance of maintaining balance on the Township Committee. We have not had much of that in recent years. In the last two years, the four Republican Committee members have never disagreed with one another. Over the course of hundreds of votes on resolutions, ordinances, and other matters, they have voted together, never disagreeing with one another. Elected officials should feel comfortable to vote their conscience. They clearly are answering to someone other than the people that elected them; one might suspect it is their local party.

Let’s get some balance on the Township Committee. Let’s give Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney the ability to introduce some of these cost-cutting ideas by electing them. Even if both are successful, it still leaves them in a minority, but it gives them the all-important ability to force discussion on issues like those mentioned above. And because 4 votes are required to approve any bonding for the Township, their presence would curb any excessive reliance on this borrowing power. This is vital since the total bond debt in Middletown went from around $48M in 2001 to over $75M today. The numbers speak for themselves, in just 10 years we have borrowed and are paying interest on an additional $27,000,000.

Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney do not have to try to destroy anyone’s character, distort facts or take quotes out of context and put their own captions under them. They just need to get the truth out there for people to see and judge for themselves.

This election should not be about local politics, it should be about creating a governing body that can reduce spending and provide much needed tax relief for our residents.

You can make a difference by making an informed decision and voting for Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney. You can help make a balanced local government a reality by forwarding this message to every Middletown resident you know.

For more about Sean Byrnes, Mary Mahoney and very interesting information about what has been going on behind the scenes of our local government, and where your tax dollars have been going, visit:

openmiddletown.com

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Byrnes and Mahoney, email, Gerry Scharfenberger, Letters, Mary Mahoney, Middleto

>Video: Mary Mahoney Explains Why She Is Running For Middletown Township Committee

>Mary Mahoney, Democratic Candidate for Middletown Township Committee and running mate of Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes, explains why she is seeking office. This video was take at the Byrnes and Mahoney Town Hall meeting that took place on September 27,2010.

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, Democratic Candidate, Mary Mahoney, Middletown Township Committee, video

>Video: Sean Byrnes discusses Transparency and Televising meetings

>Middletown Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes discusses transparency and the need to televise Township Committee meetings over the Township’s public access channels during the Byrnes and Mahoney Town Hall Meeting that took place on September 27,2010 in Middletown.

Since this video was taken Mayor Scharfenberger has stated that he would not be in favor of televising meetings to the public at any cost because he doesn’t see the value in it.

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Democrats, Sean F. Byrnes, televised meetings, town hall meeting

>Q&A With Middletown Candidates From RedBank.Com

>This morning over at RedBankGreen.com, they published Q&A’s from each candidate seeking office in Middletown this year.

The differences in the candidates answers are striking. Sean Byrnes and Mary Mahoney focussed their answers towards what needs to be fixed with a vision towards the future with details on how they would achieve their goals, while Gerry Scharfenberger and his running mate seem to have their heads in the sand waiting for the Governor and his “tool kit” to fix Middletown’s problems.

One criticism, the pictures of the candidates are horrible and not flattering at all. Did the pictures need to be tinted green?

Below are Byrnes & Mahoney’s answers with the links to Scharfy and his running mate:

BYRNES: FORM A FINANCE TASK FORCE

NAME: Sean F. Byrnes (Democrat, incumbent)

AGE: 47

OCCUPATION: Attorney

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN: 10 years

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

a. Constantly Increasing Taxes.

b. Poor Governance Structure

c. Marginal Transparency

2. What specifically are you planning to do to address those issues?

The Township’s steady tax increases are the product of poor planning and a refusal to make difficult decisions. We had an increase in our municipal tax levy in 2010 that exceeded 13%. By my calculation, our municipal tax levy has jumped approximately 45% in the last 5 or 6 years. We have no published, agreed upon plan for attacking the categories of spending that drive these increases. We need to create the Finance Task Force I have been calling for since my election 2007, include some of our extremely competent residents who have financial backgrounds and develop a written plan to bring our spending in line with our available revenue. This will mean a reduction in services, but so be it. We can do this without cutting the core services that our citizens need. Non-essential services will be reduced. I have recommended the following measures for the last two years, and I will continue to advocate for their implementation:

1. Competitively bid the engineering work for all construction and road projects rather than handing this work to the same firm every year.

2. Consolidate the all maintenance departments in Town (Board of Ed, Recreation and Public Works) into one entity.

3. Privatize a much larger portion of our leaf and brush pickup.

4. Re-negotiate garbage contracts to create incentives for recycling and reduce the number of pickup days, thereby achieving substantial savings.

5. Re-negotiate employee health benefit plans to create incentives for savings.

6. Evaluate consolidating the Sewerage Authority into Public Works.

7. Negotiate fixed retainer agreements with legal professionals working for Township.

8. Re-organize the Parks & Recreation Department to reduce its size and provide for more fee-based services.

In terms of governance, as the managers of a $65M budget, we need to organize our work effort and delegate work to Committees. Middletown has not Finance Committee, no Personnel Committee, No Negotiations Committee and no Property Committee. Each of the 5 members of the Committee is responsible for all areas of Township Government. While this may be true from a fiduciary perspective, when it comes to getting work done, we need to delegate work. A Finance Committee should be working this time of year, preparing a budget for 2011, preparing recommendations for how to cut spending and reaching out to the Board of Eduation to see how we can cooperatively save the Township money by sharing services. Unfortunately, without the committees, we react slowly to changes to our environment. Even though we knew the financial crisis that started in 2008 would produce a loss of revenue, we failed to implement budget cutting measures until well into the crisis. It took two years to conduct layoffs, and we have done little to restructure how our services are delivered. The austere budget environment that we find ourselves in will continue for years to come, and we will need to work twice as hard to meet the demands placed upon us. To do that effectively, we need a delegation of work to subcommittees that are constantly working toward solutions to the changing environment we find ourselves in.

On transparency, the dramatic change required by these difficult times cannot be achieved until our citizens engage and demand change. Unfortunately, participation by our residents cannot occur until we make information available to them. We need all areas of our budget process to be made transparent. We need to make it easy for residents to educate themselves about our budget process, our spending line items and our organizational structure. Residents must also have the ability to watch our meetings and keep abreast of our decision-making without actually attending those meetings. I have consistently advocated for televising our meetings, but the majority of our Committee oppose these efforts. In fact, the majority in Middletown passed an ordinance that forces anyone with a video camera into the last row of our court room. As elected officials we should welcome transparency. The greater the transparency, the greater the accountability.

3. What will be the challenges in getting these goals accomplished?

Despite advocating a consistent message of fiscal conservatism that includes smaller government, privatization and shared services, my status as the lone Democrat leaves me without the ability to secure a second vote to allow for discussion on some of these ides. Procedurally, I cannot introduce a resolution for discussion without a second. The Republican majority always vote together, regardless of the issue, so I have no ability to force votes on these ideas. At our reorganization meeting in January 2010, I proposed competitively bidding the engineering work and placing our attorney on a monthly, fixed retainer, but could not secure a second vote.

4. What expenditures, if any, do you see as ripe for trimming in order to keep the budget growth under the mandated two-percent cap?

Parks & Recreation is almost as $2.3M per year. Most of that money is salaries, yet from my perspective, most of the recreation provided in the Township is done through volunteers. I think alot of our expense in this area is for property maintenance and we need to look to accomplish more of that work through private contracts.

Health care expenses are out of control. We are currently self-insured and that arrangement has not worked. We need to negotiate into our collective bargaining agreements incentives for our employees to save. We also have an obligation to help our employees get healthier. Healthy employees have fewer medical problems, especially some of the more chronic diseases. We should reward employees who engage in health and fitness activities and give them the time to do so. We should also encourage the use of generic and mail order prescriptions. It is important to provide health insurance, but our current procedures give all employees and retirees incredible benefits regardless of whether that employee makes any effort to curtail costs. This has to change.

Public Works: I believe that we can move to a leaf and brush pickup that relies more heavily, but not exclusively, on private contractors. I have pushed for this in the last two years, and our Initial efforts along these lines have produced savings in just one section of town amounting to $100,000.

5. Do you see any potential sources of revenue that need to be tapped?

Yes, I believe we have an opportunity to partner with a recreational service provider like the YMCA to provide a full-service health center for our residents. (perhaps at the site of our existing swim club) We have 66,000 residents in this Township, and we can sustain such a facility. I don’t believe that as a Township, we should be in the business of running a health center, but I do believe we can look to State and County officials to assist us in providing capital toward a full-service health center that would provide a pool, fitness center, (possibly a hockey rink), gym and other amenities to our residents (and possibly for additional fees to non-residents). Once this facility was built, we would enter into a contract with a partner like the YMCA to run the facility. We would receive a permanent revenue stream from the operation of the facility. This arrangement has been pursued by Woodbridge and has worked very well.

6.What, if any, municipal services should be consolidated among towns?

In the short term, dispatch services, inspections, health department. In the long term, police, fire, roads and schools. There are multiple townships up and down the Bayshore that all have their own police, fire, and educational systems. I think consolidation in these areas is almost inevitable, but will take time.

7. What is one thing voters need to know about you, but may not?

I have pursued this position because I relish the challenge of moving us away from the partisan, inefficient bickering that has plagued the Township for decades toward a vision for Middletown’s future that harnesses the spirit of volunteerism in this Township and efficiently uses our deep financial resources to improve our capital assets and the services we make available to residents.

Middletown Questions:

1. Considering that this year’s budget wasn’t finalized until September, does the process by which the budget is develop need improving? Explain.

Yes. We have failed year after to year to have our spending plan approved and in place by January 1, 2010, using a worst case revenue scenario. At the same time, we should produce estimated spending plans for the following two years based on all available information. We should assume the worse and institute cuts that produce no increase in our tax levy. We should also be meeting regularly in the last quarter of the year with the Board of Education to set and deliver a common goal of no tax increase for our residents. If both governing bodies agreed to a 0% increase in taxes and promised to work together, with the help of the residents to deliver on that goal, I think it would create a groundswell of support and volunteerism.

2. After this year’s municipal tax increase, which exceeded the state-mandated cap of ? percent, what needs to be done to avoid a repeat?

Our larger Departments needs to be restructured. We must consolidate maintenance activities. It makes no sense to have multiple departments in the Township maintaining Township properties. We should convene a Task Force that includes health insurance experts from our community to prepare recommendations to reduce our health care expenses. Thereafter, we must negotiate those recommendations into our bargaining agreements. Our Parks & Recreation Depatment’s budget is excessive and needs to be cut. We should reach out to local neighborhoods and seek their assistance in the maintenance of smaller parks and fields. The maintenance of these properties in currently handled by full-time employees. We should pre-approve five engineering firms who could then bid on all engineering projects during the course of the year. This would save hundreds of thousands in my opinion. There are certain full-time positions that should be part-time or contracted out. We must insist that residents recycle. Moving paper out of the waste stream and into the recycling stream on a large scale would save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

3. What do you think the township should do with its swim club?

I think we should look to transform this facility into an all year health center. The City of Woodbridge built a large facility that has a pool, health service center and hockey rink. They contracted with the YMCA to run the facility once it was built, and the city collects a percentage of the revenue. Middletown is large enough to justify this type of project and a membership based arrangement with a discounted fee for residents (including substantially reduced fees for those who qualify) would produce revenue for the Township on a long term basis.

MAHONEY: BUDGET NEEDS BETTER PLANNING

NAME: Mary Mahoney (Democrat)

AGE: 56 (do you have to print that?) Yikes!

OCCUPATION: Worked for 18 years as a buyer and showroom manager in the garment center before retiring to raise my family. For the past 7 years I’ve worked at the Pottery Barn as a Design Studio Specialist and also as a Independent Sales consultant for Silpada Designs.

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN: over 24 years.

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

– Poor planning and execution. Township Committee reacts instead of planning long term. Produces waste and higher taxes.

– Ineffective and inefficient governing. No defined or specific responsibilities for committee members.

– Misplaced priorities. Many areas in Middletown are neglected such as the Bayshore area where flooding as not been fixed for over 20 years.

2. What specifically are you planning to do to address those issues?

– Improve transparency, so there will be more community involvement. Televise meetings at low cost. Town Hall meetings should concentrate on the business of running the township. Too much time is given to handing out awards. This should be done at another time.

– Improved efficiency by setting long term goals. Reorganize departments to consolidate and reduce redundancy.

– Fix the flooding issues in the Bayshore.

3. What will be the challenges in getting these goals accomplished?

– Getting the majority to cooperate and have a dialogue about new ideas. Taking the politics out of the governing process.

4. What expenditures, if any, do you see as ripe for trimming in order to keep the budget growth under the mandated two-percent cap?

– Consolidating and privatizing services to reduce expenses.

– Reduce the cost of professional contracts by going out to bid.

– Increase shared services with the BOE, neighboring towns and county.

– Privatize the management of the swim club.

– Shift the production of Middletown Matters into the Library budget (or sell advertising to pay for it) and televise the meetings for less money.

– Retire unused bonds.

5. Do you see any potential sources of revenue that need to be tapped?

– Improve and enforce recycling.

– Make the Art Center self sustaining and utilize it for events and functions to bring in revenue.

6.What, if any, municipal services should be consolidated among towns?

– 911 dispatch system.

7. What is one thing voters need to know about you, but may not?

– I’m not politically motivated and only want to do the right thing for the residents of Middletown.

Middletown Questions:

1. Considering that this year’s budget wasn’t finalized until September, does the process by which the budget is develop need improving? Explain.

– Yes. In December of 2009 there was an anticipated $5 mil shortfall. Yet the budget was not addressed. Since Feb., the Mayor claimed they had a plan, but there was no plan. The only committee person with budgeting experience is Sean Byrnes. He recommended setting up a Finance Committee because of the seriousness of the problem, but that was dismissed.

The majority does not share information with all committee members and that needs to stop. The budget process should start in June of the previous year. We should be working on the 2011 budget now.

2. After this year’s municipal tax increase, which exceeded the state-mandated cap of 4 percent, what needs to be done to avoid a repeat?

– Better planning and execution.

– Consolidating departments.

– Out sourcing field maintenance.

– Increase the surplus which will reduce taxes in the long run instead of borrowing from future budgets.

3. What do you think the township should do with its swim club?

– Privatize the management or sell it.

Here are the links to Scharfenberger and his running mates answers

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, candidate Q and A, RedBankGreen.com