Category Archives: committee meeting

>Methadone Clinic Uproar At Town Hall

>I briefly attended last nights Middletown Township Committee meeting, I was there for only the first 45 minutes, leaving at 8:45pm. It’ to bad that I did because I could tell from the get go that it was going to be one hell of a night.

The first indication that it was going to be a hot one last night was the parking lot, nearly every space was full and that has happened in a very long time.
The other indication was the agitation of many in the audience. The standing room only, overflowing into the lobby crowd, was a mixed bag of residents who had never attended a Township Committee meeting before until last night and wanted to express their displeasure at having a methadone clinic open up just outside of the only way in and out of their neighborhood.
Having never been to a meeting before they were unaware of the protocol of following the agenda and couldn’t understand why they had to wait to speak their mind.
Many hemmed and hawed having to wait their turn while sitting through the solar project presentation presented by a Birdsall Engineering representative that rushed through the presentation and a couple of public hearings on different ordinances, which by that time I had to leave.
Before I left however I did speak to a few individuals who expressed their dismay at not being informed of the methadone clinic a head of time, wondering exactly how something like this could happen and were hoping that the Township Committee would stand up to the clinic and somehow, someway have it shut down.
As I expected and found out earlier today from talking to a few that were their and reading online accounts, those that govern the Township told those in attendance that nothing could be done, that the clinic is in it’s legal rights to be there and anything that the Township did to try and prevent the clinic from operating could possible lead to a very costly law suit that more than likely be decided against the Township.
When I asked if last night’s meeting was really as loud and crazy as it was made out to be by the online accounts from the redbankgreen.com and MiddletownPatch I was told “most definitely”. More raucous then some meetings from last year when the planned turf fields were being fought against by members of SONIC, LVGA and the Pop Warner Chargers of Trezza Field? Absolutely I was told. The reason being, which made a lot of sense, was because while SONIC, LVGA and the Chargers were against a proposed plan that hadn’t been implemented yet, the residents of Apple Brook development, who’s only way into and out of their neighborhood is directly past the methadone clinic, didn’t have a say into whether or not they wished to be living within walking distance of a clinic that distributes one dangerously addictive drug to stop the cravings of another and who’s clients have potential criminal records. And when you consider what could happen to the values of their homes because of the presence of the Middletown Medical clinic, I understood why.
So what’s their recourse? According to those on the Township Committee, the Municipal Attorney and Township Administrator not much, but I have heard talk that the residents are thinking of hiring lawyers in order to, somehow, force the town to take action or force the clinic to move, neither of which I think will be effective.
I’ve also heard word that residents may start picketing the clinic to draw more attention to it, which would then drive away those seeking treatment, that way the for-profit clinic may come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be prudent for their bottom-line to continue operating at the location and move on their own.
I hope to have some audio of the meeting later this week for posting so that myself and others can hear how crazy it actually was.

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Filed under Birdsall Service Group, committee meeting, heroin, methadone clinic, Middletown Medical clinic, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee, opiate addiction, RedBankGreen.com, treatment center

>Full House Expected At Tonight’s Township Committee Meeting

>With the controversy surrounding the Middletown Township Committee and it’s attempted extortion to grab hold of perceived surplus funds from the Middletown Library, tonight’s meeting of the Township Committee should be a good one. A house full of library supporters are expected to back the court room tonight to further voice their concerns over the money grab by the Township Committee.

Tonight’s meeting is expected to be an extension of last Wednesday night’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, where close to 200 library supporter showed up to let Township Committeeman Kevin Settembrino, Mayor Fiore and other members of the Township Committee that it was not OK to raid library funds in order to fill a budget deficit in the Committee’s Municipal budget.
If you have been following this blog you already know the story of how the Township Committee has tried to strong arm the Library Trustees into handing over funds. The Township Committee stated that if excess library funds weren’t transferred to the Township the consequences would be that 26 township employees would be laid off, 10 of which would be police officers from the Middletown Police Department and 13 from Parks and Recreation.
During Wednesday night’s meeting at the Library we found out that this was not the case, the 10 police officers and others would be losing their jobs no matter what and any funds garnered from the Library would go toward possibly saving other jobs.
The Library’s position is that their are no excess funds available for the Township to take, all excess funds are earmarked for capital projects or have been endowed to the Library with specific instructions for its use. The Library also contends that due to clerical issues, perceived surplus funds left over after the last Library audit in 2009 do not exist. The Township CFO should have transferred money from Library’s accounts to Township accounts before the last audit instead of afterwards and now because of this issue funds seem to be available when in fact there is none.
Tonight’s meeting starts at 8:00pm in the Court Room located at Town Hall, regardless of how you feel about this, it should be a good show tonight and not to be missed.

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Filed under budget deficit, budget surplus, committee meeting, extortion, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee

>The First Issue of "It’s Your Town" Newsletter for The 2011 Is Now Available For Reading

>Volume 3, issue 1 of “It’s Your Town” newsletter has been published and available online for all that wish to read it. This is the first issue of the newsletter for 2011 and as always is very informative.

The first meeting of the year for the Township Committee was Reorganization day and took place on January 2,2011. Candidates that won the election in November were sworn in and the Committee elected the new mayor and deputy mayor. All political appointees were voted on also, although many of them were not in attendance for thier swearing in.

As always it should be noted the newsletter is not an official transcript of Township meetings, it is written by Don Watson who takes notes and writes as much as he can while the
meeting is taking place. It is extremely accurate and is the next best thing to being there in person (that is of course until the Township decides to broadcast their meetings on public access TV).

Another alternative to the newsletter that is available to residents, are the actual Township recordings of the meetings. In order to receive a copy of the recording, an OPRA request must be submitted to the Township Clerk and individuals must pay an accompanying fees that are associated with the request.
So seeing that filing OPRA requests after each township meeting my not be your thing to do, reading the newsletter is the only true way of staying informed about what is going on down at Middletown’s Town Hall.
You can read the newsletter >>>> Here

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Filed under committee meeting, Its Your Town, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, OPRA requests

>So What Did Our New Mayor Have To Say After Being Appointed To Head The Committee?

>So what did our new mayor, Tony Fiore, have to say about himself after being appointed to lead the Township Committee during his reelection year? Pretty much what you would expect.

He praised Gerry Scharfenberger and his fellow republican committee members for their efforts last year and let everyone know what how difficult this year will be trying to implement Governor Christie’s budget 2% cap.
During his comments, I think Fiore took a page out of Gerry Scharfenberger’s notebook because he followed Gerry’s lead and praised Governor Christie up and down. He he sang his praises anymore, I would have thought that he was angling for a State job just as Gerry did.
If you are really interested in what Fiore had to say listen to the 10 minutes of audio below or you can read what the Asbury Park Press wrote about it his words >>> Here

While your at it, if you are interested the website RedBankGreen.com also has a posting about Fiore begin appointed mayor with a video of most of his remarks.

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Filed under committee meeting, Mayor, Middletown Township Committee, reorganization, Tony Fiore

>"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