>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.
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.
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.
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