Category Archives: Its Your Town

It’s Your Town – Video Newsletter 2/6/12

As I announce last month, the It’s Your Town newsletter was going to be changing. It’s author Don Watson, had decided that it was time to stop writing about what goes on at Township Committee meetings each month and start showing residents what actually happens during Township Committee meetings.
Mr. Watson has announced he will no longer be presenting the newsletter in its current form recapping Middletown Township Committee meetings as he has done for the past few years. Instead however, it is with great delight that he now will present video recordings of the Middletown Township Committee meetings
Below is the first video which he recorded held on Monday, February 6, 2012.
“… It was an impressive meeting to launch the first recording. The Middletown Swim and Tennis Club community showed up to make their case for keeping the club off the auction block. The mayor thanked the past president of the library board, Randall Gabrielan, for his years of service. This of course was after the mayor asked for Mr. Gabrielan’s resignation the previous week. Also, something that rarely happens, the Committee voted on each new resolution individually.”, Mr. Watson stated in an email announcing the format change to subscribers of his newsletter.

It is hoped that this video starts a new era in Middletown, an era of transparency. This first recording shows what really goes on at Middletown Township Committee meetings. If readers of this blog take the time to watch this video and any videos that come later they will see and hear how our Township Committee deals with its citizens.
… Current and previous Middletown Committees said the people who want meetings recorded have a political agenda. They said recording the meetings would cost too much. They said giving the public video access would allow them to grandstand. You decide if videotaping the meetings is worthwhile..., Finally, I want to extend my personal thank you to the many concerned citizens who made this recording possible with their support. By uniting we triumphed over those who said it couldn’t be done. Many thanks. And as always, thank you all for taking an interest in your local government.”, stated Watson.
Don Watson will be offering the Township Committee a copy of this recording with the hope that they will post it on our Township’s public television access stations.
The video runs over two and a half hours, the first few minutes of the video you will hear a lot of noise. There are no guns being fired. It is a malfunction of the sound system.
As a companion to the video Mr. Watson has put together a PDF document that contains the meeting agenda and the resolutions that were voted on during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. It is a little easier to follow along when you can see what is being voted on.

While watching the video pay attention to who speaks and who doesn’t speak from the dais, Township Attorney Brian Nelson is sitting next to mayor Tony Fiore. Nelson is an appointed official, not an elected official, yet he speaks as if he is!

It should be pointed out that although Nelson isn’t an elected official, he is a high ranking member of the Middletown GOP who makes a living off the taxpayers of the Township.
Watch closely for the arrogance and distain he shows for those that stand in front of the Committee. He rolls his eyes, laughs and snickers at the very residents that he makes his living off of.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Swim and Tennis Club, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Randall Gabrielan, video newsletter, workshop meeting, YouTube

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 2-1/17/12

Here is another edition of the It’s Your Town newsletter, it covers the January 17th, 2012 Middletown Township Committee meeting. As readers of the blog know from listening to audio clips posted last week, this meeting was very eventful.

A a late notice stating that the Township will not open the Swim & Tennis Club this year was posted to the Township’s website on Friday 13th, heading into the long Martin Luther King 3-day holiday weekend and apparently, from the sentiment of the members present at the meeting, they weren’t informed previously of the dire financial situation of the Swim Club, over two dozen people voiced their concerns to the Township Committee.

There were a few Swim Club members who questioned the expenses incurred by the Township on behalf of the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) in relation to those incurred to operate the Swim Club. They were told by Mayor Fiore and Township Attorney Brian Nelson, that the MAC was on the way towards profitability and that the utility expenses were down dramatically to only $30 to $40K per year! Attached to the newsletter are the actual figures for the past five years so you can determine for yourself what is accurate.

Regardless, when the Club closes, all Middletown residents will be responsible for repaying the original bond used to purchase the Club instead of the member fees stated in the Pool Club ordinance.

Read this edition of the newsletter ….Here

And if you would like to listen to the companion audio clips from the meeting, I have them below

Committee comments #1
Committee comments #2
What about the kids?
Tom Wilkens comments

As always, if you wish to subscribe to the newsletter and receive in your inbox send a request to

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Filed under Audio clips, Brian Nelson, Its Your Town, Martin Luther King Jr., Middletown Arts Center, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Swim Club, Tony Fiore

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1- 1/01/12

A new year and a new addition of It’s Your Town newsletter is now available.

This first issue of 2012 covers the annual Reorganization meeting of the Middletown Township Committee which took place on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012 and includes all of the resolutions that appoint people to various Boards, Commissions and Committees in town. However, of all the appointees listed only about 25 were present to be sworn in.

This issue is the 56th newsletter published since the first issue debuted back in December of 2009 which covered the December 7th Township Committee Workshop meeting.

Due to the time that it takes to put the newsletter together, it’s author Don Watson, has decided that he will be take a break from writing it on a regular basis shortly. The next issue that will cover the January 17th Middletown Township Committee meeting may be the last issue for a while.

But don’t fret over the loss of the newsletter, Don Watson still plans on keeping the public informed of what transpires down at Town Hall. Don plans on videotaping the bi-weekly township meetings and posting them online so that resident can watch the Middletown Township Committee in action for themselves instead of reading about them.

The Township Committee meetings have often been described as the “best show on earth” by Don who now feels that the newsletter, which is written very matter of factly, hasn’t been conveying properly what really goes on at Township meeting. He feels, why write about a meeting when he can provide people the opportunity to watch them?

Don will be announcing soon via email to all those that have subscribed to the newsletter,when and where they will be able to see the recordings. If possible I will also post the videos here for reader of the blog to look at.

So until then, enjoy reading the last few issues of It’s Your Town newsletter by clicking onto the link.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, videotapping, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 24-12/19/11

The latest and last edition of “It’s Your Town” newsletter for the year, which covers the Middletown Township Committee meeting for Dec. 19th, 2011, is now available for your reading pleasure.

Besides the usual contents of the newsletter such as the monthly bill list and various ordinances and resolutions, inside this newsletter you will read a very accurate representation of the public hearing concerning the expansion of the Middletown Library’s Board of Trustees, Ordinance 2011-3048 , which became a rather testy affair at times between acting mayor Tony Fiore and the members of the public that stepped forward to address their concerns over the expansion of the board.
The expansion of the Library Board is seen by many as a way for the Township to gain greater influence over the Library’s budget and business dealings, to ensure that future surpluses are readily available for the Township’s purposes and a repeat of the public spectacle that took place earlier this year over the Township Committee’s ruthlessly brutal extortion of $500K worth of surplus and reserved funds from the Library.
This was also the last Township Committee meeting of acting deputy-mayor Pamela Brightbill, who decided not to seek reelection to the Township Committee this year. A Proclamation was presented to Brightbill for her years of service.
You can download the newsletter ….. Here

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Filed under budget surplus, Its Your Town, Middletown Library, Newsletter, Pamela Brightbill, proclamations, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances, Tony Fiore

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 23-12/05/11

The Holiday season is upon us and in full swing which means that I have been a little busy over the past few days getting the house in order and my shopping taken care and wrapping, so I’ve been a little behind in my blogging.

Here is the latest issue of It’s Your Town Newsletter which covers the December 5 th Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting. For those in attendance, it was a very short meeting lasting less than 30 minutes and seemed as a nuisances for those that represent the people of the township to be sitting there. Committeeman Settembrino never once pulled his nose away from his iPad, I witnessed him constantly tapping and scrolling between screens.

Committeeman Scharfenberger and CFO Nick Transente seemed equally engaged in their iPad and smart phone respectively speaking.
One of the few pieces of business that was discussed was an ordinance that was introduced to set a new salary structure for non-contractual employees, no discussion took place and it was moved by the Committee to be voted on at the December19 meeting.

Also a special meeting of the Township Committee was scheduled for Monday, December 12 to adopt a resolution to accept the vendor for the MCIA bid proposal that was to be awarded for the Township’s solar project. This meeting however was canceled later in the week without explanation.

Read the Newsletter …. Here

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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Its Your Town, Kevin Settembrino, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Nick Transente, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 22- 11/21/11

The current edition of It’s Your Town Newsletter is here and covers the only Middletown NJ Township Committee meeting that took place for the month of November held on November 21,2011.

This meeting included the passing of an ordinance that approved the rezoning of the Bamm Hollow property as a result of settling a lawsuit out of court. There was also an ordinance introduced for the purpose of increasing the number of members to be appointed to the board of the Middletown Public Library.
Currently there are 7 board trustees serving the Middletown Library, this ordinance will increase the number who serve as Library Board Trustees to 9.
The problem with this is that the Township Committee, which appoints the trustees to the Library Board, will handpicked loyal Republican cronies to serve on the library board, which will then make it easier in the future for the Township Committee to raid surplus and reserved library funds for its own use, as it did earlier this year when it extorted nearly $500,000 from the library (threatening that the library would be held responsible for police lay-offs if the money was not given up), in order to balance the Township budget.
A public hearing on the ordinance will take place at the December 19,2011 Township Committee meeting.

The bill lists that were included with this edition did not scanned well therefore some of the pages are missing information on the left side of the page.

Guest blogger Linda Baum has written a post concerning the appointment of new members to the Middletown Library Board and what it will mean to those who already sit on the board and for those who run Middletown’s governing body and how it will effect the library in general.
I will post it later today, in the meantime you can read the latest newsletter…. Here

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Library, Middletown NJ, Newsletter, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 20- 10/3/11

Here is the latest edition of the It’s Your Town Hall newsletter covering the 10-3-11 Middletown Township NJ Committee Workshop meeting.

There was a request to have a special Committee meeting to discuss the capital improvements, but as stated during the meeting, the Committee felt there was no reason to discuss this in public.

There was some discussion when Linda Baum asked about principal repayments for the bonds and notes the Township has outstanding. She wanted to continue the discussion, but it was terminated due to the 5-minute rule. See inside for more details.

For those that are new to this there are links within the newsletter that will bring you to that ordinance or resolution. At the end of that resolution or ordinance there is a link to bring you back to where you were reading. In the case of the bill list there is a link on each page.

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter and receive via email, contact Mr. Don Watson at and requests to be put on the mailing list.

Download the latest newsletter …. Here

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Filed under 5 minute rule, bill list, bonding, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 19- 9/19/11

Once again I am a little late at posting the latest edition of It’s Your Town newsletter, the newsletter was sent out to subscribers on Monday.

This edition is covers the Township Committee meeting held on Monday night September 19, 2011. Inside you will find a wealth of information that a person wouldn’t normally know about unless they attended one of the Township Committee meetings themselves.
For instance, there was a public hearing on the new snow removal and brush and leaf removal ordinances and an update on the time frame of having Hubbard Ave repaired (it happens to be approx. 4 weeks).
During public comments a question arose about the Township’s Solar Project that has now been downsized from 4.1 mega watts (MW) to 2.8MW, the commenter wanted to know why. There also seemed to be a discrepancy in a bond issue that had a perceived $100K error that the commenter asked about but the question went unanswered.
If the Township won’t broadcast these meetings over it’s public access T.V channels than this newsletter is the best record of what actually transpired during these meetings.
If anyone is interested in subscribing to the It’s Your Town newsletter, you can do so by sending your request to
If you don’t want to subscribe but want to read this edition of the newsletter you can do so by clicking ……….Here
Happy Reading

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown NJ, Newsletter, public comments, resolutions and ordinances, solar project

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 18- 9/6/11

The new edition of It’s Your Town newsletter is now available for your reading pleasure. It was issued earlier in the week but I just haven’t been able to post it until now.

This edition of the newsletter covers the Middletown Township Committee monthly workshop meeting that took place on Monday, September 6th. Once again it was an short meeting lasting only an hour or so.

As has been the norm since January, very little was discussed in the open forum. When something was addressed to Committee members that required them to discuss an item that was on the agenda for discussion but was not discussed, the question was defered to the CFO.

This is not how open and responsive government is supposed to operate. I suppose however that people shouldn’t be surprised by this any longer since our mayor,Tony Fiore stated a couple meetings back that they didn’t need to discuss items in public because they discuss them in private amongst themselves.

There was also a disscussion concenering the Solar Project that my interest some.

Read the newsletter …. Here

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Tony Fiore, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 17- 8/15/11

This edition of It’s Your Town newsletter covers the Middletown Township Committee regular monthly business meeting that was held on Monday, August 15, 2011.

As is the norm lately, the meeting was rather short lasting about 35 minutes.

Committee members had little to say, Kevin Settembrino and Steve Massell just sat on the dais looking pretty with nothing to say, while Pam Brightbill, Gerry Scharfenberger and Tony Fiore spoke briefly.

Only 5 members of the public took the time to speak at this meeting but their questions,unfortunately, were left mostly unanswered.

Their questions ranged from why there was insufficient information in a $2.85M bond ordinance for tax appeals, that seems to have not appropriated $1M of the total, to what happened to grant money from the latest cable TV franchising contract that would have provided money to televise Township Committee meetings.

The newsletter also contains links to various proposed resolutions and ordinances.
Stay informed and read it all for yourself….Here

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Filed under bonding, grant money, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, televised meetings