Category Archives: Local finance board

>Local Finance Board Meets With Middletown; Special Budget Meeting Tentatively Scheduled For Monday

>Yesterday August 26th, Middletown appeared in front of the Department of Community Affairs Local Finance Board, seeking a tax levy wavier which would allow the Township to exceed the State mandated 4% cap on local property taxes.

It has been well reported and is no secret that Middletown’s 2010 proposed budget seeks to increase the local tax burden by nearly 14% (13.87% to be exact), which would be 9.87% above the cap threshold.

How well did Middletown do in the efforts to convince the LFB to allow them to exceed the cap? It’s not exactly known just yet because the Township is keeping a tight lid on the results, not even giving advance word to some committee members, waiting instead for to inform them once they receive their advance “packet” today, for a tentatively scheduled Monday night in which the budget for 2010 will be announced and possibly adopted.

Whatever the outcome was between Middletown and the LFB, it is a good bet that the proposed 13.87% increase was not approved and that big budget cuts are looming.

As a result, don’t be surprised if Gerry Scharfenberger and those in the majority spin the outcome of this meeting by saying that they anticipated the results and had a budget ready in advance to present, making it seem as if the the meeting with the LFB was just a formality like last years budget. Last years budget contained a proposed 12% increase and was cut down 6.2% by the LFB for a increase of some 5.8% to the municipal tax rate.

When more details become available I’ll pass them along, until now we need to wait until Monday night’s meeting to see what residents are in for when they open their 4th quarter tax bills.

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Filed under 4% budget cap, Gerry Scharfenberger, Local finance board, Middletown Township Committee, tax increase

>Middletown’s Hearing With Local Finance Board Scheduled For August 26th

>Middletown is one step closer to finalizing it’s 8+ months over due budget.

It looks like the Township’s hearing in front of the Department of Community Affairs Local Finance Board has been rescheduled for August 26th, two weeks after the original date was cancelled for the lack of a quorum on the part of the LFB.

According to the LFB website Middeltown will be participating in two meetings that day, one a teleconference that will deal with the Townships plan to bond $955,000 in order to finance tax appeals and the second to decide whether or not Middletown can exceed the State mandated 4% cap on property tax increases. It seems that Middletown is asking the LFB to approve an additional $2.68M over the 4% spending cap.

Now I am not exactly sure how this works but I figure there could be two ways in which to figure it out.

Last year, Middletown raised $40M from property taxes, if the amount raised by taxes exceeds the 4%cap ($41.6M) by only $2.68M, then the resulting increase to the municipal tax rate will be 10.7% (3.17% below the initially proposed tax rate) which would bring the amount raised through taxes to $44.28M ($1.27M less than what was originally proposed).

The other way to look at it would be, if the municipal budget for 2010 exceeds the cap by 4% over the 2009 budget which was $61.8M, the increase would bring the budget to $64.27M. And if then Middletown gets the approval to exceed this by $2.68M above the cap, the budget would be $66.95M, which amounts to an 8.33% tax increase. If this turns out to be the case then who knows what the amount raised by taxes will be. It will depend on what is cut and what is bonded for.

Is your head hurting yet?

The bottom line on all of this however happens to be that given the current economic environment and Governor Christie’s desire to control spending, it would seem unlikely that the LFB would agree to exceed the 4% cap by such a large margin anyway. Therefore the Local Finance Board will do for Middletown what Gerry Scharfenberger and those in the majority have been unwilling to do, reduce spending, by ordering Middletown to do so, which in turned would lower the proposed 13.87% tax hike to some more manageable number.

Where will an additional $2M in spending cuts come from is anyone guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the township eyed the use of furloughs or additional layoffs (it was announced that 4 new police officers have recently been hired) along with reducing the budget surplus further from the proposed $4M target for the year in order to make it happen.
We’ll all just have to wait and see what the LFB dictates to Middletown.

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Filed under 4% budget cap, Budget, budget cuts, Gerry Scharfenberger, Local finance board, Middletown, tax increase

>It’s Your Town Newsletter Volumn 2, Issue 17, 8/16/10

>
Get it while it’s hot, the latest edition of It’s Your Town Newsletter has just been released!

This edition of the newsletter contains information about the Middletown Township Committee meeting of Monday August 16,2010.
This was suppose to be the meeting in which the Township budget was to be adopted but because of the cancellation of the Townships meeting with the Local Finance Board in Trenton the adoption of the budget had to be put off until some other time.
Due to this reason estimated taxes had to be sent to Middletown residents, many of which were not happy and a few of those attendened the meeting to voice their displeasure with the big tax increase that they noticed in their 3rd quater bills.
Also of note, this edition of the newsletter contains the Township bill list for the month. The bill list is nearly 100 pages and shows you how and where your tax dollars are being spent, with engineering costs seeming to be the big ticket item this month.
If you would like to have the newsletter sent directly to your in box, send an email to itsourtown@yahoo.com

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Filed under bill list, estimated taxes, Its Your Town, Local finance board, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter

Middletown Budget Update – Hearing Before LFB Cancelled

Here’s a little budget update of my own, it seems that Middletown’s scheduled hearing in front of the Local Finance Board today has been cancelled.

Middletown was to appear in front LFB this morning to present it’s proposed 2010 Municipal Budget in order to seek a waiver that would allow the Township to exceed the State mandated 4% cap on spending.
As we all know by now, the proposed Township budget includes a 13.87% tax increase over last years so the meeting was important because the Township had plans to adopt the budget on August 16th, after amending it to comply with whatever decision the LFB made to bring the proposed tax increase in line with the 4% spending cap.
According to the LFB website all of today’s tax levy waiver hearings have been cancelled with no word as of yet to be of a date to reschedule.
So it now seems possible that Middletown’s budget will not be adopted until sometime in September, 9 months late and less than 2 months until the November elections, when the tax increase will still be fresh in residents minds, making them more likely to hold Gerry Scharfenberger and his GOP buddies on the Township Committee accountable.
You can read more about it here if you like

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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Local finance board, Middletown Township, tax increase, tax waiver

Middletown’s Budget Will Not Be Adopted Tonight As Planned

As part of tonight’s Middletown Township Committee meeting, it was planned for the budget that was introduced at the June 23rd introduction meeting to be adopted. Instead of adopting the budget however, it will be on the agenda once again as item for discussion.

The reason behind not adopting the budget tonight after 7 months and relying on yet another temporary budget appropriation to get the township through the month of August is simple. The Township was late in it’s application for approval to the State Local Finance Board, to exceed the 4% State mandated cap on it’s municipal budget.
The budget that was introduced to the public back on June 23rd called for an increase in the municipal tax rate of over 13% and will need approval from the Local Finance Board before being adopted. The hearing with the local finance board is not scheduled until August 11th.
It is be up to the Local Finance Board to accept or reject Middletown’s budget before it can be adopted by the Township. If it is rejected on the basis of being to excessive, then Middletown will need to go back to the drawing board and make further adjustments to it, which could lead to additional layoffs or service cuts in order to lower the propose +13% tax increase.

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Filed under budget introduction, Local finance board, Middletown, tax increase, Township Committee