Category Archives: Middletown Matters

>Scharfenberger Robo Calls Residents at 10:30 PM To Explain The Importance Of Recycling

>It seems as though I am not the only resident in Middletown to receive a “Robo” call from mayor Scharfenberger last night (mine came just before 9pm) many others received them also, some as late as 10:30 pm. I have been the recipient a number of emails this morning complaining about this Robo call.

The thinly veiled campaign phone call to residents was disguised as a public service message from the mayor, informing residents about the the importance of recycling and the Township’s Recycle to Save program.

One emailer said that they went to Town Hall, ran into Heidi Blunt, the Twp Clerk, and complained about the phone call that they received from Gerry Scharfenberger at 10:30pm last night. She was told by Heidi Blunt that she had received many complaints today from people being called late at night about this. Blunt stated however, that an outside company was outsourced for this process and that they(township) were looking into the problem today to prevent this from happening again.

Another wanted to know if “…those robo-calls have a cost associated with them?” and that they had “..already sent a message to GS via his election website (since I couldn’t find an email address/fax for the Mayors office) expressing my extreme displeasure… last night was such a thinly-veiled campaign message that it sent me over the edge…”

A few emailers are wondering what was so important about the recycling message that it necessitated a Robo call in the first place, after all the Townships newsletter Middletown Matters already devoted a full page to the Recycle to Save program in its latest issue that has been showing up in residents mail boxes along with a half page commentary by Scharfenberger himself talking about the budget as well as the recycling issue.

The one emailer raises a good point, what was the cost of these phone calls? The timing and necessity of the Robo call raises the specter of Gerry using taxpayer dollars to fund a portion of his re-election campaign which is of course unethical and illegal.

I would like to know the cost to the township was for last night’s phone call and if Gerry Scharfenberger has any intention of reimbursing the taxpayers for them.


Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Middletown Matters, recycle to save, Robo-calls, taxpayers

Middletown GOP Candidate Massell Proposed Tax on Homeowners Who Cut Down Trees

Middletown Planning Board member and GOP Candidate for Township Committee, Steve Massell, recently proposed to the township committee that homeowners should be taxed for cutting down trees on their properties.

During the public comments portion of the May 18th Middletown Township Committee Meeting, Massell read from a front page article of the Asbury Park Press, the first paragraph of a story entitled “Justices OK tree-clearing fee in Jackson”.  
The paragraph stated that the “The state Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Jackson’s tree-removal ordinance, which requires property owners to replace any healthy tree taken down or pay into a fund dedicated to planting trees and shrubs on public property.”
Massell said that he was upset at seeing sections of town “clear-cut” by developers in order to build housing developments like Harmony Glen, which is off of Harmony road, behind the Shoprite. He felt that by charging homeowners upwards of $800 per tree (to be put in a general fund for tree and shrub replacement like the Jackson tree-removal ordinance calls for), would be a good way to dissuade developers from building in town. He never thought of the cost to the average homeowner that would like to build a single family home on a private lot or the homeowners that would like to expand their existing homes. Deputy Mayor Scharfenberger pointed out to Mr. Massell that as a member of the planning board, he should be aware that the township already has ordinances in place to force developers into replanting a certain number of trees that had been clear-cut once a new development has been completed.
Steve Massell then left the podium, mumbling to himself something about how he still thought it would be a good idea if the township committee considered the Jackson ordinance, which surprises me. One would have thought that Massell would have first talked about this with his fellow GOPers before presenting his idea in front of the committee, after all Pam Brightbill and Tony Fiore sit on the planning board with Massell.
I have a couple of things I would like to point out to Steve Massell:
First, as a Planning Board member, you have a say in how builders develop property in town. When a builder brings prints to the planning board for approval why don’t you insist that a property could not be clear-cut? Have builders submit plans that leave some trees and shrubbery in place, I am sure that an architects could handle planning such a development.
Second, in the winter 2005 edition of Middletown Matters, then Mayor Tom Hall address the issue in the Mayor’s Message titled “Keeping the trees was not an option for the Crestview Drive & Route 35 site”.

He stated, “…can’t help but notice a new landscape. The stretch of woods located next to the revamped shopping center has been replaced with a barren, unattractive construction site.” “…I share the sentiments conveyed by many in phone calls, letters and conversations: I’d rather keep the trees. However, that’s simply not an option.” 

So Steve, before you propose a tax on residents make sure that you do your homework first and check with the other members of your party before presenting such an idea, particularly since as a Planning Board member, you can already take steps against clear-cutting

Leave a comment

Filed under clear-cutting, developments and builders, Gerry Scharfenberger, Harmony Glen, Middletown Matters, Pamela Brightbill, Steve Massell, Tom Hall, Tony"the fibber"Fiore