Category Archives: Middletown Township

Middletown Issues iPads To "The governing body and township managers"

Last week Middletown Township issued a press release extolling the virtues of issuing Apple iPads to members of “The governing body and township managers have been using Apple IPads to review meeting documents prepared by the Office of the Township Clerk since November 2011”.

Since this press release has been posted on the Township website many readers have left comments posted here questioning the need to purchase these iPads and distribute they to township personnel. Middletown is in dire financial shape and is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Services, both essential and non-essential, are being cut back are being eliminated to try and balance the budget. So why spend thousands of dollars purchasing iPads?

The press release states that the iPads are justified because the Township is now saving over $5,000 a year in paper costs because monthly meeting “packets” are now being electronically processed and made available to governing body.

Tony Fiore is quoted as saying, “The switch to IPads for meeting documents is a win-win. We’re saving money and reducing Middletown’s carbon footprint since we’re using less paper and energy. This is a great example of how township staff is thinking outside the box to find innovative ways to make everyday tasks and processes more efficient and effective.”


But is it really? The average bottom line price of an iPad is $499 if purchased through it’s maker Apple. You can buy iPads elsewhere but if you’ve ever shopped for an Apple product you know that prices are not significantly discounted, generally only a few dollars.
If all the packet documents are now available electronically to those that run the township, what is the need to purchase iPads, can’t this documents be sent to the governing members through normal emails? Don’t these people have access to their own PC’s, laptops, netbooks or other type of smart devices to view these documents at home or during township meetings?
Yesterday I emailed a list of questions to the powers that be to see if I could get a few answers.

I would like to know:

  1. How many iPads have been purchased by the township and who specifically has been issued them?
  2. What was the purchase price of these iPads?
  3. Was the purchase price for these iPads discounted in anyway, if so by how much?
  4. Who were these iPads purchased from; Did they come directly from Apple Inc. or an authorized Apple vendor (please name)?
  5. Are these iPads considered township property ?
  6. Can they to be used by individuals for personal use (take and store photos, download music or games, ect…)?
  7. What happens to these iPads if Township Committee members step down from office or not relected or if a town manager leaves the employment of the township?
  8. Did the Township purchase any kind of internet access plan over and above the purchase price of the iPads that would enable idividuals to access the internet if WiFi access is not availible to the users?
  9. Is Town Hall wired for WiFi? If so, does the public have access to the WiFi network at Town Hall if they bring their own laptops, iPads or other type of smart device to a meeting at Town Hall?

I was emailed by back by Assistant Township Administrator Jim VanNest who stated that he would forward my questions to others that could better answer them for me and that I should have a response within a reasonable amount of time.

I assume that means a few day, which is fine, I can wait. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if on some of the questions I asked, I am stonewalled and told that I would need to fill out an OPRA request before receiving answers.
I hope that is not the case, as a citizen of Middletown, I think I and others have a right to know about this. I think the questions are straight forward and residents shouldn’t having to jump through hopes to get this information.
Stay tuned…

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Filed under Apple Inc., iPad, Middletown Township, Middletown Township Committee, OPRA requests, press release

Mtown News Flash 11-9-11

Touch a Truck to be held Nov 10
Middletown Township and the Middletown Public Library will present Touch a Truck: Your Community At Work on Thursday, November 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be held in the Middletown High School North parking lot, 63 Tindall Road. This interactive event allows children to explore their favorite trucks and vehicles and learn about them from the public employees who operate them. In addition, the library will have a book mobile, crafts, books and other giveaways. The event is free and will be held rain or shine. No registration is required.

Get a Taste of Middletown November 13
Dining enthusiasts are invited to a get a Taste of Middletown on Sunday November 13th during the Township’s first food festival. Diners can purchase Taste of Middletown tickets at any one of 20 restaurants and eateries located throughout the township.

The $30 admission cost provides foodies with a wristband, map and food and/or drinks at participating restaurants. Diners can visit as many of the participating establishments as they wish between noon and 6:00 pm on November 13. Each restaurant will provide visitors with a sample of some of some their most popular fare. Tastings will include pasta dishes and pizza; Mexican and Asian specialties; chocolate and cupcakes; wine and draft beer.

Participating eateries are Maria’s Pizza, Slater’s Deli, Romeo’s Restaurant, Middletown Pizza, Carvel, Nature’s Harvest Farm Market, Jersey Mikes, Pasquale Pizza III, Vitner’s Circle, Anna’s Italian Kitchen, Toscanella Village Café, Suzi’s Sweet Shoppe, Pronto Pizza, Outback Steakhouse, Centrex Sports Club, CIBO Coal Fired Pizza, Oriental Gourmet, Luigi’s Famous Pizza, Aleo’s Pizza & Pasta, and Queso Mexican Grill. Visit http://www.tasteofmiddletown.com/ for restaurants locations and additional information.

Taste of Middletown is held in partnership with the Recreation Advisory Committee and Jersey Media Network. The event is designed to encourage the community to support local businesses and explore the many delicious dining opportunities in Middletown.
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Filed under Middletown Library, Middletown Township, newsflash, taste of Middletown

Letter: Middletown Hides Mismanagement

The following letter was posted online at the Atlantic Highlands Herald

Mayor Fiore is good at one thing and one thing only—raising Middletown’s taxes. Since being in office he has raised our taxes 22.3%.

Municipal mismanagement is rampant in Middletown. Yet the Mayor has been effective in keeping all this from the residents. When asked repeatedly to have the Township Committee meetings televised, he refuses, saying he doesn’t want to spend money. Yet, his record of spending money is off the charts. Perhaps he wants to hide the truth about the state of operations in Middletown.
We need better leadership and management in Middletown. Let’s stop the escalating taxes and mismanagement. Middletown residents, please get out to vote and elect Jim Grenafege and Carol Fowler to the Middletown Township Committee. They are fiscal conservatives. They have proven methods to reduce waste and inefficiencies. They know how to set demanding goals to ensure that the township is managed both effectively and efficiently.

Marilyn Tuohy
Pt. Monmouth, NJ

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Filed under Atlantic Highlands Herald, Carol Fowler, Jim Grenafege, letter to the editor, Middletown Township, mismanagement, rising tax rate, Tony Fiore

>LVGA Issues Statement Concerning Planned Four Ponds Housing Development

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On it’s website, the Lincroft Village Green Association has published the following statement regarding the planned Four Ponds project that is to be located at the Avaya complex on Middletown-Lincroft Road. The proposed site plan is also located on the website so that resident and those that are interested can see the size and scope of the project that will impact the area and the quality of life for those that live in it’s proximity:

Re: Four Ponds Redevelopment Plan


The Lincroft Village Green Association and many of the residents of Lincroft Village are strongly opposed to the Four Ponds Redevelopment plan as is currently proposed. We have serious concerns this large scale housing development will bring negative change to our neighborhoods and adversely affect residents’ safety and quality of life.

Our specific concerns for opposing this development are as follows:

Density and Type of Housing:
The plan proposes to build 270 townhouse and 72 flats, with 68 of the flats being COAH affordable housing rental units. This represents an approximate 16% increase in the number of households in Lincroft Village. This is far too many households for the infrastructure of Lincroft to absorb.

Good planning requires that new construction should be similar in size and character to existing, neighboring homes. The style of homes being built, three story townhouses in clusters of 4, 6 and 8 units, and four 18 unit apartment buildings, is not in keeping with the style of the majority of the homes in Lincroft, which are single family homes on large lots, of 0.5 – 5.0 acres in size. The density and configuration of the proposed Four Ponds Development are more reminiscent of inner city row houses than existing construction in Lincroft. Therefore, this development would have a very negative impact on property values in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Traffic:
The current traffic conditions along CR520 and CR50 make any additional traffic-generating projects in Lincroft completely unacceptable.

• The intersection of CR50 & CR520 is already considered failed because of too much traffic (County Route 520 Corridor Study, 2002).
• Middletown-Lincroft Road is a major route to the following Lincroft establishments: Brookdale Community College (enrollment over 13,000-all commuters), Christian Brothers Academy (enrollment over 900), St. Leo the Great Church and School, Oak Hill Academy, Lincroft Elementary School, Multiple preschools, Lincroft Library, Lincroft business center and professional buildings, Two senior citizen complexes, Four churches, in addition to St. Leo the Great, One county and five township parks, Lincroft Fire and First Aid stations.
• CR50 is a major North-South route for many trash, recycling and construction trucks, and services all of Middletown and towns north.
• Both CR520 and CR50 are major E-W and N-S traffic routes and are used by many to access the GSP (Exit 109) and Red Bank to the east, Holmdel corporate center and residential areas to the west, Monmouth Mall to the south and the remainder of Middletown and other points north.


There is already dangerous cut-through traffic and speeding in surrounding neighborhoods, especially on Turnberry Drive and Leedsville Drive, which will only be worsened by the additional traffic generated by the housing complex, affecting the safety of the residents who walk, bike, and jog and drive on those streets.

Schools:
The Four Ponds development will bring many additional children to our local schools. Two and three bedroom townhouses will be more likely to have families with school-age children.
The Lincroft Elementary School is already filled to capacity. The building is over 50 years old and every classroom and available space inside is being utilized. Families are drawn to Lincroft for the quality of our public school system. By adding children and overburdening our classrooms and teachers, this will have a negative impact on the excellence of our schools.

Safety – Fire, First Aid, Police:
Lincroft and the surrounding neighborhoods are served by our all volunteer Fire Department and First Aid Station. Adding 342 new homes to Lincroft Village, a 16% increase in households, will overburden these services, including the Middletown Police force and Public Works and seriously impact the safety of the entire area.

In closing, as you can undoubtedly see from the above noted points, the Lincroft Village Green Association is extremely concerned, as are the residents who have already contacted us in large numbers, that a development of this size, in this location, would be seriously considered for approval at this time. The impact on the quality of life of current Lincroft residents, the strain on our schools and already diluted resources, and the associated safety concerns, should trump any desire to vote to permit this development.

Consequently, we respectfully request this proposed plan be tabled at the present time, and the current owner be instructed to work with key stakeholders in our community to determine the most appropriate alternative uses of this space. This has simply not taken place to date.
In fact, when this property was rezoned in 2010 to accommodate COAH obligations, the then sitting Township Committee went on record to say they would rezone the site back to either commercial or residential single family homes at the earliest opportunity. We implore you to consider rezoning this property now, and come up with a more thoughtful, rational plan, with more potential for positive impact for Lincroft Village and its residents.

Board of Directors
Lincroft Village Green Association

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Filed under Avaya, COAH, Four Ponds Housing Development, lincroft village green association, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township, quality of life, schools, traffic

>Ringing Controversy; Concerned Citizens of Middletown Robocalls Strike A Nerve

>It seems that the latest round of Robocalls that went out yesterday afternoon by the group calling themselves “Concerned Residents of Middletown” have struck a nerve with some sitting on the Township Committee who say that the calls don’t ring true.

In a column published this morning over at Redbankgreen.com, Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore and his Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill question the legitimacy of the group Concerned Residents of Middletown and it’s message.

It appears to be just another desperate attempt by the Middletown Democrats to spread misinformation to the taxpayers,” Fiore is quoted as saying in reference to who he thinks is behind the calls. He adds “the real truth will come out. The information they’re pointing out is just not accurate,” when referencing that the Townships budget will be introduced next week.

As if that has any real barring on the truthfulness of the messages contained in the robocalls. Remember last year how Mayor Scharfenberger and those sitting on the Committee, other than Democrat Sean Byrnes, insisted that the Township tax increase was only 2.8% when the proposed budget for 2010 was introduced in last June, when in actuality the municipal tax rate increased by 13.9%.
I think the people lacking credibility on budget issues are those that sit on the Township Committee. The real truth behind the budget numbers and any proposed tax increase which will be presented next Monday night, wont really be known until revised tax bills are sent out to residents, after the budget is adopted later in the year, just as it was last year. When residents looked at their tax statements expecting to see only an increase of 2.8% in the municipal rate, they were stunned by the difference.
Before passing judgment on these robocalls, it is important to see if the message included in them pan out as describe. Only then can we tell who was spreading false information to residents.

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Filed under 2% cap, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, Middletown Township, Pamela Brightbill, proposed budget, RedBankGreen.com, Robo-calls, tax increase, Tony Fiore

>Middletown Library Issues Three Resolutions to Release Excess Funds To Township

>The Middletown Library made it official last week when it issued the three resolutions requested of it from the Township, that would authorize the release of $500,000 from previously reserved library funds, to the Township.

These resolutions have no yet made it onto the Middletown Library’s website, but i was told that they will be posted soon along with meeting minutes from the March 16th Board of Trustees Meeting.

Resolution 2011-23/Unrestricted Library Capital Reserves, Resolution 2011-26/ Forfeiture of Unreserved Funds and Resolution 2011-27/ Intent to transfer excess funds to the municipality of Middletown pending approval of the NJ State Librarian.

Resolution 2011-23, authorizes the release of $500,000 of reserved funds to the Township.
Resolution 2011-26, states that the Library Board of Trustees have agrees to forfeit 2008 & 2009 budget surplus of $196,831 as part of unrestricted funds o be transfer to the Township, and Resolution 2011-27, reaffirms the Library’s intent to transfer $500,000 to the Township once approval is given by the NJ State Librarian.
You can read the resolutions by clicking on the hyperlinks above if you are interested to read them.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, Middletown Library, Middletown Township, reserved funds, resolution 2011-23, resolution 2011-26, resolution 2011-27, surplus funds

>Township Makes New And Improved Request Of $500K To Library

>Instead of the over inflated request of $1.2 million that the Middletown Township Committee wants to steal from the Middletown Library, local officials have now made a new and improved request to the library for only $500,000 of its reserved funds according to an article online this morning over at the Asbury Park Press.

What strikes me about this article is that Township Attorney Brian Nelson, who is not an elected official but somehow seems to think he is very often, is out in front of this without he lead quote ” This is our official request”. Where is the mayor or deputy mayor on this; Why no word from them?

The other quote that sticks out is from Township Administrator Tony Mercantante, “Both sides could sue each other, and we’d end up in court for three years, but no one wants that.”

This to me seems like an ill disguised vile threat if you ask me, especially if you add it to other inflammatory remarks already made by those who represent the township that threatened to change the composition of the Library’s Board of Trustees by not reappointing current trustees and by adding more trustees that would be more sympathetic to the Township’s wishes, along with handing the Middletown Library over to the County to run.

The article also reiterates what I have been reminding people of since the February 16th Library Board meeting, which is that this request will not save the jobs of the 26 employees already scheduled to be laid off:

Township officials have said they need the money to avoid laying off more than the 26 positions that are already part of a plan it submitted to the state Civil Service Commission last month. Included in the layoff plan are 10 township police department and 13 parks and recreation department positions.


So now the Township feels that the ball is in the hands of the Library’s Board of Trustees at this point, Wednesday night is the next scheduled Library Board meeting and the Township expects an answer to their request.
The last I heard the Library Board was unwilling to give the Township much more than ~$250K, which is what they feel the library is obligated, by state law to return.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens Wednesday night.
Read the article >>> Here

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Brian Nelson, budget deficit, budget surplus, Middletown Library, Middletown Township, surplus funds, Tony Mercantante