Category Archives: Middletown

A Good Night for the Democrats; The Dems pick up one seat in the Assembly, while the Republicans lose all key races, despite Christie’s campaigning

While it wasn’t such a good night for being a Democrat in Middletown or a candidate for state office in Monmouth County, Democrats did increase their majorities in Trenton and a consolidation vote between two Princeton towns to merge into one municipality to save on property taxes is looked at as an anomaly rather than the next wave of the future as many would hope for.

NJspotlight has a pretty good wrap up of last nights events worth reading today:

Despite tough, nasty contests in a few races and more than $25 million spent, very little changed in the New Jersey legislature on election night. The Democrats gained one seat in the Assembly and still control both legislative houses. The Republicans lost all the key races that they targeted and where Gov. Chris Christie campaigned.

In the most hotly contested races, Democratic incumbents James Whelan in South Jersey’s 2nd District and Robert Gordon in North Jersey’s 38th won by relatively comfortable margins.

And Richard Codey, the incumbent Democratic senator in the 27th, prevailed. Some had predicted he would run into trouble given that redistricting had shifted several Morris County municipalities into his home territory.

The Democrats also picked up one Assembly seat in the 4th.

Two ballot questions, one statewide and one local, also won.

About two-thirds of New Jersey voters approved the one question on the ballot: to allow sports betting in New Jersey should Congress give other states besides the four already approved the OK at a future date. And voters in Princeton and Princeton Township also approved a momentous merger question. It would be the first time in more than half a century that two New Jersey communities of any real size agreed to merge.

Democrats gloated over the gain of one Assembly seat.

“Chris Christie is all coat and no tail,” proclaimed John Wisniewski, chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and an Assemblyman, to cheering crowds at the Bergen County Democrats’ celebration. “Chris Christie kept saying if he didn’t lose any seats, this would be an historic election for Republicans. Well, there’s one more Democrat going to Trenton.”

Christie tried to set low expectations for the Republicans’ chances, saying governors almost always lose seats in midterm elections.

Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, said the circumstances this year were vastly different.

“It is a very disappointing night for Gov. Christie,” said Dworkin, adding the GOP should have gained as many as six seats. “He outraised the Democrats by millions of dollars. He put his high approval rating and his personal reputation on the line by going on network television in New York and Philadelphia. And in the end, he wasn’t able to even keep the status quo in the legislature, much less win the several seats that Republicans might have expected given his efforts.”

When the state legislative seats top the ballot, turnout in New Jersey’s midterm elections is notoriously low. In 2007, the last time the Senate led the ballot, 32 percent of voters turned out statewide. Most counties reported voter turnout hovering between 20 and 30 percent — Cape May had a high of 38 percent — despite a beautifully warm, sunny day.

Although most voters don’t see these races as important, the stakes were high.

With a 24-16 majority in the Senate, the Democrats went into the night only three seats shy of a veto-proof majority in the upper house. They needed those 27 votes back in July when they sought to override Gov. Chris Christie’s line-item vetoes of more than a dozen spending items cut from the state budget. They didn’t think that would happen and, at least, defended all their seats.

However, if the Republicans could pick up five seats, a scenario most saw as unlikely, they would give Christie at least one house to help advance his agenda.

Continue reading … Here

Leave a comment

Filed under consolidation of services, election results, Gov. Chris Christie, Middletown, Monmouth County, NJ election results, NJspotlight, Princeton Boro, Princeton Township, State Legislative Races

Mtown News Flash 10-7-11

Meet the Mayor Nights
Middletown Mayor Anthony P. Fiore will host Meet the Mayor nights at the Middletown Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm October 17th, October 24th and November 7th . Residents are invited to stop by to discuss issues related to Township government. Meet the Mayor nights replace regularly scheduled office hours at Town Hall on these dates. Residents can also reach the Mayor by calling his office at 732-615-2024 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Health Department Moved to Croydon Hall
The Health Department has been temporarily relocated to Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Road in Leonardo until further notice. This includes Animal Control, Social Services and Vital Statistics.

Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Road, Leonardo, NJ 07737
Phone: 732-615-2095 |Fax: 732-671-8697 | Contact Us
Office Hours – 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Flood Mitigation Assistance Funding Available
As a result of Hurricane Irene, federal funding assistance is available to mitigate flood hazards and reduce future losses. Residents interested in applying for a matching grant to fund flood mitigation projects such as house elevation, should contact Middletown Emergency Management by Thursday, October 13 at 732-615-2129.

Fall Recreation Class Registration
The Middletown Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is currently accepting registration for youth and adult classes offered this fall. Adult classes include computers, karate and volleyball. Youth classes include Computer Explorers, ceramics, bowling and gymnastics. Registrations are accepted on-line, by mail and at the Parks and Recreation Office, 900 Leonardville Road, Leonardo. Call 732-615-2260 for details. Online Registration

DISASTER RECOVERY CENTERS CLOSED FOR COLUMBUS DAY
Officials at the FEMA/State Joint Field Office announced that the Disaster Recovery Centers in New Jersey will be closed for Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10. They will re-open on Tuesday, Oct. 11 and resume normal hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Assistance is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. by calling the Helpline, 800-621-3362. Anyone affected by the disaster may register for assistance by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA). Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. Video Relay Service and 711 are also available by calling 800-621-3362. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available. Register anytime online at www.fema.gov or m.fema.gov. Residents can find the DRC closest to them online at: http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm. The deadline to register is Oct. 31.

TV programming
October programming includes the Middletown Arts Center Talent Showcase and Reaching Out to Prevent Subsistence Abuse. The station is viewable on Comcast Cable Channel 20 and Verizon Fios 26.

In between programs catch on local news and events by viewing Community Bulletin. Don’t have Comcast or Verizon. View the bulletin board online!

Community Bulletin Board

Written Comments on Oceanic Bridge Accepted Through 10/26
If you missed the chance to voice your concerns about the Oceanic Bridge at recent public information meetings held in Rumson and Middletown, you can still do so in writing. The Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering has created and posted a form online that you can download and use to submit your written comments.

The public meetings were held to discuss the replacement alternatives of the Oceanic Bridge over the Navesink River between Rumson and Middletown, in accordance with federal and state regulations. The public is encouraged to voice their opinions on their preferred bridge replacement alternative. All written public comments will be included in the submission to the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The forms, as well as the materials presented at the public information meetings, are posted on the Monmouth County website via this link.

Written comments will be accepted through Wednesday, October 26, 2011. Comments may be mailed or faxed to: Monmouth County Engineering, 1 East Main Street, P.O. Box 1255, Freehold, NJ 07728, Attn: Inkyung Englehart, Fax: 732-431-7765

Leave a comment

Filed under Comcast, community Bulletin Board, Croydon Hall, FEMA, Middletown, Middletown Library, News Flash, Oceanic Bridge, Town Hall, Verizon

Disaster Food Assistance For Storm-Impacted Families

Monmouth County to begin taking applications on Sept. 12

FREEHOLD, NJ – On Monday, Sept. 12, Monmouth County will open four locations where residents can apply for a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefit if they experienced extensive material losses due to Hurricane Irene or subsequent flooding.

“Hurricane Irene and the flooding in her aftermath have negatively impacted many of our residents,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “The D-SNAP and supplemental benefits programs are ways to help families now so that they can recover from the devastating effects of the storm.”

D-SNAP is a one-time food assistance benefits that can be used only for the purchase of certain food items. Individual and families not currently receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible.

Monmouth County will process D-SNAP subsidy applications from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 at temporary sites in Middletown and Asbury Park in addition to the county’s two Social Service Offices. The locations are:

– Monmouth County Division of Social Services, 3000 Kozloski Rd., Freehold
Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

– Monmouth County Division of Social Services, 2405 Rt. 66, Ocean Township
Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

– Croydon Hall, 900 Leonardville Rd., Middletown
Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

– Asbury Park Municipal Building, Council Chambers, Bangs Avenue entrance, Asbury Park, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Residents are encouraged to apply at any one of the sites according to the first letter of their last name. The schedule is as follows:

Monday, Sept. 12 A –B
Tuesday, Sept. 13 C- F
Wednesday, Sept. 14 G- K
Thursday, Sept. 15 L- M
Friday, Sept. 16 N- R
Monday, Sept. 19 S- T
Tuesday, Sept. 20 U- Z

The application process will ease requirements around documents necessary to apply for D-SNAP and will weigh disaster-related expenses when considering eligibility. There is an income test that includes liquid financial resources such as checking and saving accounts. Benefits are electronically applied to a card similar to a debit/credit card for the purchase of certain food items.

Individuals and families currently not receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible.

The state Department of Human Services’ Division of Family Development, which administers SNAP through the counties, is coordinating these processes with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services.

Residents also should be sure to register for FEMA assistance at http://www.recoveryassistance.gov and to check http://www.nj211.org for valuable disaster-related information. including how to: acquire clean-up kits; schedule home inspections, and; exercise renters rights.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asbury Park NJ, D-SNAP, disaster assistance, Division of Social Services, FEMA, food assistance, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Hurricane Irene, Middletown, Monmouth County

>Possible suitor for Avaya? Monmouth Girls Academy Said To Be Interested

>

There has been talk recently that there maybe a commercial buyer interested in purchasing the controversial AVAYA site and redeveloping the property into something other than a high density housing project which would consist of 342 units.
In order to deflect residents anger away from the proposed housing project at AVAYA, members of the Township Committee have been floating rumors and innuendo to Lincroft citizens groups like SONIC and the Lincroft Village Green Association about a potential commercial buyer of the property, but they have been mum on details and wont elaborate.
Earlier today I was forwarded an email that I thought would be of interest to some in Lincroft. The email (posted below minus contact information, I can forward if interested) details a plan that would have the Monmouth Girls Academy purchasing the property and turning it into an all girls school similar to that of Christian Brothers Academy, which is also located in Lincroft:

Hi all,


You may have heard the facts by now but here is a summary for the proposed school:

  • Yes – they ARE serious about this!! The feasibility study is being funded by local parents who seem quite determined to make this happen.
  • The school would be accredited by the Middle States Association and Colleges.
  • The school will be somewhere in Lincroft – they have already checked out the Avaya property.
  • Tuition would be comparable to CBA – currently $13,000. Academics and curriculum would be comparable to CBA.
  • Like CBA – the school would NOT be a part of the Diocese of Trenton.
  • Target enrollment would be 500-600 girls.
  • Target freshman class – Sept 2013 a bit aggressive but they are hopeful:)!
  • They currently have a Steering Committee in place with various local Educators and professionals.
  • They also have a Founders Committee in place to raise funds if the study has a positive outcome.
  • Meitler Consultants hopes to complete the study by October 2011.
  • This is the first Phase in the process.

How can you help? Go to the website www.monmouthgirlsacademy.org and register so they can get an idea of just how many parents are truly interested in the school.

Also – please forward to anyone you think would be interested. I did not use any group e-mail lists so as to not abuse the system.



On the surface, I don’t think this is a viable plan. There is just too much involved to make this happen and at a cost that would easily exceed millions of dollars. First off the building is very large and sits on partial wetlands building an active campus for students would seem almost impossible at that site. But stranger things have happened.
We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

17 Comments

Filed under all girls school, Avaya, Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, lincroft village green association, LVGA, Middletown, Monmouth Girls Academy, Sonic

>In many N.J. towns that undergo revaluations, homeowners end up paying more open space taxes

>The second NJ.com editorial that caught my eye today was about how NJ open space taxes are effected when municipalities undergo revaluations like Middletown has. Open space taxes are tied into property values and increase proportionally to the value of a property after a revaluation.

I remember during last year’s budget introduction meeting in Middletown, a gentleman brought up this issue and wanted the Township to adjust the rate downward to offset the 14% tax increase which was contained in the budget. I believe his request fell on death ears and nothing was done to make adjustments to the open space tax:

In the nation’s most densely populated state, Garden State residents value their space.

But they may not be so thrilled about what they are paying for it. The reason is a tiny municipal tax for open space — pennies per $100 of a home’s valuation — that, left unchecked, has added up to big bucks in some towns.

The result is homeowners in 50 New Jersey towns have paid out some $15 million more to preserve land, farms and historic and recreational sites than they had in previous years. In one town last year, the tax bills jumped by more than $150 for some homeowners.

The quirk comes into play when towns conduct revaluations. The problem is towns — which make adjustments to prevent other slices of the tax pie from skyrocketing — fail to do the same for the open space tax. Because that tax’s rate is tied to property values, the levy goes up when properties appreciate.

The longer a town goes between revaluations, the more homes are worth and the bigger the bite taken by the open space tax. Last year, for example:

• In Roseland, which underwent a revaluation for the first time since the Nixon administration, the average property assessment climbed 651 percent. That jacked up the open space tax from roughly $25 to nearly $200 for the owner of a home assessed at the borough’s average of about $481,000. The Essex County town’s open space tax levy surged from nearly $95,000 to almost $727,000.

• In Brick, what had been an open space levy of more than $471,000 ballooned by 127 percent to more than $1 million after a revaluation in that Ocean County township.

• In Princeton Borough, leaders tried to avoid a tax hike by spending surplus funds and not replacing several departing workers. But the open space rate wasn’t adjusted before the Mercer County borough’s revaluation, and it raised that part of the average tax bill by $40 from the year before.

“Maybe some people are asleep at the switch,” said Ulrich H. Steinberg, a former director of the state Division of Local Government Services, which provides management and fiscal advice to municipalities. “(Officials) may see the numbers, but they may not understand what the numbers mean. They may not be looking out for what the overall impact is on the residents.”

Over the last five years, 71 New Jersey towns with open space taxes underwent property revaluations. Nearly three-quarters of them failed to adjust their open space tax rates, leading to a 128 percent increase in their combined levies — a windfall of more than $15.5 million. By contrast, municipal taxes in those towns rose an average of 12 percent….

Read more >>> Here and find out exactly “WHAT IS A MUNICIPAL OPEN-SPACE TAX?”

1 Comment

Filed under Middletown, open-space tax, property tax revaluation, the Star-Ledger

>N.J. municipalities scramble to notify voters on property tax referendum; I wonder if Middletown has plans to hedge it’s bet

>According to the Star-Ledger, today is the last day that municipalities around the State have to notifiy their votes of the potential to hold a property tax referendum that would enable a municipality to exceed Governor Christie’s 2% cap on budgets.

I posted Saturday about how Middletown’s Administrator Tony Mercantante and others have stated that they had no intention to exceed the 2% cap and that there would be no referendum needed, especially since Mercantante had no idea how a referendum would work. He stated at the February 16th Library Board meeting that the State Legislature(code word for Democrats) in its bill, provided no guidance or allocated any type of funds to municipalities for the purpose of such an event. So Middletown wasn’t going to even consider such a possibility.

Instead of planning for the possiblility of a referendum, Middletown’s Mayor Tony Fiore, and others that control the town planned to follow Governor Christie’s lead and stay with in a 2% budget increase.

That sounds great in theory but wouldn’t be a good idea to hedge your bets and announce a referendum just in case they can’t stay with in the cap?

Is the Township Committee really prepared to lay off 10 or more police officers and the whole department of Parks & Recreation if they can not get union consessions during contract talks or if they Library Board refuses to hand over any more reserved funds then they are legally responsible to do, which at this point is in the neighborhood of $250,000?

I guess these questions will be answered at tonight’s Township workshop meeting.

TRENTON — New Jersey enters a new era today as voters get to find out if they may be asked next month to raise their property taxes beyond the Christie administration’s new 2 percent limit.

Under the law signed by Gov. Chris Christie last summer, residents will decide if their town or school budget can exceed the 2 percent cap through a referendum on April 27, the same day as school board elections.

Towns and schools were scrambling last week to meet today’s deadline to publish a newspaper ad notifying voters a referendum may be held. As of Sunday, five towns — Plumsted, Mount Holly, Riverdale, North Arlington and Chesilhurst — had placed ads and at least five more towns and two schools planned to, according to groups representing towns and schools….Read more >>> Here

22 Comments

Filed under 2% cap, budget deficit, budget surplus, Middletown, Middletown Library, property tax referendum, the Star-Ledger

>Can Someone From Middletown Call Someone From Brick To find Out How A Special Budget Referendum Is Supposed To Work?

>During the February 16th Library Board meeting, someone asked about the possibility of Middletown exceeding the new State mandated 2% cap on budgets and the possibility of placing a budget referendum question on the ballot that would allow voters to authorize exceeding the cap if they thought it was necessary to retain services.

The question was answered by Township Administrator Tony Mercantante and the goon that acts as Township Attorney Brian Neslon. They answered that Middletown had no intention whatsoever in exceed the 2% cap and even if they did there was no mechanism in place that they knew of, that would guide them towards how a special budget referendum would be putting place or carried out.

Mercantante stated something to the fact that, like most of what the law makers in Trenton do, they passed a provision with no guidance on how to carry it out or how to finance it. Mercantante and Nelson were both adamant that Middletown was not going to spend one dime to carry out a special election just so that voters can approve or disapprove a proposed budget, without funding from the State.

Fast forward now to Wednesday when it was reported in the Asbury Park Press that Township of Brick is planning to hold a special budget referendum to exceed the State mandated 2% cap. At stake are the jobs 172 employees that would include 29 police officers and 117 members o the public works department.

Now the article didn’t mention when or how the special budget question was going to happen, but it is a good bet that the question will be posted on the ballot of the next set of elections coming up, which would be the school board election in April.
Contrary to popular beliefs in Middletown, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out. I believe this is why Governor Christie and those in the State Legislature have told municipal leaders that their budgets need to be submitted to the State by mid March, so if there is a need for a special referendum it could be without the need for a special election or any extra costs associated with it.
It would just be nice to get a straight answer out of people that represent Middletown for a change, without it being turned into a big political name calling game.
So can someone from Mercantante’s office call down to Brick and ask someone in the Mayor’s office down there, the details on how a special election would work to exceed the budget cap if ever needed?

6 Comments

Filed under 2% cap, Brian Nelson, Brick NJ, budget referendum, Middletown, special election, Tony Mercantante

>MyFox Video: Farm Tax Breaks for N.J. Celebrities; Middletown’s Mercantante Featured

>Many NJ residents like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Max Wienberg and others are taking advantage of huge property tax breaks for having portions of their property designated as farmland. They are being called by many phony farmers, for their attempts at cashing in on the law that states property owners with 5 or more acres can qualify for a special farm land tax break if they can show income of only $500 from goods produced on their lands.

MyFox News posted this report last night and interestingly Middletown’s Administrator Tony Mercantante is featured in this report:

…But many say these tax breaks help preserve New Jersey open space and limit development. And Middletown manager Tony Mercantante thinks that can be a good thing.

Merchantante says, “Farming certainly is an activity that the state’s been looking to preserve to the extend possible and farmland assessment has allowed farmers to survive.”

People in favor or the tax breaks worry that backlash will force a change that hurts real farmers and possible jeopardize agriculture in New Jersey.

But Mercantante says change could occur, and bring more tax money to town’s like his, without hurting real farmers.

“I think there should be a sliding scale approach to farmland assessment based upon the extend of your farming activity,” Mercantante says…..


I find Mercantante’s take on this subject somewhat disingenuous. If he felt this way previously why didn’t he speak of it before, could it be because the “Queen of Middletown” is no longer with us? Judy Stanley-Coleman, aka the Queen, also took advantage of this law by raising honeybees on a portion of her large Middletown estate.

13 Comments

Filed under Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Middletown, Tony Mercantante

>Reassessment On Tonight’s Agenda In Middletown

>If you’re like me and the many others township residents that I have spoken to, than you also have received your property tax reassessment notification in the mail recently. From what I have determined, Realty Appraisal has been sending out notification of new property assessments to residents over the past two weeks.

As a result of this, part of tonight’s agenda for the Middletown Township Committee meeting will be to discuss the status of the recent reassessment (which I have no doubt has been completed by now).

For those that do not know, Reality Appraisal is the same company the Township paid over $2M to conduct the less than stellar property tax revaluation 2 years ago. This recent attempt at reassessment has cost the taxpayers of Middletown an additional $400K.

So armed with these new assessment figures, I would suspect that the Township Committee will be discussing what the new tax rate should be based on tonight. Or, better yet, I would think that the Township Committee should be producing a budget to present.

If the Committee would present an outline of the budget then a somewhat accurate tax rate can be formulated and taxpayers could be informed of what they need to pay to keep Middletown operating for 2011.

After all, we are 2 months into the year and the Township has already appropriated $25,131,237.13 including the resolution that will be voted on tonight for another $646,709.00 in emergency appropriations.

3 Comments

Filed under Middletown, property tax reassessment, property tax revaluation, Township Committee

>Monmouth County to repair Compton’s Creek bridge

>Just in case some Middletown residents haven’t heard about this, I am posting this news brief from the County. This project will impact some of those that live in and around the Port Monmouth section of town and may make it difficult for some to get to the Belford Ferry terminal, depending on how they travel.

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Work to stabilize the southwestern embankment at Monmouth County’s bridge over Compton’s Creek on Broadway in Port Monmouth is expected to begin Monday, Jan. 31.

Weather permitting, the project is expected to take one week to complete. Vehicle traffic on Broadway and across the bridge should expect to be detoured between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. There may be occasions where the detours remain in place until 5 p.m. Broadway is expected to be open to traffic each evening.

Specifically, eastbound traffic in Port Monmouth will detour from Main Street to Port Monmouth Road to Church Street and return to Broadway. Conversely, westbound traffic will detour from Broadway to Church Street to Port Monmouth Road to Main Street in Port Monmouth.

“The scheduled repair will stabilize the eroded southwest embankment and correct the undermined edge of the roadway adjacent to the bridge,” County Engineer Joseph Ettore said. “This condition was caused by the tidal influence of Compton’s Creek.”

The embankment will be reestablished to its original limits with suitable backfill and filter fabric. The repairs also will include the construction of about 30 feet of timber retaining wall. Finally, an upgraded guide rail system will be installed in front of the retaining wall repair to provide additional protection to the traveling public.

“These repairs will benefit Middletown residents, commuters, patrons of Bayshore Waterfront Park and other local travelers who have been affected by recent tidal flooding and washouts,” Freeholder John P. Curley said. “Stabilizing the embankment will resolve public safety concerns and restore full access to the county bridge and municipal roadway.”

The work will be performed by the Bridge Division of the Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering.

“The county understands the inconvenience these detours will have on motorists and local residents,” said John W. Tobia, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “Unfortunately, this work cannot be completed without the closure of the bridge and road.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Compton's Creek Bridge, Middletown, Monmouth County, Port Monmouth NJ