Category Archives: Middletown

>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.


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.


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.”

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

>Is Everyone Ready For Some More Snow ?

>… I hope so.

According to the National Weather Service the Middletown area can expect anywhere from 6 – 9 inches of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon, so I’m hoping that this storm doesn’t turn out to be a disaster, like the last storm that hit the area back on December 26th.
Are towns doing anything differently this time around to prepare for the upcoming snow?
Hazlet Township posted on it’s newly created Facebook page earlier this afternoon that:
As of 3:45 PM the Hazlet Township Emergency Operations Center is monitoring a Winter Storm Warning for a weather event capable of producing 6 to 9 inches of snow between 4 Pm Tuesday and noon Wednesday.”

Which is good to see because it show that leaders of the town are trying to be proactive by informing residents a head of time what they can expect from the township. Will it have any effect on how well the powers that be respond to the upcoming storm? I don’t know but I sure would hope so.
Is Middletown doing anything different this time around to keep residents informed about the coming storm after the fiasco of the last storm? Currently not much, but maybe that will change.
If you look at Middletown’s website, they seemed to have overreacted to the possibility of snow over this past weekend when they posted preparation plans for a storm that never was over this past weekend:

“Middletown Township is making preparations for an expected Friday snow storm. New supplies of salt and sand have been delivered to the Public Works Yard with additional tonnage slated for delivery Friday. Road Crews are ready to be activated. Township snow removal equipment has been inspected and readied for service. In the past 24 hours, main roads have pre-treated with salt brine to help prevent snow and ice from bonding to the roads.”

Are the same precautions going to be taken again starting late tomorrow afternoon? I should think that the Township would after all the flack that they received from residents that were buried in their homes for days after the Christmas weekend storm, but you never know.
But I would think that the response to this pending storm can only be better because it couldn’t keep any worse.
As they say, “you live and you learn”.
So here’s to hoping that towns in the area have learned for the mistakes of the last storm so that we don’t have to live through the same mistakes again.

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Filed under Hazlet NJ, Middletown, nation weather service, snow storm, storm preparation.

>FYI – Middletown’s Committee Meeting Moved To Thursday The 13th This Month

>Here’s an FYI for anyone who may be interested in attending this month’s Township Committee meeting in Middletown this next week.

The regular meeting was scheduled for Monday night January 17th but because of a conflict with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on that date it was moved to the following day, Tuesday 18th.
Now comes word that the meeting has once again been rescheduled.
The next scheduled meeting of the Middletown Township Committee is Thursday of next week, the 13th.
There has been no word as of yet for reason behind the rescheduling. Below is the notice ethat is posted on the Township’s website:
January 18, 2011 Township Committee Meeting Rescheduled to Jan. 13, 2011
Notice is hereby given that an “Open Public Meeting” of the Township Committee of the Township of Middletown is CANCELLED for:

Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Time 7:00 PM Executive Session (Closed to the public)
8:00 PM Regular Meeting (Open to the public)
Place: Main Meeting Room
One Kings Highway
Middletown, NJ 07748


Date: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Time 7:00 PM Executive Session (Closed to the public)
8:00 PM Regular Meeting (Open to the public)
Place: Main Meeting Room
One Kings Highway
Middletown, NJ 07748

Please plan accordingly if you wish to attend.

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Filed under Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, Public meeting

>Letter: Middletown needs to take lessons from county road dept.

>The following letter appears in this weeks edition of the Independent. The letter reflects fairly well the frustration that residents felt and may still feel about the clean-up efforts after last weeks massive blizzard that struck the area:

In Middletown, our recent snowstorm was not only a climatic event; it was catastrophic to its citizens. From its inception, this storm paralyzed transportation on Middletown’s roads. The storm started with intensity at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday; it roared into Monday and stopped at approximately 4 a.m. S ervices in the form of plowing appeared to be nonexistent not only during the storm but after the storm.

On Monday morning, the concept of plowing turned out to be a real mystery. With the exception of the Monmouth County roads, the roads in Middletown were not really plowed. There didn’t even seem to be an attempt to plow a single lane down the middle of the road. I always thought this was done to facilitate the movement of police, ambulance and fire vehicles. I was very concerned; I therefore called the offices of both Public Works and the business administrator. The phones of both these departments were not manned. The phone at public works had a pre-recorded message, which stated that the individual had just stepped away from her desk and I should leave a message. I called the police department and there was an immediate response from a live person. The individual said that they didn’t have anything to do with the roads.

I began to think and I reached back into my memory. I began to recollect that under our form of government it is the business administrator who is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Middletown. I made another call to the business administrator’s office, and once again I experienced an unmanned phone. I didn’t think that it would be appropriate to give a civics lesson to a message recorder.

Driving on Middletown’s roads has been a real challenge. It may be related to shake, rattle and maybe roll.

Middletown needs to take lessons from the Monmouth County Road Department. The work done by this department can be described as nothing less than excellent.

Middletown needs to learn how to plan, manage, deploy, schedule and implement the skills of its workers. They are a great group of guys. They should have the opportunity to do a great job.

P.S. I can’t wait for the next snowstorm. I’m thinking about purchasing a snowmobile.

Preston Gillam
Belford section of


Filed under blizzard, clean-up efforts, Letter to Santa, Middletown, snow storm, the Independent

>The Underlying Common Thread

>Can anyone pin-point the underlying common thread that runs between the last three blog postings?

I am not looking for the obvious Chris Christie references on a national TV program or the demise of the middle-class at the hands of the GOP.
I’m looking for a much more local common thread, the one that effects residents in Middletown and the surrounding area more closely than whether or not Christie has national ambitions.
If you have any thoughts about it send me your comments, I’ll post them, then I will give you what I perceive is the common thread between the last three postings.

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Filed under common thread, Gov. Chris Christie, Middletown