Category Archives: resolutions and ordinances

The Silva Resolution – Establishing Policies / Procedures Regarding The Naming Of Township Property And Dedication Of Memorials On Township Property

Buried within the meeting agenda for Monday night’s, January 17th, Middletown Township Committee meeting is something a little curious that won’t be up for discussion but seems to have come about due to the construction of the officially unauthorized Daniel Piano Memorial that was constructed on the grounds of Middletown’s Croydon Hall and lead to the unofficial firing of Middletown’s Department of Parks and Recreation Director Gregg Silva.

Within the Consent Agenda (sec.10) of Monday’s meeting agenda there is listed the following resolution for approval:

12-069 Resolution Establishing Policies And Procedures Regarding The Naming Of Township Property And Dedication Of Memorials On Township Property

The actual resolution has not been posted online by the Township Clerk so I cannot read it or post it here for review as of yet, but I assume that it would be safe to say that this resolution will be adopted without open discussion or prior knowledge of the public of its content. It’s obvious however that this resolution will address the process for where and how the construction of private memorials on public property will be approved and authorized in the future.

I disagree with its placement within the consent agenda section of the meeting.

For those that don’t know what a Consent Agenda is or does, it’s really very simple. When there are a number of resolutions that deal with processes like paying bills or approving various contracts needs the “consent” or approval of the Township Committee, these resolutions lumped all together so that the Township Committee can approve them all with one vote. They are never discussed in public unless a Township Committee person wishes to pull one of the resolutions from the consent agenda for discussion/clarification. The resolution would then be voted on separately by the Township Committee.
I think that it would be good to discuss the circumstances that brought about Resolution 12-069 and explain why such a resolution is needed.

______________________________

UPDATE 1/13/12 @ 18:00

Resolution 12-069 – Resolution Establishing Policies And Procedures Regarding The Naming Of Township Property And Dedication Of Memorials On Township Property has now been posted online and available to read…..Here

It’s straight forward and should have been Township policy a long time ago

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Filed under consent agenda, Gregg Silva, Middletown Parks and Recreation, Middletown Township Committee, resolutions and ordinances

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 1- 1/01/12

A new year and a new addition of It’s Your Town newsletter is now available.

This first issue of 2012 covers the annual Reorganization meeting of the Middletown Township Committee which took place on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012 and includes all of the resolutions that appoint people to various Boards, Commissions and Committees in town. However, of all the appointees listed only about 25 were present to be sworn in.

This issue is the 56th newsletter published since the first issue debuted back in December of 2009 which covered the December 7th Township Committee Workshop meeting.

Due to the time that it takes to put the newsletter together, it’s author Don Watson, has decided that he will be take a break from writing it on a regular basis shortly. The next issue that will cover the January 17th Middletown Township Committee meeting may be the last issue for a while.

But don’t fret over the loss of the newsletter, Don Watson still plans on keeping the public informed of what transpires down at Town Hall. Don plans on videotaping the bi-weekly township meetings and posting them online so that resident can watch the Middletown Township Committee in action for themselves instead of reading about them.

The Township Committee meetings have often been described as the “best show on earth” by Don who now feels that the newsletter, which is written very matter of factly, hasn’t been conveying properly what really goes on at Township meeting. He feels, why write about a meeting when he can provide people the opportunity to watch them?

Don will be announcing soon via email to all those that have subscribed to the newsletter,when and where they will be able to see the recordings. If possible I will also post the videos here for reader of the blog to look at.

So until then, enjoy reading the last few issues of It’s Your Town newsletter by clicking onto the link.

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Filed under Don Watson, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, videotapping, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 24-12/19/11

The latest and last edition of “It’s Your Town” newsletter for the year, which covers the Middletown Township Committee meeting for Dec. 19th, 2011, is now available for your reading pleasure.

Besides the usual contents of the newsletter such as the monthly bill list and various ordinances and resolutions, inside this newsletter you will read a very accurate representation of the public hearing concerning the expansion of the Middletown Library’s Board of Trustees, Ordinance 2011-3048 , which became a rather testy affair at times between acting mayor Tony Fiore and the members of the public that stepped forward to address their concerns over the expansion of the board.
The expansion of the Library Board is seen by many as a way for the Township to gain greater influence over the Library’s budget and business dealings, to ensure that future surpluses are readily available for the Township’s purposes and a repeat of the public spectacle that took place earlier this year over the Township Committee’s ruthlessly brutal extortion of $500K worth of surplus and reserved funds from the Library.
This was also the last Township Committee meeting of acting deputy-mayor Pamela Brightbill, who decided not to seek reelection to the Township Committee this year. A Proclamation was presented to Brightbill for her years of service.
You can download the newsletter ….. Here

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Filed under budget surplus, Its Your Town, Middletown Library, Newsletter, Pamela Brightbill, proclamations, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances, Tony Fiore

Purpose Of Proposed Ordinance To Expand Middletown’s Library Board Is Questioned

Dear Mike,

As an advocate of our excellent Middletown Township library system, I am very concerned about the ordinance being presented at Monday’s (12/19/11) Township Committee Meeting regarding the addition of two Library Board members. This ordinance allows for the current seven member Board to be expanded to nine members as appointed by the mayor and his governing body. One Board member is the school Superintendant’s alternate pick (and therefore not chosen by the Township Committee).
Some may see this ordinance as a well intended gesture to “increase public participation” in the Library Board decision making process. However, based on the events of this past February, I am skeptical that the addition of two members is anything but a political move to put people in place to advance the agenda of the Township Committee.
Can we trust that the intention of this ordinance is not to divert money to the MTC budget when Committeeman Settembrino, in his role as Library Board member, pushed to have $500,000 transferred from the Library budget to the MTC budget, thereby depleting the library reserves? Mr. Settembrino acted in accordance with his role as a Committeeman to advocate for the taxpayer and provide property tax relief to our residents by plugging a budget hole with this money transfer. However, his action neglects his Library Board Trustee duty to be an advocate for a robust library system.
How can this new, larger Board remain independent when its members may be beholden to the desires of their appointees? The interests of the Township Committee may permeate this independent Board and take precedence over the best interests of the library and the public whom the Board is meant to serve.
The Library Board members must first and foremost be advocates of the library, and their fiduciary responsibility would require them to protect the library budget so that it meets the needs of the library and its patrons. Can we trust that Mr. Fiore will require his appointees to serve our needs, and not his own?
Thank you for all that you do to keep residents informed of the actions of their local government.
Warm Regards,

Melanie Elmiger

Note:
For more on this topic read “The $500,000 Raid On The Middletown Library Won’t Be The Last” and the comments that accompany the post along with APP: Middletown requests library hand over surplus of over $542G and Meeting Minutes From Library Board’s January 19th Meeting Contradicts What Was Said By Township Committee Members At Last Wednesday Night’s Meeting. You can also access the archives of this blog for various updates and opinions on this topic.

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Filed under Kevin Settembrino, letter to the editor, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances, surplus funds, Tony Fiore

The $500,000 Raid On The Middletown Library Won’t Be The Last

The Township Committee adds two additional Library Board members, sets the stage for majority control in 2012.

by guest blogger Linda Baum

A couple of months back, there was a rumor that the Township Committee intended to appoint two additional members to the Middletown Library Board, bringing the number of Board members from 7 to 9. (By comparison, keep in mind that the Township Committee consists of just 5 people.)

As it turns out, the rumor is true. At the Township Committee’s November 21, 2011 meeting, Ordinance 2011-3048 was introduced to add two new Library trustees. A public hearing on the Ordinance will be held at the Town Committee’s regular meeting on Monday, December 19, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

Two of the existing Board members, Mr. Milne and Ms. Raymond, are up for re-appointment at year end, and another Board member was already booted and replaced with Committeeman Settembrino at the start of this year. Add to those three spots the two new ones, and that’s a 5-4 majority to do the Town Committee’s bidding. So it would seem our mayor and his fellow Town Committee members have no intention of stopping at half a million.

As many of you know, I regularly attend the Library Board meetings and have since February of this year. I’m the only member of the public who regularly attends. If the woman who frequented Board of Education meetings was seen as the natural pick for that Board, I figure that makes me the front runner for one of the two new spots on the Library Board, right??? So I am submitting to the Town my application for Library Board membership, a futile effort since I am not likely to be appointed. My guess is that the two new appointees, or likely four if Mr. Milne and Ms. Raymond are replaced, will be members of the Republican Party faithful who are already serving on one or more other boards or commissions. I guess we’ll find out on Township Reorganization Day.

To understand what these changes could mean, let me recap a little history. In a taxpayer-funded play in 2010, Township attorney Brian Nelson succeeded in having New Jersey law changed to require our municipal public library to relinquish to the Township a significant portion of its surplus. (Previously, the law allowed for the transfer of funds but there was no requirement.) Now, the Library can keep some surplus — an amount no more than 20% above the prior year’s budget — but has to fork over the rest, with some exceptions. Some Library monies are protected under the law and are not considered surplus, such as restricted reserves for capital projects.

You may recall that of the $500K taken from the Library this year, half was restricted reserves that the Township was not entitled to legally. That’s one of the reasons such a battle erupted. The Library trustees were out-maneuvered from the start and in the end most felt obligated to pay the full $500,000. It was not without recognizing the precarious financial condition it left the Library in.

Faced with the substantial reduction in funding, the combined result of the $500K raid and an overall revenue decline in line with lower assessments, the Library trustees have been diligent this year about reducing costs where feasible without disruption to services. However, success in reducing the operating budget also has the effect of reducing the amount of surplus that can be retained (20% of the budget), leaving more on the table to be taken by the Township. In addition, the trustees have had to balance the need to set aside reserves – for unexpected expenses or to compensate for annual fluctuations in revenue – against what they stand to lose. The greater the reserve, the more the Township can take.

At its November 16th meeting, the Library Board discussed moving $122,000 to the capital fund to save for the parking lot expansion. Restricting a portion of the reserves for capital projects is supposed to protect the money from seizure by the Township. It won’t. The Library Board need only vote to unrestrict the funds, as was done this year. While the current Board is not likely to do that a second time, the newly re-structured 9-member Board might, and the Town Committee can ensure that it will by appointing the “right” people to the Board.

Sadly, the result may be a Library Board that fails to act in the best interests of the Library.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, guest blogger, Linda Baum, Middletown Library, Middletown NJ, reserved funds, resolutions and ordinances, surplus funds

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 22- 11/21/11

The current edition of It’s Your Town Newsletter is here and covers the only Middletown NJ Township Committee meeting that took place for the month of November held on November 21,2011.

This meeting included the passing of an ordinance that approved the rezoning of the Bamm Hollow property as a result of settling a lawsuit out of court. There was also an ordinance introduced for the purpose of increasing the number of members to be appointed to the board of the Middletown Public Library.
Currently there are 7 board trustees serving the Middletown Library, this ordinance will increase the number who serve as Library Board Trustees to 9.
The problem with this is that the Township Committee, which appoints the trustees to the Library Board, will handpicked loyal Republican cronies to serve on the library board, which will then make it easier in the future for the Township Committee to raid surplus and reserved library funds for its own use, as it did earlier this year when it extorted nearly $500,000 from the library (threatening that the library would be held responsible for police lay-offs if the money was not given up), in order to balance the Township budget.
A public hearing on the ordinance will take place at the December 19,2011 Township Committee meeting.

The bill lists that were included with this edition did not scanned well therefore some of the pages are missing information on the left side of the page.

Guest blogger Linda Baum has written a post concerning the appointment of new members to the Middletown Library Board and what it will mean to those who already sit on the board and for those who run Middletown’s governing body and how it will effect the library in general.
I will post it later today, in the meantime you can read the latest newsletter…. Here

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Library, Middletown NJ, Newsletter, public hearing, resolutions and ordinances

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 20- 10/3/11

Here is the latest edition of the It’s Your Town Hall newsletter covering the 10-3-11 Middletown Township NJ Committee Workshop meeting.

There was a request to have a special Committee meeting to discuss the capital improvements, but as stated during the meeting, the Committee felt there was no reason to discuss this in public.

There was some discussion when Linda Baum asked about principal repayments for the bonds and notes the Township has outstanding. She wanted to continue the discussion, but it was terminated due to the 5-minute rule. See inside for more details.

For those that are new to this there are links within the newsletter that will bring you to that ordinance or resolution. At the end of that resolution or ordinance there is a link to bring you back to where you were reading. In the case of the bill list there is a link on each page.

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter and receive via email, contact Mr. Don Watson at itsourtown@yahoo.com and requests to be put on the mailing list.

Download the latest newsletter …. Here

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Filed under 5 minute rule, bill list, bonding, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, workshop meeting