Hold onto your purse strings and wallets ladies and gentleman, I got my hands on the proposed 2010 Middletown Municipal Budget before its introduction and as we have been saying for a long time now, it isn’t pretty!
The budget that will be introduced during the Special Budget Introduction Meeting tonight at 7pm will total nearly $65M and will reflect a spending increase over last years budget of 4.9%, it calls for a 12.2% tax increase that will raise $5.55M to fund it!
As I said it isn’t pretty, I spent a few hours reviewing it after I requested a copy of it from Committeeman Sean Byrnes, who was nice enough to forward it to me in advance of the budget meeting. In the email that accompanied the budget Byrnes wrote:
“…much of this was foreseeable, pension increase $1.8M, payback $800k from 2009, salary increases $1.5M, health care increase $1.6M, these total over $6.0M. No surprise. We knew this in 2009 and yet they refused all my recommendations including fixed fee legal retainer, bidding out engineering work, cutting Middletown matters, cutting Middletown day, contracting out leaf and brush, consolidating maintenance and refusing finance cmte. Even now we should be assuming the governors tool chest will pass and we should be planning accordingly…”
Why the big increase, what are the driving forces behind the budget? In addition to what Sean Byrnes stated, nearly every appropriation line item in the budget saw an increase of some kind even though most revenues streams dried up.
Not surprisingly, after the mayor took such a public stance against the MTEA after April’s defeat of the school budget, taking his lead from Governor Christie and insisting that the teachers accept a wage freeze and contribute to their health benefits, the largest overall increase in the budget after the increase to the health and pension funds were Salaries and Wages paid out to employees who will enjoy an 8.9% increase over last year!
If you doubt what I say, you can print out a copy for yourself >>> Here
and see for yourself.
If you plan on attending the budget introduction meeting bring a copy of the budget with you, along with your questions in order to ask the mayor why he and others on the Township Committee have done such a poor job in preparing for and planning this budget. If they would have heeded Sean Byrnes and former Committeeman Patrick Short’s advice over the past year and leading up to the introduction of this budget, the situation we find ourselves in today may not have been so costly to residents.