Category Archives: televised meetings


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In the name of open and transparent government, many towns throughout the area televise their township committee meeting, Middletown however does not.

What are Tony Fiore and the Middletown Republican majority trying to hide, why wont they agree to televise Middletown’s Township Committee meetings?

It’s already been determined that there has been grant money available in the past to do so. It has been said that an informed electorate is a knowledgeable electorate.

Are the Middletown Republicans afraid to televise meeting because they worry about what voters will learn if the channel of their televisions are tuned into a Township Committee meeting? Indifference by some, arrogance by other, a township attorney who speaks instead of letting duly elected officials answer questions and who sneers and snickers at residents who address the Committee, are just a small sample of what residents would learn if they could watch township meetings in the comfort of their homes.

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Filed under Middletown Democratic Club, political cartoons, televised meetings, Tony Fiore

An Open Letter to Middletown Residents From Carol Fowler

I am a mother of two whose family goes back four generations in Middletown and whose children were educated in our Middletown schools. For the first time in my family’s history, I see families being priced out of our Township, because of our soaring taxes. As our incomes have remained flat, we have seen steady, significant municipal tax increases exceeding 40% in the last 6 years. If you believe every municipality has experienced these increases, think again. While many of our surrounding towns have had minimal or no increases in taxes, over the last six years, our elected officials have burdened our citizens with a dramatic tax increase unmatched by our surrounding communities. Many members of the next generation of Middletown children cannot afford to live here. Poor management of our local government produced these unnecessary tax hikes. I am running for office to reverse this trend.

We must start by reducing taxes by cutting our debt, which has mushroomed over the last decade under the current regime from $48million to $72 million. Over the last decade, our Township Committee has overspent its way through an $8 million dollar Arts Center, bonded for $2.5 million for turf fields for our kids that disappeared somewhere in the Town’s budget, and paid the same politically connected engineering firm to work on every Township engineering project without competitive bidding for the last 30 years or more.
We must also cut spending, consolidate services with the Board of Education and neighboring towns and look for partnerships with private and non-profit entities. We must continue the trend initiated by the efforts of my Democratic predecessors Sean Byrnes and Patrick Short to privatize more of our brush collection, and open up our professional contract awards to competitive bidding. For the last few decades, I’ve been an executive officer of our volunteer first aid squad. I’ve recorded many business meetings and, when a purchase is necessary, three bids are sought and then voted on. Why can’t our Town do the same for professional services that cost taxpayers well over $1,000,000 per year?
These steps are easy to grasp, but have eluded the current regime, because these steps would threaten the cozy, lucrative relationship enjoyed by the professionals retained by our elected officials to serve this Township. You may not be aware of how your Township is being run, because the Township Committee steadfastly refuses to televise its meetings. If you visit the websites of similar-sized or even smaller municipalities (e.g. East Brunswick, Rahway), you will find complete coverage of their regular meetings, where any citizen who wants to can see how their tax dollars are being spent. What do we have to hide? How come we broadcast events form the Arts Center, concerts in our parks, but not our Town meetings?
Walking our township, I’ve seen with my own eyes that we have seniors who can barely afford to purchase food, as well as victimized homeowners who lose everything when a tropical storm sweeps through, with no solution in place to their long time flooding predicament. Our town’s Senior Center has a very good food program, yet the recreational side of it is not as attractive to seniors, who pay a nominal non-resident fee to attend the more enjoyable Keyport Senior Center. Why can’t we have equally attractive senior programs at our own Center?
I want to restore this town to what it was — a reliable and affordable place to live. But I also insist that we keep in step with what our neighboring communities offer to residents. Our recreational facilities and our overall Recreation Department lag far behind the thoughtfully planned recreational centers available to resident of townships far smaller than Middletown. When elected leaders take your hard-earned money for taxes, you need to know that they will spend it wisely. The current regime has failed miserably, and I hope you will consider a vote for change.
Carol Fowler
Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee

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Filed under Arts Center, bonding debt, Brookdale Democratic Club, Carol Fowler, high taxes, letter to the editor, Middletown Township Committee, Senior Center, televised meetings

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 17- 8/15/11

This edition of It’s Your Town newsletter covers the Middletown Township Committee regular monthly business meeting that was held on Monday, August 15, 2011.

As is the norm lately, the meeting was rather short lasting about 35 minutes.

Committee members had little to say, Kevin Settembrino and Steve Massell just sat on the dais looking pretty with nothing to say, while Pam Brightbill, Gerry Scharfenberger and Tony Fiore spoke briefly.

Only 5 members of the public took the time to speak at this meeting but their questions,unfortunately, were left mostly unanswered.

Their questions ranged from why there was insufficient information in a $2.85M bond ordinance for tax appeals, that seems to have not appropriated $1M of the total, to what happened to grant money from the latest cable TV franchising contract that would have provided money to televise Township Committee meetings.

The newsletter also contains links to various proposed resolutions and ordinances.
Stay informed and read it all for yourself….Here

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Filed under bonding, grant money, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, televised meetings

>It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 26- 12/06/10

>Here is the latest edition of the It’s Your Town newsletter, which covers the Middletown Township Committee meeting of December 6, 2010. It was a very short meeting, but there was good discussion that took place regarding employee health insurance and retirement benefits.

There was also public input about televising these meetings as well as the presentation by Committeeman Sean Byrnes of a resolution to broadcast the meetings. This resolution should be on the agenda for the December 20th meeting, as requested by Mr. Byrnes.

Seeing that the December 20th Township Committee meeting will be the last one for Committeeman Byrnes as an elected official, it will be interesting to see if it is actually voted on.

Click >>> Here to read the newsletter

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, resolutions and ordinances, televised meetings, workshop meeting

>Video: Sean Byrnes discusses Transparency and Televising meetings

>Middletown Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes discusses transparency and the need to televise Township Committee meetings over the Township’s public access channels during the Byrnes and Mahoney Town Hall Meeting that took place on September 27,2010 in Middletown.

Since this video was taken Mayor Scharfenberger has stated that he would not be in favor of televising meetings to the public at any cost because he doesn’t see the value in it.

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Filed under Byrnes and Mahoney, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Democrats, Sean F. Byrnes, televised meetings, town hall meeting

>It’s Your Town Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 23 10/18/10

It’s Your Town newsletter Volume 2, Issue 23 is now available.

This edition of the newsletter chronicles the Middletown Township Committee meeting of Monday night October 18,2010.
The Oct.18th Committee meeting was the last regular meeting before the upcoming election(there will be a workshop meeting on Nov.1st). Discussions regarding shared services with the BOE, the dredging of Shadow Lake, televising Township meeting and the adoption of ordinances were just a few items worth reading about.
Read the newsletter >>> Here
As a companion to the newsletter, you can watch a few videos that I made last week from this meeting. The videos are about COAH, the dredging of Shadow Lake and televising meetings and can be scene by clicking on the hyper-links.

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Filed under COAH, Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, Shadow Lake, televised meetings

>There Will Be NO Televising Meetings While Scharfenberger Is In Office

>Middletown resident Carol Stiglin is a senior resident of Shadow Lake Village who has difficultly getting out at night. She addressed the Middletown Township Committee Monday night Oct.17th and addressed the issue of televising Township meeting so that Middletown residents such as herself could watch proceedings via the local cable access channels.

She presented a petition to the Committee that contained 124 signatures of support on it. Stiglin said that those signatures are in addition to the previous petition that she presented to the Township Committee last year.

At one point during the meeting Monday night(which isn’t captured on this video), mayor Gerry Scharfenberger stated that he didn’t care if the cost of televising meetings cost $102,000 or 102 cents, if it cost the township any money to do so, he wouldn’t support televising meetings!

So much for transparency and keeping citizens informed, I suppose it is better to robo call residents in the middle of the night to inform them of changing to the recycling ordinance than it would be to inform them via television.

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Filed under Carol Stiglin, Comcast, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Township Committee, Robo-calls, Shadow Lake Village, televised meetings, Verizon