Category Archives: Township Committee

>The Independent: Mid’town methadone clinic has neighbors up in arms Twp. attorney: Facility is permitted use in business zone

>I was a little surprised to see that the Independent has chimed in already on the methadone clinic in Middletown. Usually due to the nature of it’s weekly publication it lags behind a week or so of the currentness cycle.

I wont bore you with the analysis, the article is a straight forward rendition of the events of Monday night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting so I’ll just post a few quotes below from it and let you guys be the judge by leaving comments if you wish:

Middletown residents packed town hall on June 20 and demanded that the township revoke the certificate of occupancy (CO) of a methadone clinic, which has been legally operating near Apple Farm Road for several months.

The clinic, Middletown Medical, located on Route 35, which, according to its website, counsels opiate addicts and dispenses methadone to wean them off their dependence, has residents fearing for the integrity of their neighborhood.

“The location of the clinic jeopardizes our safety, the safety of our homes and most importantly, the safety of those who actively walk, run, drive or play in our neighborhood,” resident Diane Mullaney said at the Township Committee meeting.

Mullaney said that the clinic is near a school bus stop, senior center and the neighborhood’s only entrance and exit road. “Ultimately, the township neglected to keep the best interest of our neighborhood in their decision,” she said….

“The [state’s] municipal land use law … was amended a decade ago to specifically designate methadone clinics as business uses, allowing municipalities to only ban them from residential zones,” Township Attorney Brian Nelson advised.

Because the clinic is located on Route 35 in a business district, this law stifles any legal recourse from the township, Nelson said.

“Neither the mayor nor the governing body members were particularly pleased with this answer,” Nelson said.

“If you’re asking for us to pull the CO, which is what it sounds like you’re asking, we can’t legally do it,” Mayor Anthony Fiore said to residents.

“If you’re asking to put the township at risk for amajor lawsuit to do so, I don’t think that’s our fiduciary responsibility when we’re told by legal counsel that we won’t win.”…

“Nobody other than the zoning officer and code officials receive notice of these CO’s.”

Mercantante said that similar transfers happen every day.

“No member of this committee, including myself, had any knowledge that this facility was a methadone clinic,” Fiore said….

“I don’t want this business in Middletown, and I don’t think anyone else wants this business in Middletown. However, Route 35 is a state highway and it is a state business zone,” Fiore said.

“None of the committee is happy about this; in a best-case scenario, it’s terrible,” said Committeeman Steven Massell….

“We can control everything with respect to making sure that they are operating in a legal fashion and that they’re not going to cause those quality-of-life issues that you mention,” Fiore said.

“That’s our job. That’s our priority as a township committee, and we will do that.”…

Fiore said that the township also relies on the vigilance of neighborhood residents to help police.

“This is a huge township. You’re the eyes and ears, and if you see something there, we need to know about it,” he said.

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Filed under Brian Nelson, heroin, methadone clinic, Middletown Clinic, Middletown NJ, opiate addiction, the Independent, Tony Fiore, Tony Mercantante, Township Committee, treatment center

>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.

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

Gerry "The Tax Man" Scharfenberger; Middletown’s Tax Rate Up 41.9% Since Scharfenberger Elected In 2005

It is quite obvious that Gerry Scharfenberger has earned the title of “TAX MAN”, the numbers don’t lie.
Since Gerry Scharfenberger was first elected to the Middletown Township Committee in November of 2004, the municipal tax rate has skyrocketed upwards.
If the currently proposed Middletown Township budget for 2010 (this year), which contains a 13% tax increase, passes the muster of the Local Finance Board and is adopted as is, Middletown’s municipal tax rate will have risen a stunning 41.9% since 2005, the year that our wonderful, appointed mayor, Gerry Scharfenberger was first sworn into office.
The chart below tells the tale:

(Click on chart to enlarge)

It seems that things were going “pretty good” before Scharfenberger came onto the Committee.

The numbers represented on the chart are real numbers that came from township documents, they are verifiable and can be found with little effort if Googled.

Looking at the chart it is very plain to see that every year the amount of revenue generated by property taxes continues to rise and suggests that the Township Committee clearly has no plan to generate revenue by any other means other than through local property taxes.

It is too bad that our appointed Zoning and Planning Boards continue to allow the rezoning of commercial properties to residential.

Relying on the homeowners to balance the Township budget is only going to drive those living on the edge of affordability out of town. It seems that the average Middletown homeowner will need to make more than the $108K per year, as stated in Money Magazine, to continue to afford to live in this “Top 100 Places To Live” town.
The sooner residents realize that these types of out of control tax rate increases are unaffordable and unsustainable, and are the result of lack of leadership by RINO Gerry Scharfenberger and his current GOP majority which includes Pam Brightbill, Tony Fiore and Steve Massell, the sooner they will see the Township budget begin to stabilize, spending reduced and tax rates decline.

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Filed under Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, Money Magazine, tax chart, Tax Man, top 100 places to live, Township Committee

Middletown’s Budget Will Not Be Adopted Tonight As Planned

As part of tonight’s Middletown Township Committee meeting, it was planned for the budget that was introduced at the June 23rd introduction meeting to be adopted. Instead of adopting the budget however, it will be on the agenda once again as item for discussion.

The reason behind not adopting the budget tonight after 7 months and relying on yet another temporary budget appropriation to get the township through the month of August is simple. The Township was late in it’s application for approval to the State Local Finance Board, to exceed the 4% State mandated cap on it’s municipal budget.
The budget that was introduced to the public back on June 23rd called for an increase in the municipal tax rate of over 13% and will need approval from the Local Finance Board before being adopted. The hearing with the local finance board is not scheduled until August 11th.
It is be up to the Local Finance Board to accept or reject Middletown’s budget before it can be adopted by the Township. If it is rejected on the basis of being to excessive, then Middletown will need to go back to the drawing board and make further adjustments to it, which could lead to additional layoffs or service cuts in order to lower the propose +13% tax increase.

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Filed under budget introduction, Local finance board, Middletown, tax increase, Township Committee

Listen to Partisan Politics At It’s Best In Middletown

During the township work shop meeting held on April 6th, a resolution was presented for adoption that would condemn Governor Corzine’s budget proposals. The proposed resolution was written by and passed down to local municipalities by the State Republican Party in an effort to garner Republican support against Governor Corzine and his budget.

Democrats on the committee,Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes, took exception to some of the language in the resolution and wanted to rewrite in a way that would be more Middletown specific and not so broad and sweeping. Republicans on the committee, lead by Mayor Pam Brightbill and Deputy Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger thought that the resolution was not sweeping enough,wanted stronger language and refused to make any changes to it. At one point during the discussion, you will hear Mayor Brightbill telling Committeeman Short that he could just vote against the resolution he so chooses, basically tell him and Byrnes that their opinions did not matter, that the resolution would pass as is along partisan party lines.

Typically,this is how the Republicans in Middletown try to reach out to the other side of the aisle. To compromise when trying to issue legislation is unheard when it comes to matters of Trenton or other petty issues. The my way or the highway is the usual response, as pointed out by Brightbill and Fiore, two Republican members of the Middletown Township Committee. Many people have expressed this observation, even before there were members of the Democratic Party on the Committee.

Middletown committee discuss resolution against State budget

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Filed under budget resolution, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Jon Corzine, Middletown, Pamela Brightbill, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Tony"the fibber"Fiore, Township Committee, Trenton

Opening Salvo In Middletown Budget Battle Misses Mark

In an obvious attempt at one-upmanship Monday night February 2nd at the monthly workshop meeting, the Middletown Republicans fired the opening salvo in this years “Battle of the Budget”.

Towards the end of a long and tedious meeting, which ended at 11:30 pm, the newest member of the Township Committee, Republican Tony “the Fibber” Fiore, introduced his 8 point plan for controlling spending. Unfortunately for the residents of Middletown, the Fibber’s plan contains nothing new or bold. Democrats Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes have proposed seven out of the eight points outlined by Fiore before in one form or another.

Only the first of the Fibber’s proposals (listed below) is worth discussion, even though the impact to the budget of suspending the salaries of the Township Committee would be minimal and purely symbolic:

(1) Suspend the entire Township Committee’s salaries;
(2) Freeze all non-essential hiring not required by law;
(3) Freeze all union and non-union salaries;
(4) Evaluate all non-essential, non-revenue generating programs for elimination;
(5) Seek out additional shared service arrangements;
(6) Sell surplus township property and assets;
(7) Eliminate all non-essential Township subscriptions and dues payments; and
(8) Eliminate all conference and travel expenses unless required by law for continuing education requirements.”

For a team that promised “New Ideas”, to put “ Tax Payers First” and to “Cut Wasteful Spending and Lower Our Property Taxes”, Mayor Brightbill and Tony “the Fibber” Fiore have taken the ideas of their Democratic counterparts for themselves in order to make it seem as if the Republican majority on the Township Committee truly care and understand the current economic hard times the Township of Middletown faces.

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Filed under Budget Battle, Democrats, Middletown Republicans, Middletown Township, Pamela Brightbill, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Tony"the fibber"Fiore, Township Committee, workshop meeting

>Opening Salvo In Middletown Budget Battle Misses Mark

>

In an obvious attempt at one-upmanship Monday night February 2nd at the monthly workshop meeting, the Middletown Republicans fired the opening salvo in this years “Battle of the Budget”.

Towards the end of a long and tedious meeting, which ended at 11:30 pm, the newest member of the Township Committee, Republican Tony “the Fibber” Fiore, introduced his 8 point plan for controlling spending. Unfortunately for the residents of Middletown, the Fibber’s plan contains nothing new or bold. Democrats Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes have proposed seven out of the eight points outlined by Fiore before in one form or another.

Only the first of the Fibber’s proposals (listed below) is worth discussion, even though the impact to the budget of suspending the salaries of the Township Committee would be minimal and purely symbolic:

(1) Suspend the entire Township Committee’s salaries;
(2) Freeze all non-essential hiring not required by law;
(3) Freeze all union and non-union salaries;
(4) Evaluate all non-essential, non-revenue generating programs for elimination;
(5) Seek out additional shared service arrangements;
(6) Sell surplus township property and assets;
(7) Eliminate all non-essential Township subscriptions and dues payments; and
(8) Eliminate all conference and travel expenses unless required by law for continuing education requirements.”

For a team that promised “New Ideas”, to put “ Tax Payers First” and to “Cut Wasteful Spending and Lower Our Property Taxes”, Mayor Brightbill and Tony “the Fibber” Fiore have taken the ideas of their Democratic counterparts for themselves in order to make it seem as if the Republican majority on the Township Committee truly care and understand the current economic hard times the Township of Middletown faces.

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Filed under Budget Battle, Democrats, Middletown Republicans, Middletown Township, Pamela Brightbill, Patrick Short, Sean F. Byrnes, Tony"the fibber"Fiore, Township Committee, workshop meeting