Category Archives: Turf project

>The Issue of Artificial Turf Fields In Middletown Was Officially Put To Rest With Resolution 10-310

>Last night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting brought the official end to the artificial turf field issue. The committee voted 3-1 to approve Resolution 10-310, which authorized that the unused bonded money that was meant for the installation of two artificial turf fields at West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall, be used instead to pay down existing bond debt.

In the audio clip below Committeewoman Pam Brightbill discusses why she reluctantly voted to approve the resolution, after which you can hear why outgoing Committeeman Sean Byrnes voted against it.

The one curious thing about Resolution 10-310 is the fact that it is the only resolution that was discussed last night that has not made it’s way onto the Township’s website, for some reason it is missing. I am wondering if it has anything to due with the potential controversy that may surround it.

The controversy being that the original bond that was issued in 2006 which allocated funding for the turf fields specifically stated that these funds could not be used for any other purpose other than recreation, and with the nature of bond issues those funds cannot be used for the purpose offsetting operational budgets.

Using these bonded funds to pay off debt may not be legal,so until the resolution is made available to the public we’ll just have to wait to see how the Township intends to do this.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Croydon Hall, Middletown Township Committee, Pamela Brightbill, resolutions and ordinances, Sean F. Byrnes, Turf project, West Front Street

What Is Happening With The Bond For The Middletown Turf Fields?

On tonight’s agenda for the Middeltown Township Committee Workshop meeting there will be a discussion about capital improvement projects and existing bonds and what to do about them. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with the bonds the town is sitting on, namely the bond that was issued to fund the artificial turf projects for Croydon Hall and Trezza Field.

If we can all remember back to this past January when residents of Lincroft teamed up with members of the Pop Warner Chargers football organization when they found out that the long promised field restoration for Trezza Field (the home of the Chargers) was not going to happen, instead the funds for the turf project at Trezza Field was going to be diverted to West Front Street Park,caused so much trouble for Gerry Scharfenberger and Pam Brightbill earlier this year that they decided to cancel the turf projects all together in April.

The sudden decision to cancel the turf projects left everyone stunned at the time and questioning what was going to happen with the $2.6 million bond that was issued to fund the projects. The bond’s language as written was very specific, the funds couldn’t be used for anything else other than field restoration.

The following audio clip contains comments made by Middletown Attorney Brian Nelson, Middletown Township Town Administrator Tony Mercantante and mayor Gerry Scharfenberger during Workshop meetings on February 1st and March 1st,and seems to confirm that. The audio documents what the three men had been saying about the bonded money that was to be used for the construction of turf fields prior to the sudden announcement that the field project was going to be cancelled and the bonded funds returned.

Fast forward now to the last Township Committee meeting held on July 19th.

Lincroft resident and founding member of the citizens group SONIC (which opposed the turf project at West Front Street Park), Mary Mahoney, addressed the Township Committee about the unused Turf Bond that was to be used for artificial turf fields at Trezza Field, West Front Street Park and Croydon Hall. She wanted to know what was happening with the bonded money,

was there any plans to use it for anything else, how much of it had been spent and why wasn’t it retired as of yet to save the township interest payments on it.

She seemed to have taken the the Township Committee and those that make the decisions on such things by surprise. Listen to it below:

About 1:10 into her comments CFO Nick Trasente is heard saying that the bond funds could be used for other facilities, used to pay down debt or retired, which is contrary to earlier remarks made by Township Attorney Brian Nelson and Scharfenberger, who had stated at earlier meetings and can be heard above in the 1st audio clip, that the bond had to be retired if not used for turf fields and couldn’t be used for anything else.

So, what are Gerry and the boys planning on doing with the funds from this bond? It seems that they are trying to figure out a way to apply it to the budget in order to decrease 14% tax rate increase in this years municipal budget that has not been adopted yet.

If this is a concern to anyone then you should attend tonights meeting at Town Hall, it starts at 8pm. Get there early for a good seat.


Filed under artificial turf fields, Chargers, Gerry Scharfenberger, Lincroft, Mary Mahoney, Nick Trasente, Pop Warner, Sonic, Tony Mercantante, Trezza Field, Turf project, West Front Street

Letter: Why Are Turf Fields Top Priority During Worst Economic Times Since The Great Depression?

Politics has overcome any sense of good government in Middletown Township.This is an egregious miscarriage of politics masquerading as government in this community.

When economic conditions are ignored and artificial turf fields are the major priority of the township committee members, there is something radically wrong with those elected and hired to administrate in this township. Most families are endeavoring to keep jobs,keep their homes, and trying to keep food on their tables and pay their bills. Their prime concern is not whether their kids have artificial turf fields to run on for sports activities.

There are many residents and citizens in this community that can connect the dots in this scenario. Remember the vicious political rhetoric of the 2008,2009 campaigns for township committee and the 2009 freeholder race and the individuals responsible for those vicious accusations against the democratic candidates in those races…( the alleged petitions for recall of the board of education member were never circulated or filed). These names connected to all that vicious rhetoric are the same names that trace connection to the turf field company favored for the current endeavor to construct two turf fields in Middletown during the worst economic circumstances since the Great Depression.

These questions demands answers……Is this proposal for turf fields somehow payment of a political debt for that vicious ranting that commanded so much attention in the fall of 2008 and again in 2009? Is common sense or reason absent when this township cannot pay it’s financial obligations without emergency resolutions,refuses to consider a finance committee and choses turf fields over jobs.

This all reeks of political motivation and ineptitude.Smell the coffee residents of Middletown….it’s your tax dollar at work. You pay these bills!

These are not the times for this kind of ignorance from those who claim to govern.This suggests incompetence when one examines the priorities of those chosen to serve in this community!!

Barbara R.Thorpe

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Economic Crisis, Middletown, the Great Depression, Turf project

Middletown School Board Election – Anyone But Cody

Middletown School Board elections are today there are 7 candidates seeking 3 seats on the Board of Education. I don’t know much about the 7 candidates that are running other than 3 are incumbents seeking new terms on the BOE and 1 person that I would not even vote if he were running for dogcatcher. That person is James Cody. Why wouldn’t I vote for Cody? It’s simple; the man is nothing but trouble. 

James Cody is a life long resident of Middletown who likes to boast that he and his family all attended and graduated from the Middletown school system. He has said that he wants to see a change in the way tax dollars are spent. “I’m running for school board as I’ve been involved in the community for a number of years and I’ve seen a number of things that need to be changed,” Cody said. “Hopefully, if I get on the board, we can make some of those changes which I think the district needs.” 

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Cody wants a seat on the BOE so that he has a say in how tax dollars are spent, because he has been involved in the community for a number of years and so that he can be an agent for change. James Cody is rather noble, don’t you think?  He sounds a bit like Barack Obama, doesn’t he? 

The problem with all this however, is that Mr. Cody has been a polarizing individual throughout all the endeavors in which he has been involved in. You either love him or you totally despise him, there is no middle ground. The bottom line with this guy is that he is really just out for himself, regardless of what he wants you all to believe. 

The saga behind the football fields: Cody looking out for himself. 

 As one of the founding members of Middletown South’s “Touchdown Club”, James Cody, amongst other things was one of the driving forces behind the artificial turf football field that was installed at High School South.  

 Mr. Cody at the time worked as a consultant for I.C. Improvements, a company that specializes in the installation of artificial turf fields. Cody lobbied the BOE for months in order to convince them to have a turf field installed at the “swamp”, as the field was affectingly referred to, due to the poor conditions that the field would be left in after a rainstorm. The BOE eventually relented to Cody’s pressure and sought bids for the installation of a turf field at High School South. 

Cody and I.C. eventually won the contract to install the field by being the lowest bidder for the job. How low did they bid? Low enough to have cost overruns, at which time Cody had to go in front of the BOE to request more money to complete the job. The BOE turned Cody and I.C. down, saying that a contract was a contract and that by state law the BOE could not reimburse I.C. for the overruns. I.C. would have to finish the job for the contracted price. 

This burned Cody’s ass, but I.C. Improvements finished the job for the contracted amount, losing money in the process, with an eye toward the turf field that would be installed at High School North later on.  

When it the time came to install the turf field at High School North, Cody and Co. did not feel that they should have to bid on the job, they felt that because they finished the installation of South’s field on time, even though they lost money on it, that I.C. Improvements should be given the contract without bidding for it. The BOE, to its credit turned down Cody. The BOE let it be known to James Cody again that by state statute, the BOE was obligated to seek the lowest qualified bid on any and all work sought by the BOE. 

In July 2007, the contract for the project was awarded to I.C. Improvements, the company that completed the work on High School South’s main athletic field in 2004.

The bid later was voided after it was deemed that IC was not a responsible bidder because the bid was missing documentation. 

The contract to install the new turf field at High School North was awarded the lowest bidder, Mondo USA.

 Cody and I.C. Improvements then filed a lawsuit against the BOE looking to stop Mondo USA from gaining the contract. They argued that Mondo USA was not qualified to for the job because they had never installed a turf field before, North’s would be its first. James Cody lost his case against the BOE; Mondo USA was allowed to start the project. 

As a result of Cody’s lawsuit, the cost to the BOE was $20,000 in legal fees. 

Now we all know what happened next, Mondo USA didn’t have a clue when it came to installing North’s field and after 2 years and thousands of dollars later in litigation costs, the BOE dismissed Mondo USA from the project. 

In the mean time while all of this was going on, James Cody attended every BOE meeting to badger its members with “ I told you so” at every opportunity that was given. At one point the BOE offered Cody a chance to be a project consultant and to compensate him for his work but after all of his talk, he turned his back on the board. He was just happy grandstanding. 

Eventually, I.C. Improvements was finally awarded the contract to fix the field when they were the lowest bidder after the project was resubmitted for bidding by the BOE.  James Cody swooped in like a hero and rubbed it into the faces of the BOE members. North’s field was completed in time for last years Thanksgiving Day game. 

 It should be noted that the Middletown Board of Education is now in litigation against Mondo USA to recoup the $1 million that it paid Mondo and others for the work that was never finished on the field.  

Cody and the phony Recall Walsh petition

Another good reason not to support James Cody‘s candidacy for the Middletown Board of Education is last years phony recall petition against fellow BOE member Patricia Walsh. 

Patricia Walsh has been a stellar member of the BOE for the past dozen years; at one time she served as its president. Last year while she attempted to gain a seat on the township’s governing body, Cody decided that it was a good time to payback the BOE for all that he and IC Improvements went through to gain the contract on North’s field.  What better way to seek revenge and embarrass a member of the BOE than to head a recall effort against Walsh? 

James Cody, Anthony Testa, and Kathleen Bjelka (Cody’s sister), calling themselves the Committee to Recall, B. O. E. Member Pat Walsh, made a lot of noise by threatening to file a recall petition against Walsh. They issued press releases  that stated  absurd claims like she raised spending and taxes more than any official in Middletown history or that she was responsible for the botched turf field.  They had  plenty of help from the local GOP, who helped to fuel the attacks of Cody and friends to embarrass and slander her. 

In the end, James Cody and his Committee to Recall, B.O.E. Member Pat Walsh, never filed their petition. It was all an attempt to embarrass Pat Walsh and the Middletown Board of Education. 

So I ask you, is “big Jim” Cody really a person that should be sitting on the Board of Education? A man who lobbied the BOE to install artificial turf fields at our high schools in order to gain financially from the projects and when he was turned down for North’s field filed a lawsuit against the BOE that cost the tax payers $20,000.  Is the man that lead a phony recall effort against a sitting board member, in revenge for being turned down for a job on a turf field, have the integrity that is needed to be a member of that board? And if elected, could he serve along side the person that he slandered effectively? I think not. 

When I walk into the voting booth this afternoon, I will be remembering ABC, which is Anyone But Cody


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Filed under High School North, High School South, IC Improvements, James Cody, Middletown Board of Education, School Board elections, Turf project

Work is complete on turf field at Middletown High School North

According to the Asbury Park Press, the ongoing artificial turf field project at High School North is finally completed, offering the possibility that the Thanksgiving Day homecoming game could be played there — the first home game North would see in two seasons.

Board attorney Chris Parton said the board has not yet decided whether the Nov. 27 homecoming game would be played on the new field, but he anticipates the board will make a decision on that within the next few days, depending on the completion of the testing and walk-through.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown High School North, Thanksgiving, Turf project

Work is complete on turf field at Middletown High School North

According to the Asbury Park Press, the ongoing artificial turf field project at High School North is finally completed, offering the possibility that the Thanksgiving Day homecoming game could be played there — the first home game North would see in two seasons.

Board attorney Chris Parton said the board has not yet decided whether the Nov. 27 homecoming game would be played on the new field, but he anticipates the board will make a decision on that within the next few days, depending on the completion of the testing and walk-through.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Middletown High School North, Thanksgiving, Turf project

The Man Behind the Walsh Recall Petition

I wonder how many people out there realize that James Cody, the man behind the Walsh recall petition, is the same guy that installed the artifical turf at High School South and lost money on the project because he under bid the project, and who then felt that he shouldn’t have had to bid to install the field at High School North.

When he got around to making his initial opening bid to install the field at High School North, it was one of the highest bids recieved, so the B.O.E was obligated to accept the lower bid from Mondo/USA.

When Mondo/USA defalted on it’s contract, Cody again bid to high for the job but was reward the contract because the winning bidder had a problem with the paper work that was submitted.

Also, this is the same James Cody that ran for a seat on the Middletown Board of Ed. and LOST to Patricia Walsh.

It seems like a case of rotten eggs to me. I think some one should be looking at Mr. Cody a little closer. 

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Filed under James Cody, Midddletown Board of Education, Middletown High School North, Middletown South High School, Patricia Walsh, recall petition, Turf project