Friday, December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018 " Special Meeting" Of The Middletown Township Committee: New Town Hall Complex To Cost Upwards Of $100 Million

I was at last night's special meeting of the Middletown Township Committee to hear the introduction of the new Town Hall Municipal Complex. I was interested in hearing how much it will cost us taxpayers.

The township entered into a public /private P3 agreement with a developer called Brandywine Acquisitions & Development . Brandywine will front upwards of $56.7M to build a new 72'000 sqft Municipal Complex. Brandywine will then recoup its investment by leasing the new complex back to the Township for $3.6M a year for 30 years. At the end of the 30 year lease Middletown can buy back the property from Brandywine for $1.

Sounds like a great deal until you try to work out the fuzzy math.

The Township can build a new municipal complex on its own for ~$60M (or less) but appears to prefer to pay Brandywine $108M in lease payments over the life of the 30 year lease just so the town doesn't have to payout any upfront costs. When the documents become available they must be looked at closely to see the structure of the payments. In the meantime, Middletown plans on signing the development deal within the next 10 days.

The Asbury Park Press has an article online this morning concerning the project. It pretty much confirms what I posted last night to my Facebook page.

December 3, 2018 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

This past Monday night the Middletown Township Committee got together for it's monthly Workshop meeting. It was a typical December workshop meaning very little was discussed, however, an ordinance was adopted that will provide death benefits for EMS volunteers and another ordinance was adopted that would exempt veterans that are 100% disabled from paying property taxes.

Most of the runtime of the video below can be attributed to Public Comments, which I recommend watching. It's always good to hear what's on the minds of residents that motivates them to attend a Township Committee meeting. Comments being a little after the 25 minute timestamp on the video.

As always you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Special Meeting To Introduce New Town Hall Municipal Complex December 6th

When members of the Middletown Township Committee are afraid of presenting something to the public during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, they do so via Special Meeting to limit attendance and potential controversy. This meeting should not be missed.

Happy Hanukkah 2018

3 Blessings of Hanukkah

1. Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who made us holy through Your commandments
and commanded us
to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

2. Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors
in those ancient days
at this season.

3. (First Night Only): Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, 
Who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Deep Thoughts

"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls"
- Joseph Campbell

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Why Won't Middletown Tell Us? Why The Mystery Over The Cost Of The New Municipal Complex?

Nearly 5 weeks ago, I posted here that the cost of Middletown's new municipal complex under development had ballooned from the original estimate of $20 million dollars to $54 million.  The new municipal complex was supposed to be discussed at the September 17th meeting of the Township Committee but was pulled from the agenda due to budget concerns from what I was told.  At the time however, township officials scoffed at the figure but wouldn't answer as to whether or not what I wrote was true. Since that time, the Asbury Park Press has written two articles on the subject, the most recent of which appears in print this morning, "Middletown complex cost is a mystery", and it appears that township officials still aren't willing to discuss the cost of the new complex. Why the mystery?

The Asbury Park Press submitted several OPRA requests to the township looking for information on the project only to have those requests denied.  In the Township's response for information, the Asbury Park Press was told that the plans for the complex will be discussed at the Nov. 19th Township Committee meeting (which happens to be conveniently after this Tuesday's election).

Here's my take on the situation, the story in the Asbury Park Press about the how much the new municipal complex will cost is noteworthy on a number of fronts:

First, by denying of the OPRA request, Middletown won’t release to the Asbury Park Press documents that show how taxpayer money will be spent but under an anonymous OPRA request, the township released privacy protected emails to a requester, who appears to have been an appointed committeeman seeking 1st time election to the Township Committee, who and used those emails to send an inflammatory and deceptive, factually inaccurate email using the list which was obtained from the township, Tony Perry.

Second, the Mayor won’t release any information about the  project until after the election. Withholding of information like this is typical for this Township Committee.

And finally, because information about the revised costs of the new municipal complex won’t be released until after the November 6th election, I am convinced that the new price tag of $54 million, which is more than $30 million over what was originally told to us, is correct.

 So much for “taxpayers first.”.  How can anyone trust anything this group of township officials say or do?  I sure can't and neither can a lot of others.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Perry, Snell & Hibell Plan We Just Can't Afford

Middletown is being sold out from under us to builders and special interests. We can afford to elect these guys, the cost will be too high.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pallone Touts Opioid Legislation As It Becomes Law

October 24, 2018

New Law Includes Provisions Sponsored or Pushed by Pallone

Long Branch, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) touted H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act as it was signed into law today by President Trump. Pallone, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was one of the lead negotiators on the final bipartisan bill that overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate earlier this fall.

“The opioid package being signed into law today makes important, incremental changes to support those affected by the opioid crisis,” Pallone said. “I’m particularly proud of several Democratic-led provisions that will expand access to treatment for those suffering from opioid use disorders. Specifically, the new law will expand access to medication-assisted treatment, one of the major challenges that we continue to face in the fight against this epidemic, and it will improve coverage under Medicare and Medicaid. The law also includes strong, new enforcement tools that will allow the Food and Drug Administration to combat illicit drug importation. All of these provisions make a real difference in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

Monmouth and Ocean Counties are among the highest 5 counties in New Jersey with substance abuse treatment admissions. In 2016, there were 1409 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in New Jersey. Heroin-related deaths rose from 97 deaths in 2010 to 850 deaths in 2016. In New Jersey, more than 184,000 individuals have been admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities for heroin or opioid abuse since 2010 and more than 5,000 have died from heroin-related deaths since 2004.

The final bill also includes two provisions authored by Pallone. The New Jersey congressman co-authored a provision that expands Medicare coverage of Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Currently, OTPs are not recognized as Medicare providers, meaning that beneficiaries receiving MAT at OTPs for their opioid use disorders must pay out-of-pocket. In 13 states, the highest rate of opioid-related inpatient hospital stays is among individuals over the age of 65. Under H.R. 6, Medicare will pay OTPs through bundled payments made for holistic services, including necessary medications, counseling, and testing.

Pallone also authored a provision known as the SCREEN Act, which will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the ability to take action against illicit controlled substances coming in through International Mail Facilities across the country. FDA will now be able to prohibit the importation of drugs by people who have repeatedly imported illicit drugs. It also allows the agency to cease distribution of or recall controlled substances, like opioids, if they are endangering patients.

The bill will expand the type of providers who can treat patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD). Currently, only physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can use buprenorphine (one of the drugs used in MAT) to treat patients with OUD. H.R. 6 would expand access to MAT by authorizing clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists to treat patients with OUD with buprenorphine for five years.

While Pallone is pleased with this opioid legislation, he remains concerned by efforts by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to undermine our nation’s health care system, which will directly impact people suffering from opioid use disorders.

“Despite touting this new law today, President Trump and Congressional Republicans continue to threaten to undermine the health care that Americans rely on for opioid treatment,” Pallone continued. “It is disingenuous at best to promise relief to people struggling with opioid addiction while also attempting to cut funding for Medicaid and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which include opioid use disorder. Rather than cutting funding for those seeking treatment and allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people struggling with addiction, we should be focused on protecting people’s access to health care and making sure they can get treatment.

“While this opioid package builds on our prior work to respond to the opioid crisis, we cannot forget the tremendous harm Republican policies would inflict on the same people this package seeks to help,” Pallone concluded.