During Committee comments at last nights township committee meeting in Middletown, Democrat Sean Byrnes once again implored the Township Committee to establish a "budget finance committee".
The Finance Committee's purpose would be to oversee the budget process and look for potential cost saving within the budget. The committee would begin to look at the townships revenue streams from the moment that the new fiscal year starts on January 1st, not the day after election day. In this way the township can begin to identify possible saving early in the budget year and have a budget ready by the following January, not 5 1/2 months past.After Byrnes finished his opening statement, Patrick Short backed him up by stating that at the next workshop meeting he will re-introduce Byrnes's ordinance to form a finance committee.
Because of this lack of financial planning Middletown has needed to rely on temporary budget resolutions to keep the township operating, so far almost 50% of the current fiscal year budget for 2009 has been spent without any cost saving measures. This type of budgeting by the GOP majority can not go because it has lead to the need to have proposed budget tax increases of 25% over the past 4 years.
Here is Sean Byrnes's opening comments from last nights meeting as it pertains to the Finance Committee:
Short's announcement flabbergasted Deputy Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, as the senior member of the township committee and leading member of the GOP majority, Scharfenberger needed to state his opposition to the a finance committee.
Gerry feels that he and the other members of the majority do a great job overseeing the budget process by allowing their department heads to dictate to the committee, their needs as opposed to the other way around. Again I will point out that he and his GOP buddies have done such a great job at handling the budget process, that Middletown finds itself lacking $2.4 million and looking at a 9.2% tax increase to come up with the funds. Also to be noted is the fact that because of a one shot budget gimmick last year (selling the township's cell tower leases), we are left with an almost identical budget shortfall this year as last.
Listen to what Gerry had to say about the Finance Committee:
After Mayor Pam Brightbill made her usual incoherent opening statements the meeting was opened up for public comments. A few residents addressed the issue of the finance committee and thought it was a good idea.
Locust resident Jim Grenafege, who is no stranger at township meetings, blasted Gerry Scharfenberger for his arrogance and his lack of experience on budgeting matters outside of the township:
Mr. Grenafege was right on target, so much so that the Mayor had to cut him off by telling him he was out of speaking time.
It is really a shame that most residents do not see how members of GOP majority,their elected officials, behave and treat citizens who disagree or question their authority.
Hopefully these audio clips from last nights meeting will help them to understand who are the real tax and spenders in town.