Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Middletown's Budget Introduction Was A Farce And Blatant Attempt to Mislead The Public

Last nights special meeting to introduce the FY 2010 municipal budget was, to put it mildly, a farce and a blatant attempt to mislead residents and those in attendance into believing that all was well.

Middletown's CFO Nick Trasente, presented a powerpoint slide show that did more to highlight how great Middletown's FY 2011 budget would be as apposed to how dire a situation the Township was in this year. The spin attempt was mind-boggling and for anyone that had actually read or saw the proposed budget it was mind-blowing!

Trasente tried hard to spin the numbers in a positive way, he presented slides that tried to explain what the budget wold do, what were the cost drivers behind it and items that would not be in the 2011 budget, but he neglected to add that many of these items were not going to be one shot budget increases like he was inferring. Somethings like the retro active pay increase of $1.4M for the police and the $1.8M payment to fulfill the town's pension obligations would be ongoing.

The biggest snow-job of the whole presentation was when Trasente presented the slide that introduced the proposed tax increase.

The Middletown tax rate will rise from 35 cent per $100 of assessed value to 39.85 cents, for an increase of 4.85 cents. This increase will mean that the average township home that is assessed at $437K will have their property tax increase by $211 a year. In order to make this increase seem palatable to residents, Trasente stated that the percentage increase in the overall tax bill for 2010 would only be 2.8%. It wasn't until Committeeman Sean Byrnes questioned Trasente that the true tax numbers came to light.

Byrnes asked for clarification on the 2.8% budget increase and whether or not this increase was reflective of only the municipal tax rate or did it include the County and school taxes as well, at which point Trasente sheepishly admitted that the rate included all three.

Byrnes then went on to state that the true municipal tax increase to residents was closer to 13% and pointed out that there was no reason to believe, despite Trasente's rosie picture of next years budget, that it would be any better.

Nick Trasente did mention however that as of this point the budget was not finalized, there still could be changes to seeing that the budget will not be officially adopted until mid July giving Committee members plenty of time to solicit ideas from the public and make further cuts like the elimination of Middletown day as an example.

If you want to read a different take on last nights meeting then you can read about it HERE. Kevin Penton of the Asbury Park Press was the first to have an article posted on he subject and while it lacks a few details about what went on, I have to give him kudos for seeing through the attempt at sugarcoating the budget presentation while attempting to present the facts.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Penton is positioning children and Middletown Day attendees as "victims" of the budget -- implying that they will be hurt by budget reductions. One could position this as: the entire Middletown community is the "victim" of years of poor budget planning by a Republican majority that has ignored sound recommendations to improve upon the budgeting process.

Fiore's emphasis, as well as Scharfenberger's, that there are factors that are beyond their control could imply and infer that they are not in control, incapable, of creating and implementing sound budget policy.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to anonymous 10:45 a,m,. The residents of Middletown must grasp the failure of what they have for government today. It doesn't even come close to responsible!!

It is a shameful bunch of unconscionable republican jokers.

We have been lied to and deceived repeatedly by these hypocrits and the four of them should be recalled for incompetence and not one of them accept fault for their actions. Always it's someone else fault.

Hey,Gerry,where's your pal the governor and all his supposed help?

You are full of hot air...or worse!

Anonymous said...

It is always frustrating to see that there is no real leadership from the majority on the township committee. They can never tell it like it is, convince the citizens that either extensive cuts or substantially higher taxes are needed. They are cowards. Yet the republican majority gets elected again and again.

I was also impressed with the Mayor implying that some of committeeman Byrnes may be illegal. Nice!

Middletown Mike said...

Byrnes is a lawyer and Scharfenberger is an archeologist who pretends to be a mayor, who would you think knows better at what is legal as opposed to illegal?

There is nothing about a finance committee or anything else Byrnes has suggested that is illegal.

If the County of Monmouth can form a finance committee that met for the first time in May than so can Middletown. The only reason as to why they chose not to is in order to control the dollars and who they go to.

Anonymous said...

Imports from Carteret,East Rutherford.Hoboken and wherever else out of town they can get individuals willing to march to Carton's drumbeat.

Fiore is an arrogant specimen and Scharfenberger only understands the dead not the living,Brightbill hasn't got a clue and Massell is mute.

God help us!!

enoughisenough said...

I wonder what happened to the $2.5 mil bond for the proposed turf fields that the mayor and co. were already to vote for until he flip flopped and declared it a "no brainer"? Did that money go down the Republican black hole again?
I don't know if its arrogance or sheer stupidity if the Republicans think the public will accept this budget. We voted down the school budget and their incumbents because we've had enough and we'll do the same this November.
People need to get a reality check or their heads examined if they would ever consider voting in a Repbulican again.

Anonymous said...

The unmitigated gaul of this administration's majority to try to push off blame on anyone but themselves. Is the result THE MAYOR'S PLAN BY OSMOSIS and excuses,excuses,excuses and higher taxes that was always his plan.

They have delivered a financial train wreck.

DUMP SCHARFEY !!!