The question was answered by Township Administrator Tony Mercantante and the goon that acts as Township Attorney Brian Neslon. They answered that Middletown had no intention whatsoever in exceed the 2% cap and even if they did there was no mechanism in place that they knew of, that would guide them towards how a special budget referendum would be putting place or carried out.
Mercantante stated something to the fact that, like most of what the law makers in Trenton do, they passed a provision with no guidance on how to carry it out or how to finance it. Mercantante and Nelson were both adamant that Middletown was not going to spend one dime to carry out a special election just so that voters can approve or disapprove a proposed budget, without funding from the State.
Fast forward now to Wednesday when it was reported in the Asbury Park Press that Township of Brick is planning to hold a special budget referendum to exceed the State mandated 2% cap. At stake are the jobs 172 employees that would include 29 police officers and 117 members o the public works department.
Now the article didn't mention when or how the special budget question was going to happen, but it is a good bet that the question will be posted on the ballot of the next set of elections coming up, which would be the school board election in April.
Contrary to popular beliefs in Middletown, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out. I believe this is why Governor Christie and those in the State Legislature have told municipal leaders that their budgets need to be submitted to the State by mid March, so if there is a need for a special referendum it could be without the need for a special election or any extra costs associated with it.
It would just be nice to get a straight answer out of people that represent Middletown for a change, without it being turned into a big political name calling game.
So can someone from Mercantante's office call down to Brick and ask someone in the Mayor's office down there, the details on how a special election would work to exceed the budget cap if ever needed?