Last Monday, before the regularly scheduled workshop meeting of the Township Committee, Middletown released it's proposed budget for the 2016. The proposed $70.3M budget for this year reflects a tax rate that is relatively flat from last year but will cost the typical homeowner about $32 more this year.
There is a bit of controversy with the budget as to what the cost drivers are behind it. It seems that the township is significantly increasing it's work force this year by adding 42 full-time employees and 18 part-time employees if you compare the online 2015 User Friendly Budget document with the 2016 User Friendly Budget document
This fact was vehemently denied by Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore on Facebook when it was pointed out by Russ Zimmer, the reporter for the Asbury Park Press. Tony said that he would get the real number and pass it along. Unfortunately, Tony must have forgotten because he never got back with the correct numbers. So until "real" number are given I have to believe that the online documents are correct.
Here are some budget highlights from the Asbury Park Press:
- $1 million in new capital costs is being earmarked for a new town hall.
- The town anticipates having 108 police officers, or 10 more full-time officers than last year, at a total cost of $18.2 million, an increase of 10 percent from the 2015 budget.
- Township revenues from charges like court fees and parking permits is expected to be off by about $1 million from 2015, or about a 7-percent drop.
- Middletown will also be losing $129,000 in income because Trinity Hall, a private school that had been paying $20,000 a month to rent Croydon Hall, is leaving in June 2016.
Video courtesy of the Asbury Park Press
After the Asbury Park Press posted a link to their budget article on Facebook, the post received a lot of comments online, none that were very flattering, most rather critical you can read the Facebook comment (including some of mine) Here.