Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger told a neighborhood meeting at the Middletown Arts Center that the township is losing $1.3 million in state funding and that the budget outlook is worse than imagined, according to a report on RedBankGreen.
Scharfenberger asked the residents to stay informed and to offer ideas to raise revenues and reduce costs in the $62 million budget.
MMM has a large Middletown readership. A township committee member or 5 are known to stop by from time to time. Feel free to make non-snarking recommendations in the comments.
Middletown is the best managed large municipality in New Jersey. It has an opportunity in this budget cycle to set an example to all towns throughout the state who are all facing declines in revenue. Throughout NJ, even in the well managed towns, we have more government that we can afford.
Scharfenberger said that a tax increase and layoffs would be a last resort. I ask him to to take a tax increase off the table. Negotiate contract give backs to avoid layoffs if possible. Privatize services for savings where possible...there are a lot of Middletown area landscapers looking for work...some of whom are already on the township payroll in other functions and maintaining properties on the side.
Consult with smaller towns who have been living without state funding for years to see what cuts they have implemented.
A 5% across the board cut is over $3 million in savings. It won't be pretty. It will be UG-LY, but find a way to get in done without raising taxes.