Monday, April 05, 2010


A 12-Point Plan To Save Property Taxpayers From
Bearing Burden of New Jersey’s Economic Turmoil

MIDDLETOWN - As New Jersey’s financial crisis continues to take its toll on municipalities, Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger is proposing decisive action to address a significant projected shortfall in Middletown’s budget this fiscal year.

Steep cuts in state aid, a decline in Township revenues, spiraling health care costs, a wave of early retirements resulting from pension and benefit reforms, the continued application of unfunded mandates by the state, and extraordinary snow removal and roadway repair costs have combined to create the most difficult financial conditions the Township of Middletown has likely ever faced.

“It is clear that present financial conditions call for drastic action, requiring that everything be put on the table—including significant reductions in the Township’s workforce,” said Mayor Scharfenberger. “While the municipal portion of the budget only makes up approximately 20% of our property tax bills and we have already reduced the Township’s workforce by 15% through attrition, we simply cannot allow the burden on property taxpayers to grow any further in this economy.”

“We must take unprecedented steps to cut spending and reshape the way the Township operates,” continued Scharfenberger. “These proposals are difficult, yet essential if we are to survive these uncertain times. I feel the Township will emerge stronger for having taken these measures and remain on solid financial footing for the future.”

“We, however, need the state to provide us with additional tools that require statutory and regulatory changes, such as the elimination of COAH and civil service reforms,” concluded Scharfenberger.


1. Across the board 10-15% reduction in operations and expenditures by all departments, including immediate planning for reductions in workforce.

2. Outsource fire safety inspections through shared services agreement.

3. Outsource public assistance functions with County.

4. Immediately impose application of 1.5% contribution of total salary by all employees for health benefits coverage on top of pre-existing contributions upon effective date of recently signed reforms by Governor Christie.

5. Immediately impose application of cap on all unused sick and vacation day payouts upon retirement to $15,000 for positions not already subject to such caps upon effective date of recently signed reforms by Governor Christie.

6. Demand a 0% increase in salary for all employees for 2010.

7. Expedite sale or transfer of operations of Middletown Swim Club and other surplus properties via public auctions.

8. Account for all forfeited contributions in LOSAP program to cover 2010 contribution.

9. Impose 5 to 10 unpaid furlough days during summer months.

10. Require Township Administrator’s approval on all purchase orders in excess of $1,000.00.

11. Explore the transfer of all parks maintenance to Department of Public Works.

12. Suspend or eliminate all non-essential services, including the cancellation of all outstanding unused bonds authorized but for those for essential roadway resurfacing and reconstruction.


Anonymous said...

Thank God we have a Middletown Mayor who understands reality - public employees have had it great; now is the time to join the rest of us in shared sacrifice.

We, the taxpayers and residents, must also sacrifice something - our incessant demands for more and more government services. We just can't afford it any more.

How about reviewing how police protection is provided. What about a County Police Force, with satellite precincts locally. Those police salaries and perks are too costly to continue.

Anonymous said...

gotta love how, now that we're in a deficit-mess on every level, the officials all finally get off their duffs and try and "fix" years of excesses in a one-year flash:.. it's only gonna ultimately mean more people losing their homes, as the now-penalized workers bear a large portion of the sudden awakening of electeds' responsibilities!!

Anonymous said...

On Booard with controlling salaries but do not cut my services. I like my services and do not mind paying for them.
Thats why budgets should be put to a general vote every year. If more people agree with me we keep the services and you can move. If more people agree with me services get cut and I move to someplace where I get the services i want.

I don't live in middletown but I think it would be great to have a municipal swim club.

Where I live I pay 10 grand a year get great police protection , gsrbsger pick up greta schools, great recreastion program. ect.. ect...
For what I am paying it is a bargain. If I had to pay private contractors seperatly for ethe services I use it would cost me a lot more then I am paying now.
Local taxes are a lot better bargain then state and federa. My local taxes stay in MY community and do not get shipped someplace else.

I am in favor of lowering state and federal taxes but i am really sick of the whining about local taxes.

Anonymous said...

Scharfenberger has a three year reality gap. Byrnes and Short proposed selling real estate and other assests three years ago; we might have benefited by that kind of action and leadership by now. Fiore delivered a similar list last year and nothing came of it. It would have been nice for Gerry to have included projected savings with each of his proposals. I suspect that little, or none, of what he is proposing comes to pass. He probably is just trying to look good for his upcoming re-election campaign. He and the majority had an opportunity to save money this year and going forward by not reappointing the present crew to the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority. If Gerry and the committee majority had not sold cell tower leases for a one time infusion of $850,000, the town would have had a revenue stream of 92,000 for the last three years and for years to come. There is nothing innovative nor original here; at best just an faint echo of Christie.

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Anonymous said...

How about if Foire stops undermining the Mayor.

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Anonymous said...

You can say you want to dump all of the Middletown Republicans you want but wait until the town gets a load of Byrnes new running mate this year. Every year the Middletown Democrats raise the bar in finding unqualified candidates.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it over four years since Brightbill was first elected and she still has NO CLUE . Marches to Gerry's drumbeat and if she can think for herself....never has happened in the public eye.

And you complain about the Democrats....

The battle cry of late:


Anonymous said...

The battle cry this year will sound a little like "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, where did that Sean Byrnes go? When you lose by 7,000 votes like Pat Walsh you will know".

Anonymous said...

Scharfey and Co. hasn't made a decisive decision in years. Is that what you call qualification for office ?

This primary contest in June should certainly draw attention to the discontent among the GOP in this town.

The current majority currently serving in this town........
is all about pleasing the "shadows" in the wings!! Now that status quo is being challanged. HOORAY!!!!! HURRAH !!!