MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger is putting out the call for more local officials to support proposed gubernatorial reforms that promise to give towns tools needed to control costs without sacrificing services.
Scharfenberger was the first mayor in Monmouth County to officially pledge his support for the governor’s tool kit of reforms. He was joined by other Monmouth County mayors following a meeting last week with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno about the 33-bill package of legislative reforms.
“For too long municipalities have been at the mercy of collective bargaining rules and civil service constraints that have pushed property taxes steadily higher,” said Scharfenberger. “The governor’s proposals will finally give mayors something that has been severely lacking in the past – the ability to control costs at the local level,” Scharfenberger added.
The Municipal Tool Kit is a key component of the governor’s legislative reform package. More than half of the proposed reforms are aimed at helping local governments manage their budgets more effectively by reforming collective bargaining, pensions and benefits, civil services and unfunded mandates, Scharfenberger said.
Scharfenberger, a member of the governor’s transition team and the state League of Municipalities Legislative Committee, has been a vocal opponent of unfunded state mandates. Unfunded state mandates are orders given to municipalities like Middletown by the state with no funding to pay for their implementation. Examples of unfunded mandates that affect Middletown range from state-ordered certification for township employees, to the construction of a truck wash at the Department of Public Works, to the construction of low-income housing as ordered by COAH.