I picked up the June issue of Middletown Matters. I did this for one reason: To read Mayor Gerard Scarfenberger’s “message.”
I just put it down and am utterly disgusted. I can only imagine how discomforting this is to residents who know what actually goes on behind Middletown doors.
Firstly, the mayor addresses the “adoption” of the 2008 municipal budget. Um, hello Gerry, you have to vote on that tonight at 8 p.m. in Town Hall. Are you kidding me? So assumptive, it makes me want to puke. Yes, the ridiculous budget will probably get passed because of the Township Committee’s Republican majority (gag), but that is certainly nothing to be proud of.
I was also greatly disturbed by the manner in which the mayor depicts taxes. He makes it seem as if residents “merely” contribute some hundred dollars to the township, while the rest of their tax money goes to other locations. Yes, that is the process — The municipal budget is only a portion of a resident’s tax bill. But in no way does that make deceitful spending, wasted money and fiscal gluttony OK. Don’t make excuses, mayor.
Scharfenberger also bashes Trenton, as usual. Laughably, he notes how Middletown’s budget “process,” if that’s what he wants to call GOP-controlled spending, is lauded and used as a state model. And he thinks spending is poor in Trenton now?? WONDER WHY, if they’re using models like Middletown. I’m scared for my state, and if I lived in Middletown . . . I’d be scared out of my mind.
He also voices displeasure with unfunded state mandates, such as a “truck wash.”
“Thus our ‘reward’ for operating the town in cost-efficient, fiscally conservative manner is to have the small return on all of the money we send to Trenton cut even further,” Scharfenberger writes. I’m not even going there. EVERY municipality had cuts in state aid. I don’t know why the mayor is so worried anyway, Middletown will just bond what it can’t fund, thus leaving a legacy of decades of debt.
Mm, but I think my favorite part of this message was when Scharfenberger said there was a budget hearing during which the mayor, the deputy mayor and township administrator heard from department heads where cuts were made. WOW, not like there are three other people on the Middletown Township Committee or anything. Not to mention a chief financial officer attended that hearing. And an attorney. And a clerk.
Oh, and a great majority of the public. Guess they don’t “matter” all that much, huh?
I feel sorry for any resident who takes this message as it is intended: genuinely. There is nothing true or genuine about it. It’s the perfect example of certain elected officials feeding the public what they want it to know.
All in all, I should have expected this b/s. We are talking about Middletown, after all.
The vote on the 2008 municipal budget will take place tonight at 8 p.m. in Town Hall. Contrary to the mayor’s apparent intentions, the public is invited.