Delayed budget? Political bedlam? Check a box

Last night was the shortest Middletown meeting I have ever attended – Just about an hour.

There were many items of interest (at least to me) on the agenda, including the 2nd public hearing on the 2008 municipal budget.

It was actually disappointing to see that no one had any additional budget comments, both public and committee and included.

It was also disappointing to hear the committee speak so unsettlingly of COAH, the Council On Affordable Housing.

Bill A500 passed in the New Jersey Assembly yesterday. The bill, sponsored by Speaker Joseph Roberts, would abolish Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs), among other things.

The committee passed some absurd resolution “urging that the governor and state legislators oppose affordable housing bills A500 and S1783 as creating further property taxes.”

I’ve read a copy of the bill several times and attended the assembly session during which the bill was passed. The notion that property taxes are going to increase is entirely a Republican-backed atrocity.

Several legislators – from both parties – commented on the bill. It’s so clear to me why New Jersey politics is the way it is. Also why Middletown likes to put on a circus as its town meeting rather than actually get anything done.

I was deeply disappointed in ALL Middletown officials last night for not taking a stand. It’s no secret Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill oppose the housing act all together. Last night, Committeeman Sean Byrnes expressed displeasure about a builder’s remedy suit Middletown had/is having with Lakewood, regarding RCAs.

The entire situation is really just a mess. And the Middletown Committee will never accomplish anything with COAH because no one can agree.

Rather, the Republicans will plow over the Democrats because the D’s haven’t taken a strong stand on the issue. If they have, no one knows about it, considering they haven’t spoken up on it during recent public meetings – when the issue is coming to a head statewide.

I approached Committeeman Patrick Short after the meeting and asked him how he felt about the resolution, considering the bill really states NOTHING about increasing property taxes. (Why would anyone pass a bill like that during an economic recession? Just curious).

You know what he said to me? He said he would rather not comment until the bill has been discussed in the State Senate.

Short also asked me if I was enjoying my summer.

Well, actually, Mr. Short, NO. I’m not. I don’t like attending meetings during which political mayhem runs rampant and no one gets anything done; meanwhile, committee members are staring up at the ceiling probably wondering what they’re going to eat when they get home. (Just take one guess.)

It’s not fun to see so much hard work done at the state level go unrecognized because the committee’s minority is afraid of being bullied around by the political majority. I also find it ironic that the committee can magically pass such an absurd resolution where it took . . . Hmm, maybe a month or more? . . . to even agree on the wording of a resolution regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.

The resolution really has no political business even being considered. Disgraceful. READ THE BILL, do your RESEARCH. Thousands of other elected officials do it. I don’t understand why Middletown absolutely refuses to face FACTS.

I know I’m young, and I know I’m always wrong. But I was taught that nothing gets done when you sit back, shut your mouth and let others do the talking for you.

After sitting through that “session” last night, I would assume that the entire committee is against Bill A500 and that they really don’t have much to say about the 2008 budget, which will be adopted in almost JULY.

Actions speak louder than words. It’s really a shame.


Filed under 2008 Municipal Budget, Bill A500, COAH, Committee Meeting, FEMA, Middletown, RCAs

2 responses to “Delayed budget? Political bedlam? Check a box

  1. Joe Wedick

    It’s really about the next election. Unfortunately to say that you are for affordable housing is akin to saying to many that you support lower income residents to move in next door to any resident, anyplace within the town.
    Once said, how do you then ask people who currently live there and vote, to vote for you or your party and a position that many of the voters see as a threat to property values, safety, increase school taxes, etc?
    It may not be the right stance to take, but that’s why Short sat silent and then asked about your summer. He is thinking about November.

  2. monk

    I couldn’t agree more, Melissa, re RCAs. They are morally indefensible & should be abolished. We can only hope the Senate does the right thing. The reason the Middletown Democrats won’t take a stand is that too many voters oppose COAH.


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