AREA OFFICIALS ZAP JCP&L OVER STORM FIXES

Howell Mayor Robert Walsh addresses attendees at Monday’s ‘Snow Summit’ to discuss JCP&L’s response to Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Confusion, anger and frustration, tinged by a bit of hope, permeated the Tinton Falls Municipal Building early Monday afternoon at the third annual ‘Snow Summit’ called to address the region’s relationship with JCP&L and how to improve it.

Co-hosted by Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera and Middletown Mayor Anthony Fiore, the meeting was attended by mayors from across Monmouth County, freeholders, state legislators, as well as members of the media and public. Few were impressed by the electric utility’s handling

“If they gave a damn, they would have already done something about” their outreach to localities following catastrophes, Mayor Adam Schneider of Long Branch said of company officials. Read More »

FIORE IN AS NEW MIDDLETOWN MAYOR

Newly-elected Mayor Anthony Fiore delivers his first address at Middletown’s reorganization meeting Sunday.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown’s mayoral hot seat now belongs to Anthony Fiore, who suggests that he’s ready to be unpopular.

Fiore, a Republican now in the third year of his first elected term to the township committee, succeeds two-time mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, who was sworn in as a committeeman at Sunday’s annual reorganization meeting.

In a steamy, overflowing meeting room, and bookended on the dais by his predecessor, Scharfenberger, and newcomer Kevin Settembrino, Fiore admitted that 2011 isn’t going to be easy.

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BUDGET STILL MIDDLETOWN’S HOT TOPIC

byrnes-fingerSean Byrnes prodded his fellow committee members to reassess its budget planning process Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that Middletown has a budget in place, tax bills are starting to arrive in mailboxes.

As is customary, there’s some literature along with the bills to explain how the taxes for the year break down. But this year’s fact sheet is rubbing some people the wrong way, including the committee’s lone Democrat, who says, well, it really isn’t all that factual.

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FRUSTRATION SURROUNDS M’TOWN BUDGET

mtown-trioThree of the five Middletown committee members Tuesday night at town hall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After months of delays and near misses, Middletown officials finally passed a budget for 2010 Tuesday night that will result in an increase to property taxes.

Talk of the difficult budget season for 2011 began immediately afterward.

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POLITICAL “SOUNDBITES” FROM MIDDLETOWN

fiore-byrnesDeputy Mayor Anthony Fiore, left, and Committeeman Sean Byrnes talk before Monday night’s meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The finale to each Middletown committee meeting the last couple months has, by Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore’s account, become a forum for politicking and an opportunity to make for great soundbites.

Terms like “consolidation,” “planning” and “committees” tend to top the list of buzzwords, he said.

Monday night didn’t disappoint, when discussion related to a resolution to remove school spending from property tax bills widened a political divide among the committee, particularly between Fiore and his Democrat counterpart Sean Byrnes.

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M’TOWN SWIM CLUB MAY GET OVERHAUL

mtown-pool-080310Township officials are considering options for the aging Middletown Swim & Tennis Club. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Dropping revenues and increasing maintenance needs, combined with local budget woes, have Middletown officials seriously considering making a splash with its swim club.

The question is this: will it be a cannonball or a doggy paddle that the township committee decides upon?

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M’TOWNERS STILL STEAMING OVER BUDGET

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Getting a budget in place is going to have to wait another month in Middletown.

A pending review of the 2010 spending plan at the state level pushed back the adoption date to mid-August. Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said the Local Finance Board, which reviews municipal budgets for compliance with state laws and regulations, is backlogged, and Middletown is set to have its done by August 11.

Meantime, the township committee held a public hearing on the $65 million proposal, which would increase average tax bills by $211 annually.

As usual of late, the governing body took a beating from the public.

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