By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The budget ax has made its first swing through Middletown, claiming 16 employees last week as township officials continue to struggle with a plunge in revenues and a continual rise in expenses.
Layoff notices were sent out to 38 township employees earlier this year, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said, as a result of a cut in state aid and purse-punishing weather that put the town nearly $1 million over budget, among other things.
Many of those employees either quit, retired, or were reassigned after receiving the notices. Sixteen people, however, involuntarily ended their employment with Middletown on Friday.
The layoffs are the first round this year, Scharfenberger said, though he doesn’t anticipate more.