I am not much for defending politicians, but I cannot stand idly by and allow the likes of Sean Byrnes and the local Democratic organization, who themselves are nothing more than the local branch of the tax and spend Obama – Pelosi – Corzine team, characterize Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger and his fellow committee members as the culprit for big tax increases.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Mayor and his team should be commended for their successful efforts to control taxes in the worst economic times since the Great Depression of the thirties.
Let’s set the record straight – with hard facts.
Bear in mind, when you see your tax bill, only 23% of your taxes are controlled by the Township Committee, with 62% going to the Board of Education and 15% to the county.
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Faced with a loss of $10 million in revenue and millions in increased expenses mandated by the state or contracts, Mayor Scharfenberger and the committee majority took strong, courageous steps to keep these revenue losses and expenses from becoming a perfect storm to our taxpayers. And they were successful.
The budget reflects a reduction of 40 staff positions, a salary freeze and dramatic reductions in expenses – with a bottom line increase of only 2.67% in the worst economic year in memory.
So, for the average township home valued at $435,000 this year’s tax increase amounts to approximately $17 per month, or about 57 cents per day.
As a taxpayer, I commend Mayor Scharfenberger and his colleagues for putting the people of Middletown first.