Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smack Down in Matawan

In an unprecedented, orchestrated move, the Dems refused to vote on "Privilege of the Floor" at last night's meeting, denying residents their right to comment or ask questions. Typical of the "I don't care what the residents want" attitude of the Democratic majority. However, they all did vote to adjourn the meeting. We all know the mastermind of this "smack in the face" to the residents of Matawan. Just as they were all late to a previous meeting without explanation to the rest of the Council and residents, they gave no explanation for their actions. In case you don't get it....they don't think they have to respect the residents....they have control....as they have often said. What could their reason be? Someone had to walk the dog, kids needed help with the homework, had to go to work, forgot to lock their homes before they came to the meeting. This action caused the residents to question the real reason. Nothing new to the people who attend regularly. All this political posturing is getting old very fast. Now that we have gotten that out of the way here are some highlights from the meeting...a reminder, these are the observations and comments of the Matawan Advocate. As it is a free country, you can agree or disagree.

We all know Matawan is in financial crisis, excluding the majority Democrats on Council. They continually vote to spend money knowing full well of the increase in property taxes. Isn't it enough that the School tax is so high....guess they want the Borough taxes to be as high as the school taxes. Partly due to poor management by the previous Democratic Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Meghan Mullaney, last year's Budget was not prepared for the expenditures of last year and had to borrow from 2008 Budget in 2007. We realize we are beating this issue to death, but think it needs repeating.

Budget Hearing was rescheduled to May 6th. However, Mayor Buccellato told residents they could speak during the "Privilege of the Floor." The Mayor also apologized to the residents for having to reschedule the Budget Hearing stating why it was done. How refreshing....an explanation. Councilman Cannon was absent as well as Fred Carr, Borough Administrator. The Mayor answered questions regarding the Budget to the best of his ability. We are sure Councilman Cannon will be present at the Budget Hearing and will be in a better position to justify the increase.

Privilege of the Floor - 1st and only one - Former Councilwoman Donna Gould spoke and asked, based on facts, why the Democratic Majority voted to oust Pat Menna, Esq., as Borough Attorney. She reminded the Dems that they had praised him and mentioned his original quote was the lowest one of all the Legal candidates. As we recall a discussion at a previous Council meeting, Councilman Cannon spoke with the Attorney, we believe to be Ansell, Zaro, Grimm, et al., and asked them to lower their prices to meet Mr. Menna's quote after the fact. Isn't this illegal? Is Matawan going to get one of the Partners with Mr. Menna's Borough experience? We think NOT. Ms. Gould went on to recite Mr. Menna's impressive qualifications.

Lo and Behold...guess who had a disagreement with Mr. Menna...you guessed it Vic Scudiery, the Monmouth County Democratic Party Chairman. Would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that argument! Little by little Scudiery is infiltrating Matawan through the Matawan Democrats who obviously have to "pay back" his support at election time. Makes you wonder what will they have to promise in the next election to get Scudiery's and the Monmouth County Democratic Party's financial and otherwise help for Councilman Malley's re-election and Councilman Bunyon's election.

Ms. Gould our thanks for researching Mr. Menna's credentials. You have been missed at Council meetings.

Former Councilwoman Esther Rinear, a long time Matawan resident and current member of the Planning & Zoning Board spoke to the Council asking them to put politics aside and keep the best interests of Matawan first.

Former Councilman Neil Mendelsohn also spoke and questioned the Democrats dismissal of Pat Menna, Esq.

Mr. White, a resident of Matawan and a former volunteer fireman stated he agreed with the choice of the Democratic majority on the dismissal of Mr. Menna. He cited a lawsuit where Mr. White was involved and requested information as to the cost to the Borough for the lawsuit. He was informed the information was not readily available and would be forthcoming. Mr. White had spoke at previous Council meetings last year and due to confidentiality was not allowed to discuss his situation with the public, nor could the Council respond.

Jim Shea, resident of Matawan, member of the Planning & Zoning Board asked the Council to vote for the M.O.M. line and vote no to Resolution 08-03-27 requesting the Rejection of NJ Transit's Proposed Rail Extension. The Council voted yes with only Councilman Mullaney voting no in support of the M.O.M. line. Interesting note, Matawan was the last municipality to reject the M.O.M. line.

Richard Silvers, a resident of Aberdeen, born in Matawan, gave a presentation called "Fixing the Aquatic Landscape of our Area." This is a program to correct our current stream and water conditions which are bad. Mr. Silvers discussed possible fundraising efforts with the assistance of local banks, landscapers and the Community.

Apparently, the Democratic majority didn't want to explain nor discuss their decision to oust Pat Menna, Esq. How do you say, "Vic Scudiery made us do it!"

Engineering Fees - Maser Consulting - Mayor Buccellato successfully spoke with Bill White, Maser Consulting. the Borough's Engineers and they agreed to lower fees for work voted on by the Council. Interesting note, the Council was asked if they wanted to send out for Bids on the work and they refused. Reduced Fees for Professional Services for Road Program 2008 is $204,500. Thanks to Mayor Buccellato for the negotiations.

Comment: This should have gone out for Bid. No matter how you cut it $204,500. is alot of money. What happened to pinching pennies?

Maser Consulting was authorized to Provide Professional Service for Municipal Stormwater Permit Outfall Mapping in the amount of $7,500.

Maser Consulting was authorized to Provide Professional Service for Emergency Repair Services for Water and Sanitary Sewer in the amount of $3,000.

All in all a profitable evening for Bill White and Maser Consulting. Not so for the taxpayers of Matawan.

Residents were not allowed to comment on this as there was no second "Privilege of the Floor."

Hirings - The Council voted to authorize the hiring of a Part-Time Summer Program Director.
The Council voted to authorize the Borough Administrator to Advertise and Interview for Part-Time Bookkeeper.

Comment - Does Matawan really need a part time bookkeeper? Is this another example of how we are "pinching pennies" and spending dollars.

Matawan Police Dept. - A Resolution was approved to authorize the Chief of Police retirement agreement. We will be sorry to see Chief McGowan retire and wish him all the best for the future.

There was also a Resolution Authorizing Field Technician Agreement. The Council excluding Councilwoman Clifton voted for the agreement.

Recreation - The fees were approved for the Day Camp.

Ordinance 08-06 - Establishing a Recreation Advisory Committee was tabled. Now as this was Recreation there was a great deal of confusion. So much time is wasted on explainations to the Council. Wouldn't the correct procedure be that all Council members be familiar with the subjects prior to the meeting? So much time is wasted in explanations that important issues don't get their proper attention.

Speaking of Recreation, would it be that Councilman Mullaney is planning to increase the power of the delegates to Recreation? Keep in mind Michael Mullaney is Chairman and Mary Mullaney is a member. Shouldn't Councilman Mullaney abstain from voting on issues that involve his wife and son?

Workshop meeting will be on Monday, April 28th at 6pm to discuss items to be placed on the Agenda. Councilman Mendes is pushing to have monies allotted to move the Court and or Police Dept. to the Broad Street location. Just wondering where are we getting the money?

Each Council meeting all we hear is Councilman Mullaney wants money allocated for one thing or another. Councilman Mendes wants money allocated to move the Police and Court to Broad St. Councilman Bunyon wants money allocated for a Recreation Director. Meanwhile, the former Mayor did away with the Recreation Director position. The Council voted to advertise to hire a part time bookkeeper. Does this sound like Matawan is "pinching pennies?"

Recall an old commercial, a little old lady is getting a burger and screams, WHERE'S THE BEEF! Well Councilpersons, WHERE'S THE MONEY COMING FROM?


Main Street Manny said...

Has anyone come into town and done any studies to see if moving the police or court to Broad Street would be feasible? Maybe they should pick and hire someone to do all the studies needed and make the final decision of where the police and court should be.

Anonymous said...

Fairwell and good luck to Chief Mcgowan. A man who was run right out of town by the Majority on this counsel. He received little to no cooperation for the last 2 or so years. Lets see what happens from here?

matawan advocate said...

Main St Manny, We don't believe any studies were done. Democrats are thinking votes and not beng prudent with the finances. We are in a recession. We should be preparing the Borough for the future, not the next election.

However, please feel free to contact the Mayor for assessment of the situation. Buccellato will not be able to implement any of his visions for the future of Matawan as long as the Democrats are in the majority. Intelligence should prevail not personal vendettas certain members of the council have against the Mayor.

matawan advocate said...

To an anonymous commenter, we did not publish your comment as it was obvious you didn't attend the last Council meeting by your remarks.

For the record Mayor Buccellato has implemented open Workshop meetings, encouraged the rest of the Council to work together and most recently spoke to the Borough Engineer and got the fees reduced. The same fees the Democratic majority voted and wanted to pay without negotiation.

The Democratic majority fumbled after spending hours, after the Mayor held a Workshop, on the Recreation issue and when the vote was called for they couldn't remember what it entailed. Thus it was postponed.

Sorry we disagree with you, the Mayor is trying his best to move Matawan forward. The Dems should shift their priorities from politics to the job they were elected to do.

We would like to see the Council work in unison with the most prudent Budget for Matawan. Stop spending for non-essential items.

HardCase said...

Ok Someone needs to explain something to me. Since Matawan is in such dire straights financially and our taxes keep going up why is it that we are now required to pay a pension for the Volunteer Department? Do not missunderstand me I have the greatest respect for what they do, but the way I understand volunteering it is to do some action not for reward but for feeling good, or doing something for others. Hey if you want to reward them then lower thier taxes by serveral points depending on the numer of runs they make. I do not understand why we have have to pay for thier pensions.

matawan advocate said...

Hardcase, I think you are referring to a referendum that was voted and approved by Matawan voters quite a while ago. If so, Matawan residents passed it.

Now if you are looking to save money why not amend the 2008 Road Program that the Dems are pushing? Why not hold off on such an ambitious program and just work with whatever is left from the last road program bond? Instead, the Council just voted to give Maser Consulting $200,000+ and float a bond which we will be paying on for the next few years. Councilman Cannon never answered the question of what will the bond cost us taxpayers in the years to come! Why do such a massive program when oil is at its highest and Matawan is caught short in a financial situation? Will these same Council members be here in 2009, 2010, etc., while we property owners are paying the additional taxes for their folly?

There hasn't been a meeting we've attended that the majority party doesn't look to spend money. Bonds are not the answer at this time, reduction in bonds could afford taxpayers a reduction. When the economy improves we can take on additional debt. The Dems want to float bonds like it is "free money" that we don't have to pay back. Why not give taxpayers a break and wait until we have a Budget that incorporates projected increases for next year.

Thanks for writing and we hope we answered your question.

matawan advocate said...

Thank you for your comment. Will consider changing the format.

Anonymous said...

Could be but it still does not make any sense. This town is hurting for money what we should be doing is cutting and saving money instead of finding more ways to spend what we do not have.