Sunday, September 28, 2008


With all the web sites, didn't anyone look into the probability of rain?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$ Matawan Having Difficulty Staying in the Green $

It ain't easy staying in the green!

"The government deficit is the difference between the amount of money the government spends and the amount it has the nerve to collect"
-Sam Ewing

A story in today's Independent by Erin Stattel, reports on the outrage of the residents of Matawan following receipt of their revaluation tax notices. This revaluation was done by Monmouth County, not Matawan Borough. Need we remind you the Democrats held off mailing information out until after the election last year. Wonder what they have up their sleeves this year?

Mayor Buccellato stated he has been telling the Council, since he took office to cut the Budget only to be ignored by the Democratic majority. He requested about a month ago that all Department Heads consider a 10% cut in their Budgets. This would be in addition to previous cuts requested the beginning of the year.

Councilman Mike Cannon, Chairperson of Finance, reported the Council is waiting for the Road Program bids to come in to make a decision as to whether or not continue with the entire project. Helllllllllllllllllllllllo, over $300,000. has already been spent on engineering costs for this project. Now if the leftover amount from the previous Road Program was $700,000. and we have already spent $300,000. of that money, that leaves us with $400,000. Not being an Einstein when it comes to math, even we can figure that out. So what are we going to get done for $400,000. Well that is when Bonding comes in. Should they go forward with Bonding we can look forward to higher taxes next year from the Municipality. BUT, it sounds like the Council is reconsidering. Per Councilman Cannon, the borough is trying to "hang in there till Nov. l." Isn't that saying we have a problem. Call me crazy but if the heating budget has been depleted, the gasoline budget depleted, the medical, we all know, is a negative $400,000. What happens if there are no line items to cover all of these Budget items? Where do they get the money for their political moves (this is an election year) that begun in Jan. with politicking and spending like drunken pirates. No offense to pirates intended. OK let's be optimistic, did we say that? Let's say the Borough receives $200,000. in insurance money owed to the Borough, that's $200,000. from $400,000. that leaves us with $200,000. deficit, not counting the heating overage, gasoline overage. Just don't see how they can make up such a large deficit. So what we have to look forward to is starting 2009 with a deficit larger than last year. When will the Council learn? Will residents have to go to Borough Council meetings in outrage? This revaluation was no surprise, the surprise was when the majority party held off the mailing till after last year's election. The surprise was watching the Council give lip service to the residents, when this same Council was insisting on increasing the Road Program, spent unauthorized money for Gravelly Brook Park, spent money on attorneys, engineers, etc.

The Matawan Borough Council majority has done a disservice to the residents with their spending. Even with the obvious failings in the insurance and stock industries, they have not tried to curtail their spending until the 11th hour. Even at the 11th hour they are still attempting to spend money on non-essentials. Matawan, its residents, demand better, we deserve better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Public Hearing on Toll Hikes

Be There to Stop the Hikes

Several months ago, you and I stopped Governor Corzine's $38 Billion borrowing and toll hike scheme, but the Trenton central planners just don’t like it when their plans to take more of your hard earned money go awry. Now, they are back with another toll hike scheme and they are trying to ram this one through without anyone noticing until it is too late.

Below is a schedule of public hearings on the toll hikes. The late notice is so people who oppose the new hikes won’t find out about the hearings in time. Everyone should attend any of these meetings that you can. Tell them that we don’t need a toll hike and that New Jersey taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for a tunnel that will benefit New York and not New Jerseyans.

BLACKWOOD: Tuesday, September 23 - 6 pm to 8 pm
Camden County Community College, 200 College Drive

WOODBRIDGE: Wednesday, September 24 - 9 am to Noon
Turnpike Authority Headquarters, 581 Main Street

ATLANTIC CITY: Wednesday, September 24 - 9 am to 11:30 am
Atlantic City Convention Center, One Miss America Way

PARAMUS: Wednesday, September 24 - Noon to 3 pm
Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road

DEPTFORD: Wednesday, September 24 - 1 pm to 3 pm
Municipal Building, 1011 Cooper Street"

The closest location for Matawan residents is Woodbridge. Don't let Corzine and his Democratic majority find another way to get our hard earned money.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Food for Thought

We are not the only ones who question no bid contracts to Engineering firms. Councilwoman Gallo of Aberdeen in a recent article in the Independent questioned Aberdeen's Council passing a Budget which contained a no bid engineering contract for CME.

After receiving comments asking why we keep "picking" on Maser Consulting, their fees and no bid contracts, we want to share our thoughts. It is not Maser's fault that our Borough Council are awarding them work. Our Borough had begun 2008 in the red for $125,000 in medical alone and now we are dealing with a deficit of $400,000 in medical. No firm would turn down business. It is not Masers problem where the Borough gets the money, it is ours. For the record, we don't necessarily disagree that previous administrations have made mistakes. HOWEVER, this is 2008, and the economy people, the economy, is going through an undeclared recession. If firms such as Sherson Lehmann, AIG, and Merrill Lynch are paying the financial consequences for their actions, how the hell can the Matawan Borough Council justify their excessive spending. How can they justify salary increases, negotiations which meet all demands and no compromises, additional benefits outside collective bargaining agreements, creating further debt with attorney fees, engineering fees, making charitable contributions, equipment purchases, bonding, waiving fees for certain organization, etc? They can't say, WHO KNEW, as the Mayor has repeatedly asked for budget cuts from day one. We have all heard the Mayor reminding the Council prior to a vote to spend money, do they really want to make these commitments? We already know you can't pay this year's debts with next year's pay check. That does not apply to the Borough, they borrow from next year's Budget and pay this year's debts. Try telling the tax collector, I'll pay this year's tax bill from my next year pay check! History can help us prevent past errors , not serve as an excuse to continue to make them. As the kids say, "It is what it is." A prudent Borough majority Council would have acted accordingly. Not increase our debt.

Now for a solution. How does it sound if we establish a dollar amount, i.e., $50,000.+/- to be the amount which we allow no bid contracts to be awarded? Any amount over will be mandated to go out for bid. This will also allow the Borough Engineering firm, Borough Attorney, etc., an opportunity to bid for work outside of their agreement. The point being in these economic times how do we know $300,000. plus extras is the lowest price for the engineering work we required? It would also take the "pay to play" out of the equation. Had we kept to the original 2008 Road Program we would have utilized the money leftover and not incurred further debt.

If the anonymous commenter think it is a good thing to continue reminding us of the past, then how can we as a community move forward. If we all become complacent who will be the watchdogs for our Community Council. What we have noticed and were initially guilty of ourselves, is that people only attend Council meetings when they want something. Be it tocomplain about noise, dirty streets, tax increases, parking issues, etc. As soon as their issue is resolved they no longer attend. They never know what the Council is doing, either positive or negative, until they get their tax bill or election time when all candidates espouse to be the best thing that has ever happened to Matawan since sliced bread.
This November let's get to know our candidates a little better. Let's not believe everything we read in the local publications, but check it out for ourselves. Having attended Council meetings and then reading about it in the papers, we have often wondered if the press attended the same meeting. Let's not vote political party, but by the person running for office. Let's pick the best person for the job, not because he/she went to school with my cousin Sammy, or because he/she is my neighbor, or because you always vote one particular party, but because that person has a vision for Matawan, they don't owe any political party favors. but owe the people of Matawan good, clean government! Let's not believe all the campaign literature, as some of it is out and out lies and some is stretching the truth. Ask the tough questions, why haven't we cut back more on the Budget? Why did the Council increase the 2008 Road Program? If you are told it will only cost the taxpayers $30+/- each, ask why should it cost us at all? Why didn't they just use the leftover money as originally planned? Ask them if they received a $30 increase in pay, maybe you didn't. Why are they giving salary increases and not negotiating all agreements?

As it is a Presidential election year there will be more voters. Keep in mind the political party you chose to led the country, may or may not be the best for Matawan.

Let's be informed voters!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Follow Up Borough Council Mtg 9-16-08

Residents of Matawan came to the Council meeting seeking help with the recent escalation in their tax bills due to the revaluation. Property taxes for older homes have gone up tremendously, forcing residents to call upon the Borough Council for aid. Problem is the revaluation was forced upon Matawan by the County. People concerned with losing their homes to foreclosure and worried as to how they will pay this huge increase filled the audience.

The Borough Council responded with passing a 4% increase for all Borough employees who are not part of a collective bargaining agreement. Residents were also informed the Labor Attorney and Borough Administrator will begin negotiations on the Police Dept. (PBA) contract. Borough Council has already passed the new Chief of Police's contract, along with the Lieutenants contracts.

Mayor Buccellato requested the Appraiser for Matawan to be present to answer questions from the residents. Due to the sinking economy, revaluation appraisals (which were done prior to the economic downfall) residents are finding themselves in the position of high taxes and lower home values. In some cases taxes tripled.

Residents asked the Council to cut the Budget, which the Council does control. However, it fell on deaf ears. It's an election year folks and the Democrats have done very little to cut expenses. The Mayor has repeatedly asked for the Council to come up with a way to cut taxes to no avail. At a recent meeting he went so far as to asked all the Department Heads to find a way to cut 10% of their respective Budgets. We have already seen the Borough cut down to a four day work week in order to cut costs, the results of which aren't in as yet.

But don't worry the 2008 increased Road Program will have repaved streets in Matawan. So when we become a bankrupt Borough we at least will have paved streets for the moving trucks to drive on.

It is increasingly disturbing to hear the Council give increases to employees, spend money on engineering fees, expand the Road Program, attorney fees, Recreation Dept., new computers for the Police Dept, etc. Will someone tell us how this helps with the ever-increasing property taxes? Not that these expenses aren't needed but are they life threatening? Could they not wait until next year or perhaps spread some of these items over the next few years. The way it is now the Mayor's idea to plan ahead for the coming years budgets will remain just an idea. How long can Matawan begin the new year with a deficit?

On several occasions we have heard Council members say the infrastructure has been neglected. It is true. Previous Administrations have not wanted to increase the municipal budget as the School Budget was growing rapidly. Perhaps this was not a good decision. That does not mean that this Administration has to correct all the poor decisions of the past in one year. Doesn't anyone get it? The economy is in the dumper, we are dealing with a deficit of $400.000. for medical. What other items on the Budget are we over-extended on? What about gasoline? People are losing their homes and jobs and our Borough Council wants to make Matawan pretty.
Priorities need adjustment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Matawan Borough Council Mtg 9/16 @ 7:30pm

The Borough Council will meet at 7:30pm tonight at 201 Broad Street, the Matawan Borough Community Center. It should be an interesting meeting. Without going through the Agenda, we mention a few items the Council should reconsider on the Bill List.

The majority party on Council must learn to JUST SAY NO to unnecessary spending!

Legal fees-Borough Attorney-Ansell, Zaro, Grimm & Aaron - $7,693.74
Included in this amount is $299.00 for Red Light Cameras. Now here is where the Council should carefully consider what items they give to the Borough Attorney for review. This program was to cost the Borough nothing, zilch, nado, zippo, zero. As it stands right now it has already cost us in legal fees alone $299.00. That does not include time spent by the Police Department to further investigate this program. To date nothing has been accomplished. Councilwoman Clifton voted against this program on the basis of insufficient information was given to make an informed decision. Guess she was right. Wonder what we have paid in legal fees so far. We will have to check this out further.

Engineering fees - Maser Consulting - $21,303.85
Included in these fees is $13,835.00 for the 2008 Road Program so far. This is just a part of what the Road Program Engineering will cost. Part of the Road Program will be Bonded, the other part we will be using leftover money from last year's program. There were no grants for the 2008 Program. It is very disturbing to see the Council spending money, bonding, incurring further debt when property taxes are at an all time high and inflation can not keep up with it. Perhaps the Council can afford this spending. However, we taxpayers are having a tough time making ends meet.

With the property revaluations plus the tax increase, the Council should be prudent in how they spend our tax dollars. Stop incurring further debt that Matawan will have difficulty paying. We started out this year in a deficit and it looks like we will be starting out 2009 with another deficit possibly higher than last year.

The Borough Council should remember election time is coming and the majority party on the Council will not be able to prove they have acted in a prudent fashion.

Hope to see you at tonight's meeting....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Update on the Big Blue House on Main Street

Good news on the Big Blue House. Residents interested in this home of historical significance hired an Attorney who brought any decision on this property to a halt for the time being. The current business owner wishes to change the zoning to Commercial Use and rent out as office space.

We encourage all who wish to see this beautiful home restored to its former glory, please support these residents in their blight. All too often historical locations are torn down or rezoned for business purposes. Once they are gone, you cannot bring back history. We would love to see this home restored to its former beauty by someone who is interested in the preservation of historical landmarks.

We encourage all who wish to maintain Matawan's historical sites to attend the Planning & Zoning Board meetings. Please help preserve Matawan's history.

Another building of historical significance is the Matawan Train Station. You may have noticed the porch has been taken down in the interest of public safety. The structural pieces have been saved for restoration purposes. The station will be receiving a fresh coat of paint utilizing the colors from the time period it was built. This is NJ Transit property and we appreciate them finally doing something to preserve Matawan's history. Can't wait to see it restored. Just think we will no longer be embarrassed when visitors to Matawan are greeted by the "blighted" appearance of the area. It will stop being an eyesore and give one of the entrances to Matawan a sorely needed face lift.

More to follow as it progresses.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Save the Big Blue House

Planning & Zoning Board meeting tonight at 7:30pm at 201 Broad Street, Matawan Borough Community Center. This meeting is concerning the Big Blue House on Main St., Matawan.

The owner of this house wants to have the property zoned for commercial use turning it into office space. Residents/historians in the area are opposed to turning this home into office space. The building has historical significance and even though it was stripped of historical items such as beautiful stain glass doors, marble mantles, light fixtures, etc. by former owners, Historians feel it can be restored to its former glory.

The only way to let the Board know your position is to attend the meeting. Either way we hope all will consider the best interests of Matawan Borough.

Follow Up to Borough Council Meeting

Last night's Council meeting was an exercise in learning how the Council spends your tax dollars and wastes time.

Recreation - Following months in review by the Recreation Commission with no input, following much time being wasted in discussion(which should have been spent on more pressing matters) it was the decision of Councilman Bunyon, Chairman of the Recreation Commission (or was it Councilman Mullaney) to vote no to adopting the Resolution. Are you kidding me? This was the stupidest, biggest waste of time we have ever heard. Why would Councilman Bunyon, who after months of pushing to get this to a vote would he vote NO. We did noticed Councilman Mullaney spoke to Bunyon prior to the vote. Well let's see who else voted NO, Councilman Mullaney, Councilman Mendes and Councilman Malley. It's called POLITICS. Bunyon is running for election this Nov. You remember he got the lowest number of votes and was appointed to the position of Councilman. Who is the big contributor to Matawan's Democratic Party.....Vic Scudiery.

Let's look a little further who is on the Recreation Commission. Councilman Bunyon, Councilman Malley, Councilman Mullaney, Councilman Mullaney's son, Michael Mullaney, Councilman Mullaney's wife, Mary Mullaney, Pat Coleman and the new Recreation Director. It has become obvious that the Mullaney's run the Recreation Commission. It is apparent Councilman Mullaney tries to run every Commission, excluding Finance. There is no glory in finance,,,,you can't spend money in that have to look for money.

Mayor's Report - Mayor Buccellato instructed the Borough Administrator, Fred Carr, to ask all Borough Departments to cut 10% from their respective budgets. As the Borough has already spent 74% of its Budget so far this year. We are confused, is the Borough in financial difficulty or is Councilman Cannon's assessment that all will be fine correct? Are we being misled? Time will tell. As Councilman Cannon has stated, in Nov. will there be any line items to be shifted to cover the deficit?

The Mayor directed the Borough Attorney, Mr. Aaron, for the 4th time to instruct the Council on the correct procedures to spend Borough funds. A member of the Council , without authorization, incurred two invoices for Gravelly Brook Park work. This is outrageous! Are there no consequences for this unauthorized spending? Guess not! After all didn't Aufseeser act without the authority or consent of the Council last year and spend Borough money. It must be a Democrat thing. We think they walk around Borough Hall saying, "we don't need no stinkin' consent!" Even though the Democrats have the majority, they should NOT be allowed to incur bills on behalf of the taxpayers without the knowledge and consent of the Council. This is a democracy. Even the audience members know by now what the procedures are for spending Borough funds. More to follow on these invoices at the next Council meeting.

Police Department - Authorization to purchase a new Police vehicle was given. Discussion followed about purchasing another Police vehicle. Councilman Mullaney stated his position is that we need another Police vehicle as it is a safety issue. At one point he demanded an emergency meeting to purchase the 2nd vehicle. Following a call to the C.F.O. it was decided to hold off the purchase of the second vehicle until insurance money would become available in about 30 days. After scaring audience members by his safety statement, Mullaney backed down when it was stated THERE WAS NO MONEY and therefore, no reason for an emergency meeting. He should think before he speaks.

The employment contracts for Chief Alston, Lt. Gallo and Lt. Smith were signed.

The invoices for the Police Dept. new computers were authorized to be paid.

Maser Consulting - All Resolutions authorizing engineering/surveying work to be done were passed by the Council. We do seem to have money for engineering/surveying work. Oh wait, is that using the Bonding money? We find it amusing that they throw the words "Bond Money" around like it is free money.

2007-2008 Road Program - No surprise, the Council voted to proceed with advertising for bids. Well we will be paying for this increeased Road Program through BONDING .

Yes, we are seeing improvements to Matawan infrastructure, our Police Department have new cars, new computers and that is a positive. January 2009 will be Matawan's defining moment. Will we be able to pay the increased property taxes or will Matawan become a place that used to be affordable? What are we kidding...we can barely afford the taxes now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Matawan Borough Council Mtg 9/2/08 @ 7:30pm

Well folks hang on to your check books! Tonight there will be a Borough Council meeting at 7:30pm. Some members of the Council appear not to be concerned about the deficit by the way they are spending. Although the medical deficit is near $400,000. We don't know at this time what other line items are over budget, nor do we know what line items can be used to pay down the growing $400,000+ deficit. What we do know is we started out this year in the red for $125,000. The Finance Chairman, Michael Cannon, as of 8/22/08 explained that he does not know how much will be paid down (via use of other line items & how much the insurance would pick up)as the numbers were not yet available. Add to that deficit the bonding that is being done for the 2007-2008 Road Program, and any line items that are over budget (you can bet there are items that are over budget at this moment) and how much do you think we will have left over to pay down the deficit? More troubling is where is the money coming from to pay for any other line items that exceeded there budgeted amount? No one has explained to the residents how they will manipulate the line items. Keep in mind the only way to get more money for the overages is through TAXES. We are hoping the Council found a "pot of gold" to pay for their Agendas. Unfortunately, St. Patrick's Day isn't until March 2009. Guess we will have to wait until Nov. to see what unfolds.

Some but not all the Agenda items are:

1. Establishing a Recreation Advisory Committee

2. Matawan Police Department
a. Authorizing Police Chief James Alston's Contract
b. Authorizing Police Lieutenant Jason Gallo's Contract
c. Authorizing Police Lieutenant Benedict J. Smith, III Contract
d. Authorizing Police Chief to Undertake Preliminary Interviews for staffing of Police Dept.

e. Authorizing the purchase of a vehicle for the Matawan Police Dept.

3. Award of Contract for a COAH Administrative Agent

4. Appointing Business Administrator as the Municipal Housing Liaison

5. Maser Consulting Group - What would a meeting be without awarding Maser some engineering fees? So as you would not be disapponted they will be authorized to:

a. Provide Professional services for investigating potential purchasers of the Borough's Water allocation.

b. Authorizing Borough Engineer (Maser) to advertise to accept bids for the 2007-2008 Road Program. (Perhaps this fee is part of the no bid award of $300,000. authorized previously)

c. Authorizing Borough Engineer engineering/design, survey, construction administration and observation services Park Avenue Sanitary sewer rehabilitation

6. Award of contract for a fire alarm installation and monitoring syste am for the Matawan Police Department at 150 Main St.

7. Authorizing Memorial Day Parade Date.

All in all it should be an interesting meeting. Hope to see you there.......