Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flemington Gets the Ax

$275,000 and some change, my fellow Flemingtonians, that is the figure Mayor Hauck and Councilwoman Erica Edwards, after attending a meeting with other municipal leaders last week on this very issue, indicated at the Boro council last night that Flemington is slated to lose under the proposed budget cuts. Being a municipality under 5,000, we in Flemington are to get NO state funding this year if Governor Corzine’s budget proposal is allowed to stand. Zip, nada, nothing, zero, zilch. *( See correction below).

The governor, arguing that such a move will enhance the use of shared services, is almost insulting to me. Are we to believe that Flemington and Raritan for example operate with less efficiency than Newark, Camden and Trenton? We have a splendid shared school district and they have that fiscal nightmare of irresponsibility known as Abbott. Yet that money pit for billions of dollars is not under the microscope. Why is not Trenton et al being forced to economize? Too many party bosses with too much strength there, perhaps?


Don’t be fooled. There are plenty of ways to start to reduce NJ spending other than taking our state aid. Again, I ask you to take some time and cruise this site. http://www.njassemblyrepublicans.com/pages/table/fiscal/wasters.htm

“The Soprano State” by Bob Ingle that sold out by the end of the first day it hit the stands is back in the bookstores. Here too you will be educated on waste and corruption in NJ. See also http://thesopranostate.com/index.htm

In view of this prospective loss of state funds, the Boro budget has not yet been finalized. Boro council is hoping to set up a special town meeting in very early April for us to address this major blow to our Flemington budget. Of course, I will keep you updated on this meeting.

At this stage of the game, I cannot imagine that there is a citizen of the Garden State, soon to lose its Department of Agriculture ironically under this vindictive proposal, who is unaware of the overspending in Trenton these last few years. Yet “the in your face attitude” of Governor Corzine, still giving judges raises and pushing to increase paid family leave as if we could afford these upgrades, belies any serious ethical attempt to bail NJ out of the fiscal mess Trenton has made.

My fellow Flemingtonians I have formally studied all kinds of theories in ethics and there is not a one that morally justifies Corzine taking away our funding while he does not address the overspending and corruption at the center of this budget problem. And he is not doing so to date. I can make numerous arguments though as to why what he and his supporters are doing is unethical. But really so can you.

If we small municipalities allow Trenton to skim off the cream, keep our money to indulge its extravagant lifestyle with abandon, do you think we will have an easy time of it getting our state aid restored once we lose it? How long will small municipalities be deprived of funding, 75 years?

Stop the spending, double dipping. Dismantle the outrageous “perks for pals” lifestyle that is endemic to Trenton. http://www.nj.com/news/bythenumbers/ ( Click on "Public Payrolls" by muncipalities). Upbraid the frivolous spending identified on the above- mentioned Republican website. After this is accomplished, then the governor might start to offer non- punitive and evenhanded proposals for paying down the debt that will not continue mushroom because the root causes have been uprooted.

We are, I believe, a reasonable people but we must also take responsibility to stop this pillaging of our coffers. I am a child of the ‘60’s. People power works. Our collective voice cannot be ignored.

Should Governor Corzine stubbornly continue on this unreasonable path, we ought to recall him from office for dereliction of duty. We citizens are entitled to responsible behavior from our governor, not punishment for demanding that Trenton clean up its act. As our state’s chief executive officer, he should lead the way.

Stay tuned.

* As per comments posted today by Linda Mastellone, on Wednesday, March 5 ,Councilwomen Erica Edwards and Linda Mastellone attended the NJ League of Municipalities Meeting on budget cuts for small municipalities. At Boro council Monday, it was my understanding that Councilwomen Erica Edwards and Mayor Hauck attended this type of meeting given the unified response to my question about a specific figure asked during work session. I did not understand that Councilwoman Edwards and Mastellone went to this meeting. I regret the error.

7 comments:

bob said...

I looked at the wasters.htm page you linked to, and there is too much to look at in one sitting. But I can tell you this:

1. Some of their recommendations don't make sense. If a school (esp. in a poor area) requires kids to wear special uniforms, they should pay at least part of the cost. Otherwise it's an unfunded mandate, something the GOP used to say they opposed.

Another example is Camden's special community & law enforcement initiative. It's there because Camden has a high crime rate and is the poorest city in America. The cost of not having crime prevention is worse. The state GOP would rather just throw people in jail -- then kvetch about the cost of keeping them there.

2. Since this is the state GOP site, one should look at it through that lens. Naturally, they only criticize Democrats. There isn't one word about the corrupt, entrenched Republican majority of Somerset County that gave the Parks & Rec commissioner a $2 million house to live in, plus free limo rides to AC with bottles of champagne -- all at public expense. Or Somerset's sheriff who put his dry cleaning on the public tab. And let's not forget Hunterdon's Republican Freeloaders -- oops, I mean Freeholders -- with their own golf course scam. And should we rehash Gov. Whitman's auto inspection fiasco?

As for recommendations from Assemblyman Michael Doherty....well.....this man needs a checkup from the neck up.

I'm not saying there isn't waste and corruption. And corrupt Democrats are as bad as corrupt Republicans. No, I take that back -- they're worse, because they should know better. But a lot of what the state GOP says is untrustworthy.

Linda in NJ said...

A small correction, Joan. Erica and I attended the New Jersey League of Municipalities meeting about the budget cuts for small towns, Wednesday, March 5. I think that Erica and Mayor Hauck attended a different function.

Thanks,
Linda Mastellone

StoptheInsanity said...

Joan, your bias is showing again. You just can't say anything positive about a Democrat in this town. Or did you just conveniently neglect to mention Linda's hard work to learn more about the Governor's aid package and how it could harm Flemington? Or are you still mad she beat your husband in the election and refuse to acknowledge her efforts on behalf of the community?

I double dog dare you to say one nice thing about each Democratic Council member.

Betsy said...

Joan,

Perhaps you could take the money you are making from endorsing the book with the racist name and donate it to Flemington. Seeing as you've now referenced it at least 4 times, it's the least you could do.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Linda,

Thank you for the clarification...It was not evident to me that there were 2 meetings. I thought there was only one which was the one mentioned in the Courier News. I must have conflated the two. I regret my error.

As I recollect the Boro council meeting, I thought Erica and Bob attended the same meeting because as you will recall at the meeting they both responded at the same time to my question about the exact amount of money we are slated to lose. In that kerfuffle of discourse from where I sat, I did not hear much but the amount of money we would loose and the need to buy pitchforks. I did not hear that you went to another meeting.Please accept my apologies for that oversight.

Bob,

Thanks for checking the site...my idea here is to encourage people to take a closer look at the spending and to demand better ficsal management for our state. And I agree both parties are at fault here and not all the ideas on the URL are on track certainly but we have to begin somehwere to get a grip on the frivolous spending that we are seeing Trenton...

and that other thread is not closed...I posted for you ...do not know what happened there. Sorry your post got eaten...that is such a hassle.

Stoptheinsanity,

Perhaps this could start with your style of commentary.

Through e mails or phone conversations I have invited ALL council members on SEVERAL occasions to air their differing viewpoints and assist and provide me info on work they are doing for the Boro to share with the public as I did recently with John Gorman who was later berated for his efforts. At that time and I am sure Boro council recalls this, I asked ALL council members to address certain projects like the new Environment Commission, Shared Services, Police to start off the project. If council members decline or do not act on my request, I cannot do do anything about that. I am not a telepathist.

you cannot have it both ways...council members not responding to my inquiries about their work or viewpoints and then criticizing me for not telling the public what they are doing...that is the insanity I would like to stop in our Boro.

BTW: regarding my political commentary... I am far more evenhanded than other writers on my blogsite ...and I have aired all viewpoints that have come on this blogsite...all anyone has to do is take the time to post their ideas...they are more than welcome if done respectfully ...So I do not know the basis of your criticisms...

Linda in NJ said...

Joan,
Thanks for the verification. There were two meetings. There was a Flemington budget meeting, where the $275,000 figure was revealed. Erica and Bob were there. And there was the NJLM meeting in Trenton of the municipalities of 5000 or fewer. Erica and I were at that one.

Courier News Flemington blog said...

Well, Linda...thank you for clearing that up and thank God I am not totally losing it.

The meeting Erica and Bob attended I believe was covered in the Courier News. Regarding the meeting Erica and you attended, if you have any info you think is noteworthy to share on the cuts,I invite you to post it. This is such an important issue to the Boro I am trying to get as much info out as possible.

Bob,

I saw your other post and will respond...it's a little nutsy here at the moment but I have something I want to say about women presidents...Please hang in there ...