New bill reauthorizes regional contribution agreements for Sandy affected counties
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon will introduce new legislation tomorrow that reauthorizes regional contribution agreements (RCAs) between towns in the nine most Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties. These agreements will permit the transfer of housing units to count towards a recipient municipality’s fair share obligation. These types of agreements were originally permitted under the Coalition On Affordable Housing where one town could transfer a portion of its affordable housing obligation to another. RCAs were banned in 2008.
“I’ve always said that the law banning RCAs was shortsighted,” explained O’Scanlon. “I want to go on record saying I disagree with this far reaching court-mandated housing scheme. But if we have to have it, there should be a mix of options for municipalities to deal with it. “Mayor John Hornik of Marlboro recently revived the discussion of RCAs in relation to those areas affected by Sandy. We have seized on that common ground and developed legislation reauthorizing RCAs to help facilitate the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation of housing in areas hardest hit by Sandy. We can finally put these funds to work creating affordable housing and helping towns recover from the storm at the same time. I look forward to working with Mayor Hornik on this as we work to persuade the legislative leadership to join the effort.”
Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore tour North Middletown with Congressman Frank Pallone and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez last week. photo via facebook
Middletown Mayor Stephanie Murray and Committeeman Tony Fiore, a former mayor, will be the Republican candidates for Township Committee this fall, according to an announcement on the Middletown Township Republican Organization’s facebook page this weekend. If reelected, Murray will serve her second term; Fiore his third.
The Middletown Democrats have yet to announce their candidates. On Sunday, Party Chairman Don Watson told MMM that he would be filing candidates petitions today, the deadline for candidates seeking a partisan nomination, but declined to name the candidates. Watson indicated it was possible he could change candidates overnight.
Usually we leave the posting of video from the Middletown Township Committee meetings to MiddletownMike or the Middletown Democrats.
This week we received several phone calls about Township Committee candidate Linda Baum’s remarks to the Committee. Since Mike hasn’t posted the video yet, we ran over to Town Hall and requested an audio of the meeting to hear what all the fuss was about.
Baum and Deputy Mayor Steve Massel face off in the November election for a three year term on Middletown’s governing body.
Moody’s Investors Services has affirmed its AA2 rating on Middletown Township’s $67 million general obligation bonds.
In a statement issued on Friday, March 23, the rating agency said,
“The Aa2 rating reflects the township’s sizable tax base, low debt profile, and sufficient liquidity and reserve levels. The affirmation also considers the township’s narrow fund balance of $2.14 million (or 3.5% of revenues) in fiscal 2010. The primary driver of the $3.70 million fund balance drawdown was due to an influx of negative tax appeal judgments following the 2009 revaluation, which resulted in $1.3 million impact on fund balance. Additionally, decreased state aid and increased health care and retroactive labor salary expenditures further pressured operations. However, in fiscal 2011, new management responsively conducted a reassessment of assessed valuation and reduced the budget by 5.8%. The unaudited year-end fund balance for fiscal 2011 is estimated to be $5.87 million (or roughly 9.2% of revenues). Moody’s expects the township to improve and maintain liquidity and Current Fund balance to reported unaudited figures. Inability to achieve such levels, will result in negative rating credit pressure.”
Moody’s recognised the Township’s prudent management, low debt level with rapid amortization and sizeable tax base with high levels of resident income.
Mayor Tony Fiore said that he was very pleased by the rating agency’s opinion. “At a time when many municipalities, including some of our neighbors, are seeing their credit ratings reduced, I am pleased that Moody’s recognised the prudent decisions that our administration has implemented during these most challenging economic times.”
Tony Fiore will be elected to serve another year as mayor of Middletown when the township reorganizes on Sunday, January 1.
Committeeman Steve Massell will be Deputy Mayor.
Stephanie Murray will take the oath of office for her first term on the committee. Murray replaces Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill who is stepping down after two terms.
Fiore said that his top priority in 2012 is to continue to find cost savings and to keep the township’s property taxes stable.
Additionally, Fiore wants to implement the lessons learned in 2011 to improve real time communications with Middletown’s residents. “We learned a lot as a result of the December 2010 blizzard and the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. We will be improving our communications in the coming year.”