Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mayor Tony Fiore Clarifies the Middletown Library Rumors

The Middletown Township Committee issued a press release on Sunday, presenting some cost-saving measures. These included asking the Library to return some of its surplus in order to meet a township budget shortfall of $4.4 millions. A lot of people thought the Township is closing the Library, killing it, defunding it, demolishing it, when this wasn't the case. Libraries in New Jersey receive a state-mandated budget based on a formula. This is a lot more than many libraries need, and the Middletown Township Library has a $1.2 million surplus. They have so much money that they fly first class to various conventions, and are booking acts from Timbuktu to perform for 40 people.

So today, Mayor Tony Fiore issued this statement:

Dear Township Residents:

I felt it was necessary for me to respond to the recent flurry of comments and emails regarding the Middletown Township Library. It is unfortunate that some have chosen to engage in the spread of completely false information with regard to the Township Committee’s request of the Middletown Library Board. So let me set the record straight.

First let me make it very clear that neither I nor any member of the Township Committee has ever suggested or proposed closing any library facility in the Township. We would simply not do such a thing.

The situation the Township finds itself in is not unlike that being faced by towns throughout New Jersey. With revenues sharply down due to the economic downturn we remain in and with state-mandated costs ever on the rise, we are now faced with an extraordinary fiscal challenge. This includes the potential for the layoff of a number of employees and even possibly police. Be assured that we do all we can to avoid layoffs and we take the matter very seriously.

The Library budget is different from the Township budget in that state law specifies how much must be allocated to the library each year, whether it is needed to operate the library or not. The result of this is that the library now has a surplus of $1.2 million. While some portion of this surplus is needed for ongoing support of library programs and initiatives, the vast majority is not needed for continued operations. I personally met about two weeks ago with the Library Director and the Board Chairman and asked that they bring back to the library board a request to transfer approximately $700,000.00 - $800,000.00 of their surplus to the Township’s budget. This would be used to offset layoffs and to help fund the continuation of many vital Township services and help to offset the impact of over $4 million in tax appeals.

The Township Committee is fully aware that the library board cannot be forced to do this. However we are asking that they work with us in a unified effort to help all of the residents and taxpayers of the Township. I would note that the Township Sewerage Authority dedicated a portion of its surplus to the Township last year and we anticipate them doing the same again this year.

Many people have expressed concern that the Township Committee is seeking to transfer operation of the library to the Monmouth County Library System. Let me be clear that the Township Committee has taken no action to do this. Such a move would be an absolute last resort, but without the transfer of some of the library surplus it may become a fiscal necessity. Not an option, a necessity. Should this action have to occur, the library would not close, it would simply move under the umbrella of the county and the staff would become county employees rather than be Township employees. Again, we do not want to make this move. We would like to see our library continue as the great Township facility it is. Our hope is that we can work with the Library Board as a team with the best interests of the Township as the goal.

Anthony P. Fiore, Mayor

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Residents Hate Wind Turbines. Politicians Keep Forcing Them Onto the People

On Feb 8th, Gov. Chris Christie both vetoed the liquified natural gas project off the coast of New Jersey, and enacted a law to allow wind turbines on Atlantic City piers.

I'm not even gonna go into killing the LNG project, and the savings in heating costs that he refused. But why is he so adamant to get more wind turbines at the Jersey Shore? Residents have recently strongly opposed windmills in Union Beach and in Sea Girt, this last one prompting legislation to restrict building of turbines near residential areas.

It's very trendy to advocate wind turbines to save the planet, when it's not in your neighborhood. But what happens when wind mills COME to your backyard? Michele Francese lives in Ocean Gate, NJ, near one of the first New Jersey wind turbines. Here's what she tells us:

I live directly across from a wind turbine in Ocean Gate. It has completely destroyed the quality of life that we once enjoyed in our quiet little town. Not only is the noise deafening at times, the reflection in our windows makes you feel like you have a disco ball spinning from your ceiling. I'm all for green energy, but more studies must be done before any more are located in residential neighborhoods. Unfortunately, another one is being constructed as we speak in Ocean Gate. I'm very disappointed that what could have been a positive thing has become an albatross around my neck. The concept is great but the result has failed terribly.

Andrew Walden just wrote a great article for the American Thinker, titled Wind Energy's Ghost. There, he discusses all the failed wind project throughout the US, including the abandoned farms in Hawaii and California. Most of them have been abandoned. Hundreds of wind turbines lay unused because keeping them up cost more than the energy they produced. Wind turbines have to run all the time to keep the oil running, so if they get wind 20% of the day (which would be a very big number), they actually have to use energy from the power grid the rest of the 80%.

Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst focusing on energy and the environment asked the key question:

If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place? It's a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end.

Walden describes the reality of the wind industry:

The new paradigm created by the generation of 1968 is more political and less economy. Without government intervention, utilities normally avoid wind energy. Wind's erratic power feed destabilizes power grids and forces engineers to stand by, always ready to fire up traditional generators.

So as all evidence points to wind turbines being non efficient and destined for failure, while residents near such windmills complain about lost property value and decreased quality of life, why do politicians keep pushing these bad policies?