Saturday, November 01, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Middletown Referendum Questions Little for Taxpayers: Vote No Charter Revisions!

A letter to the editor from resident Ken McClellan:
Election Day - Tuesday, November 4, 2014
In addition to state officers, there will be a referendum on Middletown ballots for a Charter Revision.
The questions on the ballot will be:

1. Shall the Charter be amended to provide for a term of four years for the following elected officials of the City of Middletown: the Mayor, Common Council, Treasurer, Board of Assessment Appeals and Registrars of Voters?

2. Shall the Charter be amended to raise the bond limit for which the Common Council can approve spending without going to referendum to $1,000,000?

3.  Shall all other amendments to the Charter as approved by the Common Council from the Final Report of the Charter Revision Commission at its September 2, 2014 meeting be approved?
The majority caucus on the council is pushing for these changes.  My opinion is that all of these revisions should be rejected.  

Question 1:  4 year terms.  This sounds like it might save the city money, by eliminating one election cycle. However, we can't eliminate that election.  The Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Commission are elected for 4 years on a 2-year alternating cycle.  1/2 the members up for election every two years.  If the Council were to do the same, I might support this proposal.  One statement made to justify 4-year terms is that it will allow the Council to concentrate on governing, rather than campaigning.  In the time I've lived in Middletown, I haven't seen campaigning take away anything from the amount of governing done.  I have seen the Democratic majority on our Common Council spend time debating topics over which they have no authority or control at the same when a city budget is due.  Unfortunately the budget did not get a lot of discussion.   Please vote NO on this question.

Question 2:  Bonding Limit.  The current bonding limit, the amount of money the Common Council can borrow without a referendum is $750,000.  The Democrats on the Council have found ways to fund multi-million dollar projects without letting the citizens know, by borrowing money in $750,000 increments.  This is not what I call open, transparent and honest government.  I'm sure that their justification is that they want to make sure projects get started, and can't wait for that tedious approval process.  Vote NO on this question.

Question 3:  Everything Else.  I just received a copy of the commission report and council changes today.  This report is not available on the city web-site.  It is not included in the minutes of the Charter Revision Commission or in the minutes of the Common Council meeting where the report was accepted.  I will make the Report and Amendments available on the MRTC website (  Unless you read and understand all the changes: 
Vote NO on this question.

We need your vote and the votes of all your friends and neighbors on November 4. Mark your calendar and get out and VOTE!

Thank you,
Ken McClellan
Middletown Republican Town Committee

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