Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Middletown Council Meets

It was quiet & short- for me not the Council. They met before for a budget workshop & after for negotiations with the Police Dept. Lucky me.

State Rep. Ruggiero gave a lege update. Funny, with new Rep./Sen., they do that now. She is focusing on the tax exemption for sr. (I think that will be a local vote) & the charter changes. She is opposed to DOT taking over local bridges, favors net metering. She said that the biggest issues facing the lege are pension reform & local revenue sharing. She shes herself as an "extension to your team [Council]." Finally, someone who gets it.

The wind turbine ordinance is still being worked on & so was cont'd. 3 testified as to the need to slow traffic on Forest Ave. with a "Stop" sign- Bill Medeiros, Bruce Ryerson, Bruce Long. This now gets sent to the police for a review/study.

An interesting discussion took place during the ordinance to raise harbor fees. Art Benner addressed the need for a Harbor Master. While the Town Admin. "Wuite Man" Brown said that this job is self-sustaining (I think, I couldn't hear him will), Benner pointed out that these moorings at Third Beach used to bring in income (what an idea!). 70 mooring at $100/each. There is a 10 yr. waiting list & owners often sublet them. Brown also said that the town provides pumping services for a few. Benner also reminded everyone that no one is there on weekends when there is the most boat traffic.

Benner brought up some valid points. We could provide zilch & make bucks. Eliminating this summer job would cause little hardship to locals. Steve Ponte, current harbor master, is also an elem. principal. In point of fact, every member of his family is town employed. I'm with Benner on this one.

I've been at Second/Third Beach when 5 police cars have been present. Really. 5. On more than one occasion. All on break? The ordinance will be read again next time & voted on.

That's about it. You can always check out the agenda for specific info. Everything passed.

I'll try & post up some more video- maybe tomorrow if my efforts suceed.


ray said...

In regard to Mr. Benner's comments pertaining to the summer employment of Mr. Ponte as Harbor Master, I do not believe you really have not analyzed the comprehensive benefit that Mr. Ponte brings to the beach. In addition to his outstanding reputation in the Middletown school system and his strong leadership skills which he brings to the Harbor Master position, he was the head lifeguard for years at Sachuest Beach and thus brings a strong marine safety background to the job. I have personally witnessed Mr. Ponte prevent many dangerous situations with boaters, jet skiers, wind surfers and actually rescue wind surfers, boaters, swimmers and kayakers who overestimated their abilities. To believe that the young, inexperienced lifeguards on duty would be able to do what Mr. Ponte does for Third Beach in terms of safety and marine environment management is beyond wishful thinking. Taking Mr. Ponte's services for granted and not realizing the brand and safety protection of a major source of revenue for the town of Middletown is not seeing the big picture here. Please consider the serious ramifications of eliminating this vital position to the protection and safety of Middletown residents and the many families and citizens who utilize Third Beach who enjoy this recreational environment daily during the summer, Ray Mey

Unknown said...

I don't think that anyone doubts the Harbormaster's abilities.

How is this position a major source of revenue for the town? I think that's the point. It isn't and costs the town $. With decreasing revenues from the town & state, it's a fair question that Benner asks.

The summer job has only been around 2-3 yrs. and before that, the town seems to have done just fine AND realized a profit.

With major amounts of teachers being laid off, it's fair to begin looking at other town employees and places to reduce expenses.

So what do you expect? It's going to be even worse next year.

Thanks for the comment!

chasval said...

The problem is Mr. Benner is such a busy-body attending council meetings, school committee meetings as well as zoning & planning board meetings about projects having no impact on him, yet, voicing his know it all ideas on everything you can think of as if he was an authority.
Have you ever heard a positive opinion from Mr. Benner? He has in my opinion made his credibility less than dependable. That being said, I support Mr. Ponte alone on his reputation and professional contributions to Middletown.

Unknown said...

Gosh, Mr. Benner is just attending open meetings. Anything to do with the town impacts everyone in it, one way or another. I've heard plenty of authorities speak whose opines turned out to be wrong. Open government works best when it is just that- open to all.

The question is about the position of harbormaster, no matter who holds it. We don't employ people & create jobs because we like certain individuals, right? Or at least, we should not. Suppose someone else held the job?

Thanks for the comment.

chasval said...

I never said Mr. Benner should not attend public forms, only that because of his constant negative opinions, I don't hold him as credible. I am entitled to my opinion of him and my government.
Thanks for the opportunity to be heard, your form is the best!

Unknown said...

I LOVE to hear other opinions!

Sometimes I, too, get weary of listening to the same-old, same-old. But at least they're out there- trying. I agree- negative opinions aren't really too useful unless you propose solutions. Otherwise, you tend to tune out. Sometimes I work on my shopping list.

Thanks for the comment. It can get rather booring listening to myself.

ray said...

Eileen, I totally understand your point about the financial scrutiny of the town's operating expenses and eliminating those services or jobs that are not vital to the towns's welfare and sustenance. Particularly in these difficult economic times we must all be cognizant of where the money is being spent. However, in the case of the Harbor Master position, Mr. Ponte aside, I am sure that the revenue that the beach generates annually is a major source of income for the town. I am aware that thhe beach mgr postion at Sachuest Beach is a $23,000 position and in comparison the Harbor Master position pays $12,000 for the summer. The value this postion provides is in its significant contribution to the safety and management of the overall beach and boating environment of Third Beach. People will come to the beach, both residents and non residents if the beach is a safe and enjoyable environment. The investment in the Harbor Master position assures that there will be an adequate level of safety and harbor boating management at Third Beach. I would encourage you to observe a typical day of Mr. Ponte during the summer. Rain or shine, rough or calm he is there looking out for all the users of this precious resource which provides and will continue to provide a subsantial source of revenue to the town of Middletown and a vital service to all residents who enjoy Third Beach and Sachuest Beach. If there is a problem on the beach or the water with a boating accident or reckless individual operating a watercraft or some extraordinary need at either Third or Second Beach, having a Harbor Master on duty and ready to respond is a great maritime emergency resource to have. As in most cases in public safety, you do not realize how important and vital it is until you need it. Thanks for listening, Ray

Unknown said...

Thanks for your interesting comments! You're quite right about taking a service for granted until you, yourself need it!

I'm wonder who handles problems/services on the weekend?

Unknown said...

BTW, the reason that I published the article & posted the video, is that Art was only publicly verbalizing what I have heard privately said a number of times- by both boaters & non.

ray said...

Eileen, thanks for the opportunity to give my two cents on this topic. That's one of the many things that is great about our country. Everybody has their own opinion and everyone has the right to express it. Thanks to those who have served and continue to serve and protect, Ray