Thursday, April 25, 2013

Edison 2013 Muni Budget - introduced at last night's meeting?!?

Well, last night the Edison Township Council introduced the 2013 Municipal Budget without any fanfare or without anything. They just opened it up for public discussion. Now, maybe it's me but you think they could of given a simple summary of where the Municipal Budget stands - you know, like what are the appropriations, revenues and local tax levy, the muni-tax rate and how did those items change from last year?? Did the muni-tax rate go up, down or stay the same?? Something, anything to give a basic framework to the residents and taxpayers.

Nah! Just ask your questions. That works, I guess, if you have a copy of the Municipal Budget at the meeting to look and to ask questions from. What a way to Not inform people who showed up for the meeting and those who will watch it later about the Introduced Municipal Budget for 2013!

Here's a Summary of the Municipal Budget for 2013:

The only thing I've seen on this Municipal Budget is a piece in the Sentinel here.

Now, apparently, the Council will be amending this Municipal Budget and have given out these dates:
April 24 - Introduced Municipal Budget (last night's meeting)

  • May 1 - Public Meeting with the department heads
  • May 8 - Amended Municipal Budget will be released
  • May 22 - Public Meeting on the Amendment to the Municipal Budget
Anyhoo, don't you just get a kick out of how Politics in Downtown Edison always seem to benefit the few at the expense of the many!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rob "March on Trenton' Karabinchak to Review School's Defeated Budget?!?

Really, What, Seriously, You for real, Are you kidding me - let's see, what else,


Kind of sums up where I come down on the Edison Council appointing Rob 'March on Trenton' Karabinchak to the sub-committee to review the $213.9 million voter rejected school budget for 2013-14.

Here's a guy who sat on the Council dais and adamantly stated there was No Municipal tax increase in 2011 when there was a 2.9-Cent increase or 2.7%  - and the tax bills were already out and we already paid half the year's tax increase.

If he didn't even know what was in his own budget, how does that qualify him to go after the Big $ on the School side of town?

Isn't that like sending David up against Goliath - without a slingshot?

Well, I just got done in a previous post saying I still had high hopes that the Council would do the right thing for the residents here in Downtown Edison with this defeated school budget. Geez, what was I thinking?!?

Good choice by the Edison Council. There goes those hopes!

Anyhoo, at least we're comforted in the knowledge that he can bring the many faces he has to the negotiation table with the Board of Mythomania.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yet another Political 'hot potato' - the Edison Defeated School Budget for 2013-14!

While we wait to see how this year's $213.9 million Defeated School Budget plays out, I continue to hold out hope that an Edison Council will actually respect the wishes of the voters after the school budget was rejected at the polls.

Clearly, I'm not a supporter of this school budget for all the reasons you can read about in this blog. This budget (like all their budgets) is nothing more that an Uncontrolled and Out-of-Control, Bloated $pending Pot of Money that grows exponentially every year and moves around more than Councilman Rob 'March on Trenton' Karabinchak looking for a home.

Uh..oh - there goes a vote!

Having said that about this school budget - I also recognize that these council reviews aren't a search for the truth on what needs to be done for the residents and taxpayers but rather a search to do the least amount of political damage and hence, a token slap on the wrist that gets lost in the school budget rounding, if even that.

After all, in Downtown Edison, history dictates that one-hand washes the other and both hands pick your pocket - when the Edison Council meets up with one of the Board of Mythomania's defeated school budgets. Don't think so? Just look at the last few 'Council Cuts' (below) to  Defeated School Budgets - every one of them still came with school tax increase, after the 'Council Cut.' More like paper cuts than real cuts!

So, I remind my friends on the Edison Council - when voters reject a school tax levy, their intent is to rein in $pending and actually reduce tax bills - not come back with a nominal reduction in the proposed school tax increase.

Real $pending Cuts should result when voters reject the school's proposed tax levy.

Here's some history of the school tax rate with the most recent voter rejected budgets:
And, if you're like me - here's a picture of those school tax rates with a "Staffing Shell Game' background - a disconcerting & disrespectful practice that continues on today:

Anyhoo, I'm hoping that this is the year that the Edison Council steps up to the plate and respects the wishes of the residents and puts an end to the Out-of-Control $pending going on over there on Mythomania Lane.

Hey, we all can hope, can't we?!?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

You know it's the Silly Season when..

Super Dr. Richard 'Build the Trust" O'Malley decided to jump the gun and send a not so subtle message to the Edison Township Council in the SL article below before they had a chance to review the School District's $213.9 million Defeated School Budget - so here's another message for my friends on the Council.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Super O'Malley has spoken on Defeated School Budget - Council can go home now!?!

Just saw the piece in the Star-Ledger regarding the school budgets voted down in Belleville, Edison and North Bergen - you can see it here.

Well, looks like Super Dr. Richard 'Build the Trust' O'Malley doesn't think the Council will do anything substantial with that $213.9 million Bloated Pot of Money they (now) call Defeated School Budget for 2013-14.

Guess the Edison Township Council can put their pencils away and go back to their Municipal Budget for 2013 of $118.2 million with no property tax increase.

Here's some of the piece:
"I’m upset that the budget wasn’t passed because we presented a strong financial plan for education," Edison Superintendent Richard O’Malley said. "But voters responded and we have to adjust. They’re the ones who pay for the costs of education in Edison Township."

The budget Edison voters rejected included a 1.5 percent tax levy increase — well below the cap.
When voters reject a budget, the spending plan is reviewed by the town’s governing body, which can make cuts or leave the budget intact.

O’Malley said he does not expect Edison’s town council to impose deep cuts on the school budget.

"I can’t speak for the council, but I expect they’ll be reasonable. They’ve always been supportive of the district," O’Malley said. "We put together a budget we felt was the strongest spending plan, so any cuts, if there are cuts, will have an impact."

Just two thingies; Senor O'Malley is the last person I would look to for anything that has to do with School District budgets, numbers or their presentation and Poor test scores and Out-of-Control $pending Funded by and Hidden behind Re-purposed Tax Relief money hardly constitutes a strong financial plan.

Uh..just for the heck of it - the Edison Council should take a peek at that $213.9 million School Budget and see what they find. You know, just for a laugh - just like Senor O'Malley's comments above.

But hey, at least we're comforted in the knowledge that while Senor O'Malley can't speak for the council, he certainly has no problem telling them what he expects.

Anyhoo, this is an election year here in Downtown Edison - so let's see who steps up to the plate and respects the wishes of the residents by rejecting this budget and cuts this school tax levy substantially. You know, just like the School Board deceptively increased $pending substantially on the backs of the residents and taxpayers.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Board of Mythomania's Defeated School Budget - on to the Edison Council!

Well, the residents rejected the Board of Mythomania's $213.9 million Out-of-Control $pending Nightmare called a School Budget for 2013-14. That's good - but you really have to scratch your head when those responsible for this taxpayer abuse get re-elected! Who do you think is responsible for this School Budget? But I digress, so let's move on.

Since the School Budget was rejected, it now goes over to the Edison Council for review. The School Board has 2 days from certification of the election results to provide them with a 'Defeated Budget Package' (see below) and no later than April 24, 2013. Then, the two bodies get together and review the School Budget. It is now the Edison Council's responsibility to certify the School tax levy (amount of money necessary for school purposes to be raised by taxes for the ensuing school year).

Now, the Edison Council can do any number of things here. They can respect the residents' rejection of this School Budget and cut the School tax levy. They can do nothing and leave it as is or they could actually raise the school tax levy although that is not likely.

Either way, the School tax levy has be certified no later than May 20, 2013.

With respect to the 'Defeated Budget Package' that is provided to the Edison Council, there's a whole list of thingies required. Here's some of the thingies for their light reading:
  • It includes a line-item School Budget including actual expenditures for the previous school year, actual budgeted amount for the current school year, proposed budgeted amount for the ensuing school year, and all the supporting documentation and narrative explanations.
  • Numbers of professional and nonprofessional staff during the current school year - together with reasons for any increase or decrease.
  • Employee and Labor contracts, etc.
  • Pupil enrollment by grade
  • Salary schedules by employee - current and budget year account and salary for all employees.
  • Explanation of any need for any capital projects and or deposits into capital reserves.
  • Applicable portions of the Taxpayers Guide to Education Spending.
  • Any other documentation deemed necessary.
Anyhoo, let's hope the Edison Council does what's right for the residents and taxpayers here in Downtown Edison.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Board of Education Election - April 16, 2013

Here's yesterday's preliminary results from the Township Clerk's Office. The budget was defeated by a vote of 3,020 to 2,852. The incumbents won re-election.

This Excel file is by District - so, if anyone wants it, just drop me a note and you're welcome to it or you can go here to see the votes by district.

Edison School Board Election Results

Haven't seen anything published yet but I'm told that the $213.9 million School Budget was Defeated and the Incumbents re-elected.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Edison School Board Election today

Well, today's the day to get out and make your voice heard. If you don't think it's important - then think about this tad bit of info.

It's $213.9 million and comes with another tax increase taking the School Tax Rate up to $2.710 from last year's $2.668.

For Your Calendar Year 2012 Property Taxes - the School Tax represented 56% of your Total Property Tax Bill and 88% of Your Property Tax Increase in 2012.

Vote today!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Edison School Board Election - Tomorrow!

Well, tomorrow is the School Board election here in Downtown Edison and the polls are open from 12 noon to 9:00PM.

Whichever way you come down on the $213.9 million school budget for 2013-14 or the six candidates vying for the three open seats, please Vote!

Make your voice heard - for it is those who show up to Vote - Decide!

Just a FYI - when looking at the Public Question on the ballot, recognize that the $189,518,861 you're being asked to approve represents the Fiscal Year Tax Levy (what you'll be taxed on) on the $213,869,755 Spending in the 2013-14 budget, if approved.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Board of Mythomania's $213.9 million School Budget - Vote NO!!

Geez, 'Maintaining the Balance Between Quality Education & Fiscal Responsibility.'

Here's another way to look at it:

Poor Test Scores and
Out of Control $pending Funded by and Hidden Behind
Re-purposed Tax Relief Money!

Vote No on April 16.

Friday, April 12, 2013

'We work well together' - so say the Edison BoE Incumbents!?!

You know, for once, I agree with them - and that's why You should Vote these taxpayer un-friendly incumbents out on April 16.

Now, in all fairness, I do think that Lori Bonderowitz has made an effort to look out for the taxpayers, especially with the labor contracts, and she will get my vote but there's no doubt that we need to break up Maeroff's silent majority board.

It's time to get this School Board under control and Stop the Out-of-Control $pending going on over there on Mythomania Lane.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'Better Schools - Better Future' - Candidate slate

I just received the flyer below from the Candidates challenging the incumbents for the 3 open spots on the Edison Board of Education on April 16. Apparently, Messrs. Patil, Dharayan & Szilagyi are running on one ticket under the above name - 'Better Schools - Better Future.'

Now, in all fairness, since I posted a flyer from the incumbents (Bonderowitz, Ward & Iyer) with their message in this blog, I'm posting their flyer too below.

Don't know and haven't yet met Messrs. Patil & Dharayan and look forward to meeting and hearing from them, as well as all the candidates, at tomorrow night's Candidate Night.

Here's the front of their flyer:

And here's the back of their flyer:

If at all possible, you should try and make Candidates Night tomorrow night at 7:00PM. It's important to meet and hear from all the Candidates to help make an informed decision on April 16.

Edison BoE Candidate (A-2) - Ajay V. Patil

My apologies to Mr. Patil for misspelling his last name in this blog. It's Patil not Patel. Thank you for correcting my mistake Mr. Patil.

Beware the 'Perils' of Perilstein - some more Kisses & Hugs!

Well, here we go again - some more Kisses & Hugs for the Edison Board of Mythomania! Just saw the piece by former Council Member Melissa Perilstein and Maeroff & Co. back room supporter. You can read it here.

Now, once again, Ms. Perilstein or anyone else for that matter can support whomever they like but a bit of fair disclosure would be helpful. She's on their 'Foundation' Committee and their double-secret effort to sell the EHS alumni directory.

While I recognize that this is Downtown Edison and the supporters of  Maeroff and his 'Silent Majority' Board think if you keep repeating something - it'll somehow be true! This whole thing about the 2% is just mis-leading and the drop in the tax base is even better. She says they kept it 2% even with the drop in the tax base - yeah, they did, by passing the shortfall in ratables on to US!

Seriously, take a look at the previous post where you can see what actually happened with their Out-of-Control $pending and how they actually kept the tax levy at 2% over the last 3 years. Don't be fooled. Don't let them disguise this Out-of-Control $pending spree financed with Your taxpayer relief money - with better, smarter & more efficient $pending.

It's simple - they used all that hoarded taxpayer relief money to keep the tax levy at 2% while increasing $pending over $15 million over the last 3 years. Yet, they want you to believe that they did something to get $pending and taxes under control.
They Didn't!!

Fiscally responsible - don't think so. More like Fiscal Chicanery & Budget Gimmickry! This Board has got to be most disingenuous Board that I've ever seen. Their budgets are nothing more than uncontrolled big pots of money that they spend anyway they want and don't report back to you on and their budget presentations nothing more that half-truths and mis-leading comments about what's in them. They're sticking it to the residents/taxpayers big time to fund their excesses.

So, no matter how many supporters they bring out with their same message, it's still Not true. It's an Out-of-Control $pending Nightmare over there on Mythomania Lane and they're hoping that you don't pay attention and actually look at what's in their budgets.

There's a reason I refer to them as the Board of Mythomania - and I'm not on anybody's side like Ms. Perilstein.

Anyhoo, as for the 3 open seats, vote for who you want but don't vote for the incumbents based on Ms. Perilstein's belief in their fiscal responsibility - there isn't any by this Board. If there were, you'd of seen less budget gimmickry and explanation and a School Tax Rate sitting where it should be.

Hey, if they can't tell you the truth about what they did in the face of reality - why would you trust them or anything they put before you? You shouldn't!

You know, we really need to get away from this Maeroff & Co. & supporters vs. the big bad Local Dems here in Downtown Edison. There needs to be more focus on being fair to all the stakeholders and less political maneuvering at the taxpayers expense.

What politicians call a clever mis-direction of the truth to achieve a greater good - others simply call a lie. Don't fall for it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Maeroff's buddy patting him on the back - Letter to Editor

Just read this letter to the editor  by Aimee Szilagyi Corso in the HNT today here. Now, I don't have a problem with her supporting Board of Mythomania Prez. Maeroff or encouraging you to support the $213.8 'Pot of Money' called a School Budget for 2013-14. It would of been nice if she identified herself as a former board member but what the hey.

Seriously, could she be any more off base with her rhetoric or more outrageous with her 'Solomon-like comments or 'The road to excellence is not always a straight line or understood by all.' Really, that's good for a chuckle. Of course, she's entitled to her own view but it would of been nice is she backed up her comments with something more than just words since their budgets tell a different story, which this Maeroff Board goes out of their way NOT to tell you.

Anyhoo, I consider myself a friend of Maeroff too so here's another way to look at it. For the last 3 years, they increased $pending by 15.2 million, the Calendar Year tax Levy by 7.7 million and the School Tax by 22-Cents or some 8.8% bringing the School Tax Rate up to $2.71 per hundred in this 2013-14 Budget. And that's after they Re-purposed some 7 million last year in Taxpayer Relief Money and used it increase $pending - and threw in an extra couple of million they stashed away in the capital reserves.

Maybe it's me, but how is Solomon-like when you just Re-purpose hoarded taxpayer relief money to fund additional $pending to keep the tax levy at 2%?

It's an Out-of-Control $pending Nightmare going on over there on Mythomania Lane.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who does understand what they're doing over there and I'm telling you to Vote this Budget Down on April 16.

We need to Stop the Uncontrolled $pending and make them return all that taxpayer-relief money they used to increase $pending over the last 3 years.

Fairy tales are nice but don't fall for it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Top 10 Reasons

why you gotta like the Edison Board of Mythomania using 'the Kids' in their Get out the Vote Campaign:

10. Because Super Dr. Richard 'Build the Trust' O'Malley wanted to give 'the Kids' a Civics lesson.

9. Because it's far easier to sell an Out-of-Control $pending Nightmare to 'the Kids' than it is to the Residents.

8. Because 'the Kids' could really spare some time from their classroom work to make a video for the Board of Mythomania.

7. Because it's important to get 'the Kids' involved early in the wonderful world of Politics in Downtown Edison.

6. Because Super O'Malley likes directing 'Edison is' school videos since he likes Edison so much.

5. Because the Maeroff Board has moved on from Mis-informing the 'Captive Audience' to Mis-using 'the Kids.'

4. Because the Maeroff Board believes the best people to help sell their Bloated School Budgets are those that don't even know what's in it.

3. Because Maeroff and his 'Silent Majority' Board relinquished control to Super O'Malley a long time ago and they're afraid of him.

2. Because Maeroff likes hiding behind Un-plausible deniability.

1. Because 'Edison is' what we make it and using 'the Kids' to advance a political agenda is more than just a tad bit Shameful!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Edison is Me too - EdisonBOE You Tube Video - Get out the Vote?!?

Well, nothing surprises me anymore here in Downtown Edison but I really have to say that using Kids in a You Tube Video to get out the vote for the April 16 BoE Election is a tad bit tacky. You can see it here.

Now, that's not to say that the Board of Mythomania isn't entitled to have their own 'Get out the Vote' campaign - they are. What's problematic about this is they're using Kids to hype the various programs in the schools and I'm not sure they even realize they're being used to 'Get out the Vote.' And, even if they do realize it, do they understand that they're being used to get a Yes Vote? Certainly, they're not doing this to get a No Vote - are they?

Since this whole thing is about Kids saying Edison is this and Edison is that with a Vote sign hanging over their heads - did the parents of all these Kids all agree to participate?

You know, it's one thing for the ETEA to put up Yes signs on the school budget but quite another to use the Kids to 'Get out the Vote.'

Anyhoo, Edison is Me Too - and My Me part finds this part of the Board of Mythomania's 'Get out the Vote' Campaign to be a whole lot tacky!

But hey, at least we're comforted in the knowledge that the Kids could find the time to do this video.

Edison BoE Incumbent Flyer - Curriculum Vitae-a-Mundo!?!

You know, with the silly season upon us, it's funny that the Edison Board of Mythomania incumbents are the first out of the blocks with their campaign literature. As a general rule here in Downtown Edison, these incumbent campaign flyers are usually loaded with outlandish claims of what they've done for us during their last term. Hey, who could forget Council Member Rob 'March on Trenton' Karabinchak and his claims of pinching every penny for us here in Downtown Edison!?! What a guy!

But I digress, so lets move on. So, you can imagine my surprise when someone left this BoE flyer in my door yesterday. It's a curriculum vitae of all the incumbents with no indication of what they've done and accomplished over their individual terms! Seriously now, they have nothing to say to the residents about what they did for the last three years? Oh wait, I forgot - they're part of the 'Silent Majority.' Unbelievable!

We're supposed to vote for these people because they're on certain committees, knowing where they work or what degrees they have? Isn't that what you do when you're trying to get on the board for the first time and not after your on and have a record? Nothing to say about your record?

Further, they claim this - 'Maintaining the Balance Between Quality Education & Fiscal Sustainability.' Not for nothing, but what the heck does that mean?!? How do you define 'quality education' - certainly not from the NJ ASK scores and what is 'Fiscal Sustainability' - renegotiate some labor contracts and just turn around and $pend the money somewhere else?

Finally, 'Keep the Focus on Educational Excellence' - once again, what the heck does that mean?!? How do you define 'educational excellence' - hire additional unbudgeted staffing and hide it from the residents in the budgets you're asking the residents to approve?

Now, with all due respect, Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability and Integrity & Independence are all nice words but don't you find it odd that not one of them points to a single thing they did while on the board that supports these words they're using?

Anyhoo, this campaign flyer is nice & glossy and probably cost a few bucks to print. Too bad there's nothing on it that gives you a single reason to vote for these incumbents again - unless of course, you like curriculum vitae as opposed to a proven record of performance in your board members. If they won't tell you what they're accomplished - why would you vote for them? What are we in the 'Trust Me' mode - I can't tell you what I did but vote for me anyway so I can do it again!?!

Here's their campaign flyer:

PS - please don't leave any more campaign flyers at my door. The less I see, the less I'll have to say.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Today's Sentinel - Edison school board sends $213.8m budget to voters

Well, here we go again with Board of Mythomania Prez. Gene Maeroff & his 'Silent Majority' of board members.

'The 2013-14 budget is now in the hands of the voters' so reads the piece you can see here.

Ok, if so, then You should laugh and then kick this $213.8m Out-of-Control $pending 'Pot of Money' called a budget to the curb and
Vote NO!
You can see my take on this budget in previous posts and what this budget will actually cost You but it's hard to read this piece and not comment on all the Blah..Blah and cherry-picking going on with Maeroff's take on this budget. I take it that Maeroff got some pointers from Super Dr. Richard 'Build the Trust' O'Malley's School of Budget Presentations.

So, let me start by saying that this Budget raises $pending (again) by $1.7m, has reduced aid of ($1.2m) and hence, an Increase in the Local Tax Levy of $2.9m. Now, think about could aid go down when we received the same state aid as last year and actually got an extra $500k? It can't! They're just sticking us again with that $1.9m in Taxpayer Relief money that they used to increase $pending last year. Don't see any of that in this piece.

Next, those Local tax Levy numbers he's using of $186.6 for 2012-13 and $189.5m for 2013-14 are what you'll see on the Ballot - not what's in their budget. Look on page 2 of their budget and you'll see those numbers are $188.2m and $191.1m, respectively. The reason why there's a difference is because there's some previously approved debt that doesn't go on the ballot. That's a tad bit misleading since the Local tax rate is calculated off the $191.1m and not the $189.5m. Don't see that explained in this piece.

Moving on, here's where you'll find the most egregious and disingenuous comments by Maeroff. 

"It increases taxes." Maeroff said of the budget, 'but that's beyond our control." he then goes to say that $40 of the $75 tax increase is the result of Edison losing tax ratables. Further, he says 'People are having their properties reassessed and businesses are moving out," he said. 'People are paying higher taxes just to produce the same amount as previous years.' He goes on to say that the balance of the tax increase ($35) is related to the district's operating expenses.

Seriously now, who writes this stuff - 'beyond our control.' Well, the drop in ratables has been going on for the past few years and it's beyond the resident/taxpayers control too but we have to absorb it. What has the School Board done to lessen the burden? Did they look for ways to cut back to help the residents/taxpayers? 

No - they just continue $pending away and pass along the shortfall in ratables  on to us - just like they Re-purposed our tax relief money to $pending.

Yeah, 'people are paying higher taxes just to produce the same amount as last year' because they won't cut anything when ratables drop year after year. So, stinkie-poo on that one-sided rhetoric.

Next, we have the request for additional staff. He says they want to add 3 teachers and 4 library aides plus 1 other not mentioned for a total of 8 new staff in this budget.
But wait, he doesn't tell you that already added 7 Unbudgeted Heads to payroll in this current school year - that's 3 Guidance Counselors, 1 Secondary Supervisor, 1 Data System Analyst, 1 Nurse and 1 Lunch Aid. It's called the 'Staffing Shell Game', which you can also read about in a previous post and see how the Unbudgeted heads have grown to over 390 over the past few years.

So, why would you let them have 8 new positions when they're already added 7 Unbudgeted positions and aren't telling you about it in this budget that they're asking you to approve? You shouldn't. And wouldn't knowing that they've already added 7 new positions have an impact on your decision to give them 8 more? It would. Until they end this game of hide and seek, you shouldn't approve any new additions to staff.

Anyhoo, this is typical of this board, which is out of touch with reality and lacks any modicum of honest and open disclosure with the residents about what they're doing with these School Budgets and Your tax dollars.

You know, unless you wake up and smell the dandelions over there on Mythomania Lane and Stop handing them 'Big Pots of Money' to $pend at will and without any budget reporting or accountability to the residents/taxpayers of Downtown Edison, they will continue to hand you these disingenuous budget explanations and pick your pockets ad nauseam.

PS - You can also see Fred Wolke's letter on the school budget here in the same paper today.