Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Opinion: Lets keep Middletown Moving Forward

Brandon Chafee, a lifelong resident of Middletown, civil engineer, and treasurer of the Middletown DTC. 
Being born and raised in Middletown has given me the opportunity to watch the town grow as I have. Middletown has changed substantially for the better during my lifetime. Main St, once a place people avoided, has become a thriving destination. The river front is on the verge of generational change with the prospects of clean up and development. Our public school system is on the rise and people in surrounding towns see Middletown as a desirable place to move. Things are looking good for our town, and Ben Florsheim is the best choice for mayor to continue with this progress.

Ben wants to preserve the natural beauty of Middletown’s riverfront while making it accessible to all residents.  His vision for a combination of parks, recreational facilities, and light development would mean that all people could access and enjoy the riverfront. This will add to the growing list of reasons to visit and move to town. Giuliano’s plan seems to be some sort of privatization scheme that will push for large commercial developments on a seasonal flood plain.

Ben wants to foster Middletown’s public school system, building on the progress that has been made in recent years.  Ben understands a strong school system leads to a strong community, increasing property values, and makes Middletown a desirable location for those with kids or dreams of starting families.  Contrary to that, Giuliano recently pushed for an amendment to the city’s latest budget that would have flat lined education funding jeopardizing the progress we’ve been making.

Ben wants to analyze town functions and determine where we can save money and help reduce redundant charges to tax payers. He is the only candidate positioned to come in with a fresh set of eyes and be able to improve processes and create efficiencies for tax payers.  Ben has no family connections or network of friends at City Hall, freeing him from conflict of interest on that front.  Giuliano on the other hand has openly bragged that he’s “related to half of city hall”. Giuliano had six years as mayor to improve processes at city hall, so what exactly did he accomplish in that time?

Ben has run an honest campaign based on vision and policy.  I have yet to hear Giuliano or his surrogates articulate what his vision for our city is except empty platitudes like “growing the grand list”.  Despite all the talk of his former experience as mayor, I haven’t heard them speak of any tangible accomplishments he had during that time.  Not a single one.  Despite all the accusations that Ben will raise taxes, Seb has a proven record of raising taxes over $11 million while he was mayor. 

Giuliano’s camapign seems to spend more time talking about Ben and spreading outright lies than talking about what Seb has accomplished or what he wants to do. Over the last month our town has witnessed a level of vitriol and toxicity that is unbecoming of our community’s character. We don’t need these divisive politics and Trump like tactics in our town. We are better than this Middletown. 

For these reasons I am supporting Ben Florsheim for mayor, the ROW A Slate for common council, treasurer, board of education, planning and zoning, and board of assessments and appeals on November 5th.  I hope you join me in casting a vote to move our town forward and continue with the great progress we have made!

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