In his first address at the township's new mayor on Sunday, Gerard Scharfenberger said the township is planning to roll out a "Buy Middletown" Property Tax Benefit Card in 2013.
The purpose of the card is to reward residents for shopping local, by reducing their property taxes by a percentage of the amount they spend at participating Middletown busineses.
"This is a win/win all around," said Scharfenberger. "Businesses benefit from increased sales and foot traffic, taxpayers benefit in that they have a simple, effective way to lower their property taxes, and the town benefits by stimulating the local economy."
"We also feel that this program will make Middletown more attractive to businesses considering opening somewhere in the area, " he said. The program is currently being reviewed by township attorneys.
More than 150 people crowded the Town Hall meeting room Sunday to witness the oath, to accept an appointment to a committee, or to congratulate family members who stepped up to serve their town.
They heard Scharfenberger recap other initiatives that are expected to bring revenue, economic boost and jobs to Middletown in 2013, such as:
- The opening at the end of January of the new Junior Titans ice rink will open, offering residents and high school ice hockey teams a convenient and top quality skating facility.
- The springtime groundbreaking of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center project at a longstanding vacant, former AT&T facility and its promise to bring 300 new high-paying jobs, capital investment and boost to the economy.
- The fall classes at the new and ambitious Trinity Hall all-girls high school, which is leasing space at Croydon Hall.
- The continued presence of FEMA at the former Avaya property in Lincroft, which is addressing the needs of Superstorm Sandy victims.
He added that the newly formed Economic Development Committee and the Historic Preservation Commission will also be fully operational this year and add to the township's economic growth.
Single stream recycling's recent debut in Middletown has been a success, the mayor said. The combinination of revenue increase and savings to town is $20,000 per month, Scharfenberger said. "We feel the staggering sum could easily be doubled, if compliance increased across the township," he said.