Costly Snow Removal May Force Budget Cuts in Suburbs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The cost of this brutal winter will be felt long after the snow has melted.

    Areas like Middletown, N.J., are cutting programs and other services to partly make up for the high cost of snow removal.

    The community programs run out of the township's arts center are all on the chopping block. And so are group trips to Broadway shows and Yankees and Mets games arranged by the Parks and Recreation Department.

    You can blame all that snow, and the hole it has blown in the budget, according to Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.

    The township is also hurting from homeowners and commercial businesses challenging their tax valuations, gouging a $4 million gap in the $64 million budget.

    There's also a new 2 percent statewide cap on raising property taxes, forcing communities like Middletown to stretch even further.

    So among the cuts being proposed are ten police jobs and 16 positions in the Parks and Recreation Department.

    The idea of losing the parks positions is particularly upsetting to some local parents, who depend on afterschool programs and other recreation opportunities.

    "It enriches our lives, our kids' lives," said Margaret Metro, 39, the mother of two children.

    The township administrator is still hoping to find a way to avoid any cuts.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY