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Perry re-elected as mayor when Middletown officials reorganize for 2020

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MIDDLETOWN – For the second consecutive year, Republican Township Committeeman Anthony S. Perry will serve as Middletown’s mayor and Republican Township Committeeman Anthony P. Fiore will serve as deputy mayor.

Perry and Fiore were elected to those positions by their fellow members of the Middletown Township Committee during the 2020 reorganization meeting on Jan. 5 at the municipal building.

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In Middletown’s form of government, residents do not directly elect a mayor. In January, the five members of the governing body select a committee member to serve as mayor for the year. A second committeeman is chosen to serve as deputy mayor.

Before Perry and Fiore took the oath of office for their positions, Rick Hibell and Kevin Settembrino were sworn in to begin serving new terms as committee members. Hibell and Settembrino retained their seats in the Nov. 5 election and will serve three-year terms.

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden administered the oath of office to Hibell and state Assemblyman-elect Gerald Scharfenberger administered the oath of office to Settembrino,

Perry, Fiore, Settembrino and Hibell are joined by Patricia A. Snell on the governing body. Republicans hold a 5-0 majority on the committee.

Following a unanimous “yes” vote to re-elect Perry as mayor, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone administered the oath of office to Perry, who was accompanied by his wife.

When it came time to elect a deputy mayor, Settembrino nominated Fiore for the position. All five committee members voted “yes” and Scharfenberger administered the oath of office to Fiore.

In his remarks to those in attendance, Perry said, “Twelve months ago when I was first sworn in as mayor, we laid out an ambitious vision for Middletown and its future. That vision quickly began to take shape and eventually would grow into all that we achieved in 2019.

“This Township Committee did not just conduct the business of the town. We set our sights and expectations higher than before and I know we rose to the occasion. As promised, we provided our residents with a responsible budget which reduced our tax rate by more than 2.25% without reducing any of the services our residents expect and deserve,” he said.

In his remarks, Perry discussed items such as Middletown’s Tax Dollar Receipt calculator, which allows residents to see “penny for penny where tax dollars go;” breaking ground on a new town hall; an increase in recycling efforts; fiscal discipline; and development, recreation and affordable housing.

Perry, who said Middletown is the first municipality in New Jersey to acquire a Styrofoam recycling machine using grant funding, said the township has achieved silver certification from Sustainable Jersey.

According to sustainablejersey.com, “Sustainable Jersey certification is a prestigious designation for municipal governments in New Jersey. Municipalities that achieve the certification are considered by their peers, by state government and by the experts and civic organizations in New Jersey to be among the leading municipalities.”

“Despite this governing body being the first municipality to stand up against special interests from Trenton who believe they should dictate housing policies, Middletown is not turning its back on those in need,” Perry said.

During the meeting, officials introduced an ordinance which will “acquire a neglected piece of property” which would be used to construct a 100% affordable housing project for U.S. military veterans.

Perry also said a property in the township will be repurposed “into an an additional recreation hub.” He said more than $6 million will go toward improving Middletown’s parks in 2020.

In his speech, the mayor commended the municipality’s law enforcement officers.

“Our officers are the finest, most professional and honorable in New Jersey,” Perry said. “They will forever have the support of the five of us sitting up here.”

In his remarks, Fiore said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my colleague Mayor Perry, who has done a tremendous job and really represents this municipality at the highest level he possibly can.

“In the Township Committee form of government, it is really the committee’s job to elect a leader to represent the committee and represent the township for the entire year. I nominated the mayor this year and I think last year and I will tell you he has done a tremendous job,” Fiore said.

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