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Middle Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

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By Vince Conti

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Middle Township Committee appointed Neil Young as the township’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), at its Dec. 5 meeting
Young moves to Middle Township from Cape May, where he also served as CFO, as well as serving as the city manager for one year.
Young leaves the City of Cape May with an almost $10 million surplus, multiple sources of revenue that offset the burden on property taxes, and a 2022 budget with a zero tax rate increase.
In Cape May, Young managed a $22 million general fund budget as well as another $11.5 million in three self-financing utilities. Middle Township has a $24.4 million 2022 budget with an additional sewer utility budget of $5.5 million.
The committee also approved an intergovernmental transfer for Daniel Shustack as a senior accounting clerk. Shustack worked for Young in Cape May before a brief move to county government. In Cape May Shustack served as a senior accounting clerk and purchasing agent. Shustack said he was happy to be reunited with Young.
Middle Township Mayor Timothy Donohue welcomed both men to what he termed the Middle Township family. Donohue emphasized the importance of the CFO position, calling it one of the top three in the township along with the administrator and police chief. He also cautioned that these are “extremely challenging financial times.”
In 2023, Middle Township will have to deal with an over $300,000 emergency appropriation that was necessitated by an error in the preparation of the township’s 2022 budget by previous CFO David Elliott. Elliott resigned in August after less than a year in the position. He replaced Susan Quinones who retired in January.
In addition, the 2023 budget process in the township must incorporate a 21% increase in employee healthcare premiums as well as the loss of COVID-relief funds which ended in 2022. The township’s 2022 budget used $900,000 of those funds and still required a 5.5% increase in property taxes.
Both Young and Shustack may also still have some unfinished business with Cape May City. Both were among six recipients of payments from the city’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) fund in addition to their salaries in 2020. The additional compensation was a decision made by then-City Manager Jerry Inderwies Jr. who said they were for work done on behave of the city’s affordable housing initiative. The funds for the payments came from an affordable housing trust fund.
The city council took the position that the trust fund monies were inappropriately used and has vowed to “make the trust fund whole.” The controversy has been ongoing for two years with no resolution. Whether or not Young and Shustack are still engaged in some form of dispute with the city over the payments made to them is unclear. Cape May City has publicly explained very little of the ongoing efforts to repay the trust fund.
At the Cape May City Council meeting, the night after Young’s appointment was confirmed in Middle Township, Councilwomen Lorraine Baldwin praised his tenure in the city and said he will be “hard to replace.”
The search for a new CFO in Cape May has now begun.

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