RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: TAXPAYER BUDGET Q&A SLATED

rb boro hall 041416taxesFor the 10th year in a row, Red Bank borough government department heads are scheduled to offer presentations on their 2016 budget proposals at a public information session scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at at borough hall.

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RED BANK: STEEP PARKING FEE HIKE PROPOSED

rb parking 041416 2Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, while metered spots on the street would see a 50-percent increase. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s council laid two controversial proposals on the table Wednesday night:

• a budget that debuts with a 5.5-percent property-tax increase

• and a plan to soften the blow to taxpayers with a sharp increase in parking fees.

The backlash to the parking plan was immediate, both in the audience and on the governing body’s dais.

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RED BANK: PARKING IDEA SPUTTERS

rb white meter 112415A proposal to extend meter enforcement hours appeared to get no traction Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe Red Bank council postponed the introduction of the first majority-Republican budget in a generation Wednesday.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who’s heading up the budget-writing finance committee, said she wanted more time to hear suggestions from residents and business owners on how to reduce a prospective tax increase.

But one of Schwabenbauer’s own suggestions — increasing the number of hours for which metered parking is in effect — appeared to be a non-starter.

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RED BANK: GOP DRAFT BUDGET HAS TAXES UP

schwabenbauer 010216 2Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee, says there’s been a “severe” drop in revenue from last year along with an increase in expenses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe first majority-Republican Red Bank budget in a generation is set to make its debut this week, and it comes with a likely tax hike.

While officials are hopeful they can trim the increase, the draft budget shows a 5.5-percent jump in the municipal levy, or roughly $115 a year for the owner of a residential property assessed at the average $354,497, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer tells redbankgreen.

One way to soften the impact, she said, is to extend the hours for which parking fees are collected.

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SEA BRIGHT: MAN OK AFTER FALL FROM ROOF

HOT-TOPIC_03A worker was reported to be OK after he fell from the roof of the McLoone’s Rum Runner restaurant under construction in Sea Bright Thursday, police Chief John Sorrentino tells redbankgreen.

Michael Cruz, whose name and town of residence were not immediately available, fell an estimated 30-to-40 feet in the accident, Sorrentino said.

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RED BANK: DEADLINE ON TAXES EXTENDED

taxesRed Bank property owners will have until August 25 to pay their third-quarter tax bills without incurring a penalty, under a resolution past by the borough council Wednesday night.

The grace period usually ends on the 10th day of the month quarterly taxes are due. But because the tax rate for the new budget year was not certified by Monmouth County until July 17, bills won’t be mailed until July 31 – and the law requires a 25-day payment period, according to tax collector Ashlesha Deshplande. Still, for those who pay later than August 25, the interest applies to the full 25-day interim, she cautioned. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LIBRARY ADDS MORE HOURS

rb library 1 040913HOT-TOPIC_03Continuing its recovery from a period of shrinkage, the Red Bank Public Library will add seven hours to its weekly operations starting July 6. The West Front Street facility will open at 10 a.m. Mondays, three hours earlier than at present, and close at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, four hours later than the present close.

The change was enabled by the resolution of budget issues and the recent hire of several part-time workers, said library Director Elizabeth McDermott. The institution will be open 38 hours per week, still well short of the 54 hours of operation five years ago, she said. Saturday operations, which had been curtailed, were partially restored last October. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: NO TAX INCREASE

dupontCouncilman Mike DuPont credited borough employees for financial sacrifices that helped keep taxes level with last year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank property owners won’t be getting a 3.1-percent local property tax for 2015, as previously expected.

In fact, there will be no increase at all under a municipal budget adopted by the borough council Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY AVERTS PREDICTED CRISIS

rbpl 1 102113Dire forecasts made by library board members who resigned a year ago have not panned out, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Article updated with post-publication comment below]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Nearly one year after a mass resignation by trusteees over budget issues that they said imperiled its future, the Red Bank Public Library hasn’t collapsed into the river it overlooks.

Nor has it been swamped by red ink. In fact, the institution is doing quite well, says its new director, Elizabeth McDermott, who recently accepted the job on a permanent basis – after first rejecting it – largely because of the turnaround she helped guide.

“The building didn’t fall down,” McDermott told redbankgreen earlier this month, following a meeting at which the board approved a new $1 million budget. “In fact, we’re growing.”

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RED BANK: COUNCIL BUSILY CLOSES OUT YEAR

jane eigenrauch 121714Retired librarian Jane Eigenrauch gets a goodbye hug, above, and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis reacts to a tribute at her final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

juanita lewis 121714At its final scheduled meeting of 2014, the Red Bank council killed a $2.2 million bond ordinance to pay for new water meters amid warnings that a shortage of existing devices could delay new construction in 2015.

The council also:

• approved a new labor agreement covering nearly half the municipal workforce

• extended a moratorium on fees some developers have to pay for parking deficiencies.

• bid adieu to one of its own members

• and honored a newly-retired librarian who had been the borough government’s longest-serving employee.

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LINCROFT: BROOKDALE OKS MASS LAYOFF

HOT-TOPIC_03Brookdale Community College in Lincroft will lay off 210 employees next summer, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.

About 250 staffers, students and alumni packed a “boisterous” hearing to protest the move on Thursday, according to the report. But the school’s board of trustees, citing a growing budget hole, approved the layoffs, which are to be followed by new hirings, app.com reports.

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RED BANK: WEST SIDERS MARCH IN PROTEST

rb march 102514 4rb march 102514 2About three dozen protesters marched through Red Bank Saturday morning to object to rising property taxes, a proposed spray park at Bellhaven Nature Area, borough hiring practices and what they termed police “aggressiveness.”

Organizer Freddie Boynton said the event, spotlighting concerns of West Siders, was not meant to be partisan, though it called for “new leadership” at borough hall.  “There’s a lot of frustration on this side of town,” said Boynton, a retired DPW employee. “We’re not being treated like the rest of the town is.”  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LIBRARY ADDS SATURDAY HOURS

rbpl stairs 051514The stairs to the library’s children’s room, where Saturday programming returns on October 18 with a Halloween Craft Party. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the trustees of the Red Bank Public Library voted to resume part-day Saturday operations Thursday night.

The West Front Street facility will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and “all services, from borrowing books and movies to using the public computers and Wi-Fi, reading newspapers and magazines, and attending special events and programs, will be available to children and adults,” according to a press release issued Friday.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY MAY RESTORE SATURDAYS

rb library 092214The resumption of Saturday service is expected to occur as early as this weekend, officials said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Moving to reverse one of the more controversial actions of its predecessors, members of the recently reconstituted board of the Red Bank Public Library are expected to clear the way for a resumption of Saturday operations this week.

A special meeting of the board has been scheduled for Thursday evening, solely for the purpose of voting on the proposal. That would allow the facility to be open as soon as this Saturday, acting director Elizabeth McDermott tells redbankgreen.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR WORKER WAS ’80 ALUM

rbr 090414 3James King had worked at the school for more than 30 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank Regional officials identified the employee who died after a medical issue on campus Thursday as a maintenance worker who was also a graduate of the Little Silver school.

In a statement issued Saturday, the deceased was identified as James King, a Neptune resident a member of the class of 1980.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR WORKER DIES

rbr 090414After-school activities were canceled on the first day of school following the death of a worker. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The death of a school employee after a medical issue suffered on campus at Red Bank Regional High led to the cancellation of student activities Thursday, the first day of the new school year.

School officials declined to identify the employee, pending notification of family members.

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FAIR HAVEN: TEACHERS SETTLE CONTRACT

nelson ribon 042814 3 Superintendent Nelson Ribon fielded pointed questions from parents about the teachers’ contract and other issues at two packed meetings in April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

After two years without a contract, Fair Haven school teachers have approved a new collective bargaining agreement, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The unresolved contract was among several flash points when parents grilled Superintendent Nelson Ribon and the school board over the possible elimination of two full-time kindergarten teaching jobs in April.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY TO ADD HOURS

rbpl 1 032714The library’s trustees, below, agreed to add seven hours to the weekly schedule. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rbpl 051514When will the Red Bank Public Library restore Saturday service? That’s the question acting library director Elizabeth McDermott says patrons ask most these days.

Answer: by the end of 2014. With luck.

In the meantime, the library’s newly reconstituted board of trustees board, at a meeting Thursday night, added seven hours to a weekly operating schedule that had been pared to 20 in recent months.

“It’s a start,” said board member Stephen Hecht.

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