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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: BURNHAM BEGINS RE-ELECTION BID

burnham party 051516 2

burnham party 051516 1 Having been denied a return spot on the Republican ticket, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham, seen at center right, hosted an open party at her Wallace Street home to kick off her re-election campaign as an independent Sunday night.

 “It’s not a fundraiser — it’s a friend-raiser,” Burnham said, quoting one of her daughters, as about two dozen partygoers mingled in chilly weather in her garage and driveway while a live band played. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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: PARK THIS WAY

rb parking 041916LicPlate1Council President Cindy Burnham, left, and downtown business owners Wendy Jones and George Lyristis gathered to watch the installation of a new parking sign at Broad Street and Wallace Street in Red Bank Tuesday morning. All three expressed hope that better signage for the underutilized East Side lots will relieve pressure in the White Street and English Plaza lots. 

Red Bank Flavour, a consortium of downtown restaurants, picked up the$1,500 tab for the sign; Burnham said she hopes to have the borough install six more.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: LONE PARKING SIGN TO GO UP

rb wallace 041416 1Below, a rendering indicates the size and height of the sign, but not the actual location; it’s to be installed on a lamppost at Broad Street and Wallace Street, above.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb parking sign 041316 3After years of clamoring by merchants and others, downtown Red Bank is about to get new signage indicating the existence and location of its underutilized East Side parking lots.

“Signage” as in a single sign.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM PLANS NO-TIES PARTY

burnham 1 010114Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here at her 2014 swearing-in with state Senator Jen Beck at left, plans an independent run for a second term. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainYou might call it the “no-party-ties party” when Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham launches her independent run for re-election next month with a bash that she says is open to all borough residents.

After licking her wounds about being dumped from the 2016 Republican ticket on Sunday, Burnham confirmed Thursday that she’ll mount a solo run, one based on her record as an activist and “the voice of reason” on the governing body.

And she’s kicking it off with a party at her home that will feature a live band — Kül d’Sack — and free food, by Greek Eats.

“If there’s on thing I know how to do, it’s throw a party,” she told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA TO STAY AS GOP CHAIR

disomma 1103152Sean Di Somma on election night 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma, whose first two years as Red Bank Republican chairman have been marked by both the party’s resurgence and bitter infighting, will stay on in the post, he tells redbankgreen.

Though he said he had told party loyalists on Sunday that he would forego a second term in order to devote more time to his wife and infant daughter, Di Somma said Wednesday that calls by “internet trolls” and “local Democrats” for his resignation convinced him to stay for a second term, which begins in June, and through the November election.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM “STILL MULLING”

burnham colmorgen 010116Council President Cindy Burnham, seen here in January with fire police volunteer Carl Colmorgen, says she’ll announce her plans later this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainContrary to a published report, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham says she still hasn’t made up her mind whether to seek a second term as an independent.

One day after she was left off the 2016 Republican ticket, Burnham told redbankgreen that she’ll announce on Thursday whether she’s running and will fly solo in her quest.

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RED BANK: GOP DUMPS BURNHAM

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham said she’s undecided whether she’ll seek re-election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainShe may have broken the Democrats’ lock on Red Bank government, but that wasn’t enough for the party she rode in with.

Heading into her first re-election campaign, Councilwoman Cindy Burnham was dropped from the 2016 Republican ticket Sunday.

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RED BANK: DEMS TAP HORGAN AND YNGSTROM

horgan burnham 022614 2Incumbents Kathy Horgan and Cindy Burnham, above, and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, below, will vie for two open council seats in November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

erik yngstromLess than three months into a new Republican era and eight months before the next election, Red Bank’s Democrats have chosen their candidates for council.

Incumbent Kathy Horgan and newcomer Erik Yngstrom, a member of the zoning board, have been nominated to run in the Democratic primary election to be held June 7, party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich announced Friday night.

Separately, Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, who broke the Democrats’ seven-year lock on the council with her victory in 2013, told redbankgreen that she will seek re-election.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS STEP ON PARKING

rb white st 070915 3The planning board was directed to evaluate the borough-owned White Street lot for its “suitability” for a parking garage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1

After months of silence on the issue, a possible parking garage in downtown Red Bank finally got its wheels on what could be a long up-ramp to reality Wednesday night.

Despite misgivings voiced by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham that doing so might attract “an overload of engineers,” the borough council unanimously agreed to have the the planning board determine whether the municipal lot on White Street “satisfies the criteria for designation as a noncondemnation redevelopment area.”

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN SPLASH PAD SPUTTERS

bellhaven 110915An entrance to Bellhaven Natural Area on Locust Avenue. A proposed playground would be sited within the of loop the path shown above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A controversial plan for a spray park in Red Bank’s Bellhaven Natural Area has all but officially sputtered out.

The borough-owned riverfront lot at the western end of Locust Avenue is still envisioned as the site of a much-needed West Side playground, according to Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the parks and recreation department.

But a spray park or a splash pad that shoots jets of water skyward? That’s done, she tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: TENNIS FANS MUSTER FOR COURTS

rb tennis 111015 2The tennis courts, overgrown with weeds since being swamped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago, got a sprucing-up from the borough last week. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the Red Bank council derailed an ambitious plan for $3.5 million worth of private development on the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park Monday night.

Still, a roomful of frustrated tennis enthusiasts packed the council chambers, many of them holding paper signs urging the council to now restore the hurricane-damaged riverfront courts to playability.

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RED BANK: MARINE PARK PROJECTS NIXED

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03All three private-sector proposals for the future of Red Bank’s hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts should be rejected, a triumverate of borough council members is expected to say in a report next week.

The recommendation to the full council is being made in spite of the fact that one pitch, by startup Jetsun Enterprises, was far and away the winner on paper. But in the court of public opinion, it was over the line, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen on Monday.

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