LEE: DOWNTOWN NEEDS A PARKING GARAGE

rb_leeNAME : Sharon Lee (Democrat, incumbent)

AGE: 55

OCCUPATION:  Asst. Budget Planner

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN:  Life long

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

Taxes

Parking

Housing

2. What specifically are you planning to do to address those issues?

Taxes:  RBs taxes have been at a crawl, while surrounding towns have made double digit increases.  I support the work of our finance committee thus far to limit expenditures within the borough. More specific, I am the DPW Chair and my Department has had the most changes in the past 5 years reducing personnel, selective equipment purchases and elimination and reductions of services, all to keep the tax rate down.

Parking is addressed in # 5 and RB questions # 1.

Housing:  more specific affordable housing.  I have worked to improve existing housing stock and increase housing options.  COAH, the Housing Alliance, Red Bank Housing Authority have  all been crucial in maintaining and increasing our affordable housing stock.

3. What will be the challenges in getting these goals accomplished?

The general condition of the economy will be the primary challenge, along with a shortage of funds available from the State and Federal Governments.

4. What expenditures, if any, do you see as ripe for trimming in order to keep the budget growth under the mandated two-percent cap?

I do not see any expenditure as “ripe” our only options will be services and personnel adjustments.

5. Do you see any potential sources of revenue that need to be tapped?

Parking.  I supported a drive for a borough owned parking garage, which was tabled several years ago.  That was when the economy was in better shape. Unfortunately, I don’t see an option for a borough owned garage in the near future.

6. What if any municipal services should be consolidated among towns?

We have in the past 7 years initiated many shared services agreements.  I believe the next generation of  shared services will be in the administrative and uniformed services areas.

7. What is one thing voters need to know about you, but may not?

I have no Monday evenings available!

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Red Bank Questions:

1. Taking into account meter rates, permit fees and fines, do you agree with the borough’s present approach to parking issues? Explain.

Parking is about space, supply and demand of that space. Parking and the income derived from it have become an important part of our Budget. A well placed facility would and should be able to both alleviate and satisfy the boroughs wants and needs.

2. What should the borough be doing to stimulate business downtown?

Building a parking garage.  Parking is the last item on the wish list of the business community.  A Parking Garage should have been the first thing supplied. The community and RiverCenter have asked for many parking options in the interim, Council has worked tirelessly to meet the need.

3. Have efforts to maintain or cut property taxes been sufficient? Explain.

From the standpoint of the Boroughs finances yes, all avenues have been accessed.  From the standpoint of the taxpayer, taxes will always be too high.

4. Should Red Bank sell its water utility? Explain.

I am not in favor of RB selling its water utility.  My understanding is that the only offers we have received are from a Utility company which would purchase our plant and not assume the total debt associated with the Utility function.  That is not acceptable to sell the asset and still hold the debt.

5. Should Red Bank continue to host the KaBoom fireworks?

I would like to see the tradition continue.  It may not be possible, given the current economic conditions.