PRESS: RED BANK DROPS LOCAL COURT IDEA

Red Bank won’t pursue a proposal floated by Mayor Pasquale Menna to form a regional municipal court with four nearby towns, the Asbury Park Press reports Wednesday.

The reason? The borough’s court is pretty efficient all by itself, bringing in nearly $175,000 more than it spends on salaries and operating costs each year, town Administrator Stanley Sickels tells the Press.

Also, Red Bank “never heard back” from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Rumson and Shrewsbury about the proposal, Sickels said.

Menna aired the proposal last September as Matawan – where he was, and remains, the borough attorney – prepared to consolidate its court with those of Hazlet and Keyport.

At the time, Menna said a merged peninsula court would operate with one judge, one prosecutor, one public defender, one court administrator and one physical court space. The court, he said, could be more cost-effective than a shared service agreement, in which towns often use their own staff members rather than sharing with other boroughs.

A month later, Menna reported to the council that tone town had responded quickly and “very affirmatively,” partially reviewed by another. “The naysayers who said this couldn’t happen will be surprised.”

At a Tuesday night presentation on the Red Bank budget, however, Sickels said that “our numbers are so favorable to us, it doesn’t make sense. Our court is very efficient,” according to the Press.

The newspaper reports that Red Bank’s court earned $546,161 in revenue in 2011, and the proposed court budget for the current year allocates $373,402 for salaries and operating expenses.