By JOHN T. WARD
“Tired of hearing politicians make vague promises at election time” only to ignore them afterward, the two Republican candidates for Red Bank council unveiled a “six-month action plan” Monday that calls for a freeze on department heads’ salaries and a study of the water utility.
In the November 8 election for two council seats, Hanlon and O’Bosky Colwell are facing incumbent Cindy Burnham, a former Republican seeking a second term as an independent; three-term Democratic incumbent Kathy Horgan; and newcomer Erik Yngstrom.
In their plan, O’Bosky Colwell and Hanlon says they’ll introduce these three initiatives at “meeting one” of their terms on the council:
– Call for an operational review of our water utility to determine what part it plays, if any, in the pollution of the Navesink River and to make an accurate assessment on the viability of keeping or selling the utility.
– Introduce a resolution demanding an immediate three-year salary freeze for all applicable Borough Directors.
– Introduce a resolution requiring all mayoral/council e-mail correspondences be conducted in Borough e-mail accounts, thus making them subject to OPRA requests.
At a candidate’s forum hosted by the West Side Community Group last Tuesday, O’Bosky Colwell called for an operational review of the borough-owned water utility, a stance Burnham has held throughout her tenure on the council. Hanlon said he would propose selling the water system.
The GOP pair also set objectives for the end of their first, third and sixth months in office:
– After conference with the Borough Chief of Police and Engineer, develop a Red Bank pedestrian safety plan.
– Create a Red Bank Business Community Commission to bridge the gap of communication between Red Bank residents, commercial property owners, and business leaders, and to work on fundraising for a new park on the West Side.
– Call for an operational review and comprehensive audit of all Borough operations to ensure tax dollars are being spent in the most efficient manner, and to develop a plan to consolidate services.
– Call for the completion of an update to the Borough’s master development plan.
– Create an economic development master plan for the borough.
– Introduce a balanced budget that consolidates services where able.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, speaking at a planning board meeting last week, said that the borough is long overdue for a new Master Plan, but said it would cost $150,000 to $200,000, and “the money just isn’t there” to pay for it.
“Today’s announcement is not just to inform residents about what we are going to do; it is also to ensure residents hold us accountable when we are elected,” O’Bosky Colwell said in the announcement. “If Brian and I do not follow through with our plan, we will not run for re-election. We are not running to get a government job; Brian and I are running to make government actually serve the public.”