[UPDATE: See clarification below]
By JOHN T. WARD
A consulting firm that earlier this year identified the absence of a redevelopment agency as a competitive problem for Red Bank is expected to be given the job of overseeing redevelopment Wednesday night.
Following a suggestion by Government Strategy Group that the borough create a redevelopment agency, the council is slated to award a contract for redevelopment agency consulting and oversight services to that firm, according to the meeting agenda.
The award follows a request for proposals from firms that might provide those services, an outreach that generated just one submission: GSG’s, according to the proposed resolution awarding the contract.
In a Management Enhancement Report commissioned by the council a year ago and delivered in June, GSG offered a blistering assessment of purported shortcomings at borough hall.
Among them, GSG asserted that “one of the reasons that Red Bank seems to have become paralyzed in addressing its redevelopment issues is that the community has no person, office, or entity to provide leadership, focus, and drive to get things done.”
The report suggested three possible solutions, one of which was the creation of a redevelopment agency.
At the time of its study, GSG, led by Chief Executive Officer Ken DeRoberts, was also under contract to provide municipal management services as the council searched for a replacement for its longtime administrator, Stanley Sickels. DeRoberts served as acting administrator from January until May, when Ziad Shehady was hired and the position title was changed to business administrator.
The resolution tapping GSG as the redevelopment consultant specifies that the contract be for one year, and that the borough will be charged $15,000. It doesn’t say what that sum covers, however.
But a separate proposal GSG made to the council prior to the RFP, and discussed at the council’s first workshop session, in August, says GSG’s fee “to implement the Pre-Operating Phase will be $15,000.”
After that, the proposal says GSG expects to put in 60 hours per month, charging the borough at the following hourly rates:
Executive managing director $175
Senior managing director $160
Managing director $150
At 60 hours per, that’s a potential $44,400 per month.[CLARIFICATION: According to Shehady, the borough is only authorizing $15,000 for the pre-operating phase Wednesday night. “We’re not touching the operating phase at this point,” he told redbankgreen via email Wednesday morning. “After the pre-operating phase is complete, the agency will be operating and they can determine the engagement for the operating phase, as well as work within their budget, and look to cover those costs through developers escrow rather than it being paid by taxpayers.”
Also, Shehady said the monthly fee to be charged during the operational phase would be based on an aggregate 60 hours of work by GSG employees, not-per employee, and so would total $10,800 or less.]
Once the redevelopment agency is up and running, “it will generate fee income and a substantial portion, if not all, of the professional fees and operating costs will be covered by developers’ escrows,” the GSG proposal says. “The goal is to avoid any taxpayer subsidy or burden on the municipal budget.”
Here’s GSG’s proposal: GSG Redevelopment Proposal 082918
The council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.