By JOHN T. WARD
Here are some highlights from last week’s Red Bank council meeting.
• The council entered into a contract with Tom Calu Consulting LLC to manage the parking utility on an interim basis while it seeks to hire a full-time parking director.
In fact, Calu’s duties will include searching for a full-time director, said Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.
Shehady said Calu will work 30 hours a week and be paid $10,750 per month under a month-to-month contract through the end of the year, for a maximum $75,250.
“It is intended to be a brief interlude,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.
The creation of the director’s post was recommended in the Management Enhancement Report on borough government written by Government Strategy Group last year.
Here’s the resolution approved by the council.
• Councilman Michael Ballard, who chairs the finance committee, said he expects to introduce the borough budget May 22.
The signs have been allowed for nine years, under ordinances that have had their sunset dates repeatedly extended.
• The council also started the process of banning illuminated signs “facing and visible from” the Navesink and Swimming rivers.
The ordinance intro comes a month after the zoning board approved a request for such a sign for Riverview Medical Center, which fronts on the Navesink. The hospital’s approval would not be affected by the ban, if adopted.
The proposal now goes to the planning board for review before the council can hold an adoption vote.
• By a unanimous vote, the council voted to increase penalties for repeated false fire alarms by tenfold, to as much as $500 for the worst offenders.
Cedar Street resident Sue Viscomi expressed concern about being fined if she burns a hamburger at home. But the law allows for up to two false alarms without penalty, and the borough will use “discretion and latitude” in imposing penalties on further violations, Menna said.
• The council introduced a $2.6 million bond issue, $2.2 million of which will cover various street improvements.
Another $300,000 is designated for use by the new Redevelopment Agency as “preliminary expenses and costs in connection with the evaluation of buildings and properties available for redevelopment,” according to the ordinance.
As he has in the past, Ballard expressed opposition to the creation of the agency, whose work he has said should be handled by the business administrator.
“It appears that this money will flow through to an extra layer of government that is not necessary,” he said.
Ballard also said he was “uncomfortable” allocating more than $2 million to roads without knowing which would be repaired. Shehady said the bonding would enable the council to contract with its engineering consultant, CME Associates, to begin the prioritization process.
• Also introduced was a zoning amendment to remove gas stations from the types of businesses permitted uses on Shrewsbury Avenue.
• A number of resolutions related to the implementation of a new plan for affordable housing through 2025 were adopted.
• Menna swore in a new police patrolman.
Piero Vescio, 24, the son of Lieutenant Errico Vescio, has been working as one of RBPB’s “specials,” or part-time, officers, since August, 2018, and previously worked as a department dispatcher from 2014 to 2017, said Chief Darren McConnell.
Vescio is a graduate of Middletown South High School and the Academy of Law and Public Safety at Monmouth County Vocational School, and attended Brookdale Community College.
• William Poku, of Bank Street, spoke during the public comment period about redbankgreen‘s recent characterization of his property as a “shithole” for its decade-plus accumulation of rusted cars, office furniture and other material in his yard.
Poku told the council that one of his neighbors, who he did not name, “had his dog bite me on my birthday” in February, causing him to go to the hospital and “miss Valentine’s Day.” Other neighbors, he said, “are bringing their dogs past my house, intimidating me.”
He asked the council to issue a statement on redbankgreen‘s reporting of the issue.
“The council’s not making any statement based on First Amendment issues, thank you,” Mayor Pasquale Menna told him.