red bank, michael ballardCouncilman Michael Ballard, with borough CFO Peter O’Reilly in foreground. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


red bank taxesIntroduced two weeks ago without a word of comment by elected officials, the 2019 Red Bank budget is scheduled for discussion Wednesday night.

Also on the borough council’s workshop agenda: the resolution of a lawsuit,  and a discussion about food trucks.

With higher borough property valuations, along with implementation of cost-saving measures recommended in last year’s Management Enhancement Report, “we were able to land at a 2.2 percent increase” in the municipal tax rate, Councilman Michael Ballard told redbankgreen after the council’s May 22 meeting, when the budget was introduced.

The fiscal “course correction” he promised as a new council member in January, 2018 when he took over as finance chairman, continues, Ballard said. At that time, the borough was facing a possible 11-percent tax increase, he said. That was chopped down to 4. 7 percent.

This year, “we’ve been able to bring the increase down substantially with some very innovative and practical measures,” he said.

They include combining the finance and personnel departments, with resulting labor savings, and generating $1.2 million in grant revenue, via the hiring of Millennium Strategies, a grant-management vendor.

At Wednesday’s workshop meeting, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady is expected to explain a consolidation of three separate parts of the public utilities department — streets and road, stormwater management and buildings and grounds — that were broken out separately in the past. The department’s budget “did not increase drastically, it just looks that way because we combined them,” he told redbankgreen last week.

Here’s the full document: Red Bank Budget 2019

Also on the agenda: the renewal of Millennium’s contract; the settlement of a lawsuit identified only as Hopkins v. Red Bank; a discussion of the 2019 road program; and discussion of ordinances up for introduction or adoption at the June 19 regular council session, when the budget is also up for final adoption.

Also of note as up for discussion: “Food Trucks on Private Property.”

Here’s the full agenda. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.