Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Non-profit Organization

Red Bank River Center

The Red Bank River Center promotes local merchants, recruits new businesses, stages vibrant downtown events, and beautifies our streetscapes.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

RED BANK: TAX INCREASE AT 2.8 PERCENT

red-bank-council-072220-2-500x313-3507902A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, with Councilman Michael Ballard at top center and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady at center right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_01-220x161-3262222

Red Bank property owners would pay 2.8 percent more in municipal taxes this year, under a budget advanced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The still-evolving $22.4 million spending plan was the centerpiece of a nearly three-hour online council meeting that left viewers with a lot to unpack.

red-bank-budget-presentation-072220-2-500x313-1752630Screengrabs from a presentation by Shehady during the meeting. (Click to enlarge.)

red-bank-budget-presentation-072220-5-220x138-1439719• The pandemic-walloped budget calls for $14.17 million to be raised from borough taxpayers, up from $13.45 million in 2019, a 5.3-percent increase.

But the impact on property owners would be limited to 2.8 percent, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said during the session.

The owner of a residential property assessed at the 2019 town average of $366,231 would pay about $130 this year, he said.

• In prepared remarks delivered at the meeting, Councilman Michael Ballard, who chairs the finance committee, said that with the increase, the council was “inflicting even more of a financial burden on Red Bank residents during an economy-wrecking pandemic.”

• The session exposed tension between Shehady and Ballard, including disagreement over the borough’s use of a state-sanctioned “cap bank” to exceed a state-mandated 2.5-percent budget cap by an additional 1 percent, or nearly $180,000, putting the nominal increase at $629,000.

Shehady said the measure does not grow actual expenditures, but instead was an accounting category that creates a “cushion” should it be needed in the next two years.

Mayor Pasquale Menna called adoption of the measure “routine.”

But Ballard, who has headed the finance committee chairman for all three of his years on the governing body, suggested early in the discussion that the budget adoption vote be tabled, in part over concerns about the cap bank measure.

In both 2018 and 2019, the council adopted 3.5-percent cap bank ordinances, with Ballard voting in favor.

• The council debated three competing, and arcane, resolutions, none of which were listed on the agenda or provided in advance to the public.

Here they are: 20-177-A, 20-177-B, 20-177-C

They went with “B.”

• Ballard accepted blame for failing to hold a separate budget presentation for the public, unlike his predecessors as committee chairman, former council members Linda Schwabenbauer and Mike DuPont.

Ballard, a Democrat seeking his second term in the November election, has never held a budget presentation, and initially shifted focus to what he said was Shehady’s failure to deliver a budget presentation that he had requested. But he later said he would “fall on my sword for that” and would schedule a session for next week.

• Shehady later paged through a slideshow presentation, or a portion of it, that he had prepared, to Ballard’s surprise.

“This is the first I’m seeing it,” Ballard said.

• Included in the presentation was a spending table, shown above, that showed the top 10, mandatory expenditures rose 9 percent, whereas discretionary spending was cut 4 percent, Shehady said.

“Total expenditures were up just .81 percent,” Shehady said. “Less than 1 percent.”

• The session included a vow by Hudson Avenue resident Scott Broschart, during the public comments, to revive a push for nonpartisan elections.

• Branch Avenue resident Marybeth Maida, a lifelong Democrat, excoriated the governing body for having vested too much power in the office of administrator when it hired Shehady and reworked the role in 2018.

There is “so much lack of transparency when it comes to this council” and “too much power in one person’s hands,” Maida said.

• No date for a public presentation on the budget was announced. The council is expected to vote on the budget at its August 19 meeting. In the interim, it is scheduled to hold a workshop session August 5.

Here’s the budget as introduced: Red Bank budget 2020.

Here are Ballard’s prepared comments: Ballard budget remarks 072220

If you value the kind of news coverage redbankgreen delivers, please become a paying member. Click here for details about our new, free newsletter and membership information.
Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.