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RED BANK: FACEY-BLACKWOOD Q&A

nancy-facey-blackwood-091821-1-500x332-4000118On the ballot May 9: Red Bank council candidate Nancy Facey-Blackwood. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

election-2023_qa-220x189-1779922Red Bank voters will have 13 candidates to choose from when they elect six council members May 9.

Here’s what candidate Nancy Facey-Blackwood said in response to a questionnaire sent to all by redbankgreen.

Name and age: Nancy Facey-Blackwood / Age 61

Street address: 34 Chestnut St

Where did you grow up? I was born in New York and spent my formative years in Kingston, Jamaica as that is where my family is from. I returned as a teenager living in Queens, New York.

Where did you go to high school? Immaculate Conception High School, Kingston, Jamaica & Jamaica High School, Queens, NY

If you hold college or graduate degrees, where did you earn them, and in what areas of study? BA in Economics from Hunter College, NY

Have you served in the military? If so, which branch and when? No, I have not.

How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since Dec 2015

Do you own your home? Yes

What do you do for a living, and who is your employer? Former Systems Engineer, then Stay at Home Parent

What, if anything, about your work makes you particularly suited to serve as an elected official?In the various projects I have worked on, I have always led by collaboration. I do this today with the Environmental Commission/GreenTeam and see my role on Council as performing the same type of collaboration and leadership

Please tell us about your community involvement efforts, if any.

I have been involved with the Environmental Commission/ Green Team since 2017, assuming the role of chair in 2019. Through my role on the EC/GT I have worked with the borough administration to help get grants and document actions for Sustainable Jersey (winning Silver status in 2018, 2021 as well as helping the borough earn the Sustainable Jersey Innovation Award in 2021).

In 2022 I was Chair of the Charter Study Commission for its nine-month duration. Our team reviewed the current form of government in detail as well as the alternatives available to provide a recommendation that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in Nov 2022.

Your party affiliation, if any: Democratic Party

Is party affiliation important to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?

It means I believe in fairness for all, equality and equity for those who may be struggling.

Why are you running for office?

I was not planning to run for office, but as I watched Council meetings I realized we need the change Billy Portman was elected to lead as Mayor. I understand what needs to be done to transition to the new form of government, and I want to help make the transition a smooth one.

What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and what specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?

Red Bank has many pressing issues but if elected, one of the most pressing issues is getting a transition team to work on the changeover to the new form of government (updating the administrative code, setting the groundwork for council to focus on policy & legislation, etc). This will also involve hiring a manager to run the day to day operations of the town. Once this is done, we can move on to assessing the borough operations, addressing borough facilities, keeping streets clean etc.

Do you expect the change to a council-manager form of government starting July 1 to improve the governance of Red Bank over the existing borough form? Please explain.

Yes, absolutely. With the new form of government, Council will be focused on legislation and policy. It will set the long term direction rather than interfere with day-to-day operations. Roles and responsibilities will be spelled out clearly. The research we did on the Charter Study Commission indicates we should expect the new modern form of government to be far more effective and efficient than the current Council, which is operating in an obsolete and ineffective Commission style. One only has to watch any Council meeting from this year to understand how poorly things are run now.

Also, elections will be staggered and only once every two years so council will be able to focus on doing the work vs worrying about an election.

Do you believe the council meetings in recent years have been unnecessarily acrimonious? If so, what specifically should residents expect from you to address the situation?

Meetings have been acrimonious lately because council is not listening to the residents when addressing complex ordinances for the borough. I believe Red Bank will thrive when residents, businesses and stakeholders and council play active roles in shaping decisions. For example residents have been complaining about large trucks and trailers on the streets. Let’s develop a way to get the vehicles permitted and work with the owners of the vehicles to find a place for them to park before enacting an ordinance to ban trucks.

What qualities will you prioritize in selecting a borough administrator?

Excellent communication, team building, organization skills with sufficient work experience, with a proven track record of working on multiple and complex projects

Is Red Bank doing all it can to keep the municipal portion of the tax rate in check? If not, what should be done that is not being done?

The municipal budget accounts for about 25% of our property taxes, and most of the municipal expenses are not discretionary. Within these constraints, we will do everything possible to make our municipal government more efficient and hold the line on spending.

Can Red Bank afford and manage to simultaneously take on the rehabilitation of the municipal public works yard and borough hall; the contamination cleanup at the former landfill; and the redesign of Marine Park?

Yes we can. These are all significant projects, but work can proceed on all of them in parallel with an efficient government structure and a team of doers like Red Bank’s Ready.

Who should have the lead role in guiding large-scale capital projects?

Council decides which projects will be done and provide general guidance, while the manager will have the lead role in executing the projects.

Do you support the Kimley-Horn proposal for redesigning Marine Park, including the relocation of the parking lot to the former site of tennis courts?

Yes. The concept is to create a nice waterfront park for people to enjoy, and move the parking away from the water.

Should the former landfill at the western end of Sunset Avenue be redeveloped as a park?

The first priority is to have the contamination remediated because we have been paying a fine of $19,000 a year for the current inaction on this important issue. I have heard concerns from residents in the area about possible remaining risks even after remediation, and will respect that input and reach out to the community when we consider options for how the area will be used.

Let’s get it cleaned up first, work with the residents who live close to the area and also share with the rest of the town

Is the borough doing enough to encourage and safeguard walking and biking? What additional measures, if any, do you think are needed?

A circulation study with special emphasis on looking where and how to create dedicated bicycle lanes for cyclists to travel safely and not use the sidewalks. Require the use of the Complete Streets policy when developers and the borough are making street modifications. I was happy to be able to help get a four-way stop created at Leighton and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

Should Broadwalk be an annually recurring feature? Should any changes be implemented?

Yes. We should have Broadwalk every summer. It will only get better every year as more improvements are made.

Do you support the effort to revise the 2021 cannabis zoning ordinance? Why or why not?

No. Only one minor clarification was needed, not a rewrite. The Council approved 14 applications and then imposed restrictions that will nullify most of the approvals. We should always honor our agreements.

Do you support the short-term rental ordinance adopted by the council in February? Why or why not?

I do not. This was a simple fix. Allow owner occupied STRs, and ban investor owned STRs. Instead, the council passed an ordinance that acts as an effective ban by restricting residential neighborhoods and did not grandfather existing STRs that were owner occupied.

Should the council rank the recommendations of the new Master Plan for action? If so, which recommendations would you put at the top of the list?

Of course. I would put complete streets at the top of the list.

Do you favor a transit village designation for the area around the train station, as recommended in the 2023 Master Plan? Why or why not?

Yes, we should follow the Master Plan. The Master Plan subcommittee did an excellent job of soliciting public input.

What if anything should Red Bank’s government do to create opportunities for new, affordable housing?

We need decisive leadership on affordable housing to meet our obligation as set by the state. This can be done with rehabilitation of existing housing as well as building new affordable housing.

Are there any reasons for Red Bank residents to be concerned about Tim Hogan serving as mayor in light of his role as president and chief executive officer of Riverview Medical Center? Why or why not?

Yes. We need a mayor who will be working for us in all situations, especially those involving the largest employer and largest land-holder in town. Billy Portman is that mayor.

Are there any reasons for Red Bank residents to be concerned about Billy Portman serving as mayor? Why or why not?

No. He has proven himself admirably during his short tenure. He has office hours, is a great listener, and learns quickly. He brings a friendly can-do spirit to Red Bank and I am happy he is our Mayor.

Please add anything you’d like here:

To quote Fred Rogers, “Look for the helpers” . The members of the Red Bank’s Ready team are the helpers who have been doing the work and will continue to do when elected to Council.

*****

ELECTION NOTES

• Find the Red Bank sample ballot here.

• Early, in-person voting will be available at borough hall (90 Monmouth Street) from Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7. The hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. No other polling stations will be open for early, in-person voting.

• In-person, election day voting will take place at the polling stations shown below. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Note that in-person, election day voting for residents of the 1st and 8th districts will take place at borough hall (90 Monmouth Street).

red-bank-voting-district-map-2021-500x320-6021294

• Finally, here’s a video on using Monmouth County’s digital voting machines, which employ touchscreen technology familiar to users of smartphones and tablets:

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