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Search Results for: "Sean Byrnes"

RED BANK: BOAS QUITS HPC, SLAMS CHAIRMAN

HPC members Barbara Boas and Paul Sullivan at Wednesday’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA longtime member of Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission has quit, slamming what she called the “authoritarianism” of its new chairman.

After 12 years of volunteering, Barbara Boas attended her final HPC meeting Wednesday night, telling redbankgreen she was done with the way Chairman Chris Fabricant runs things.

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RED BANK: ‘HISTORIC?’ NO ONE KNOWS WHY

The office building at 268 Broad Street was erected in 1979.

By JOHN T. WARD

Why was a modern office building that’s not in a historic district required to get Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission approval for planned remodeling work Wednesday night?

The building’s owner didn’t know, and he’s the lawyer for the borough planning board, for which the HPC is an advisory panel.

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RED BANK: HPC SPLITS OVER CENTURY HOUSE

Downtown Investors plans to demolish the house at 26 Wallace Street for parking. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMembers of Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission split Wednesday night over its next steps regarding a developer’s plan to demolish a century house for parking.

The HPC also approved remodeling plans for a building at a key downtown intersection after the owner revised plans that were rejected a month ago.

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RED BANK: PRESERVATIONISTS FLEX MUSCLE

The house at 26 Wallace Street, believed to have been built in 1889, would be razed to expand a parking lot under a developer’s proposal. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAnticipating possible challenges to its authority on two fronts, Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission was in a muscle-flexing posture Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: OUTDOOR DINING WEATHER

Takeout sushi for breakfast? From his Red Bank office Wednesday morning, lawyer Sean Byrnes spied this osprey eating a fish atop a utility pole behind the Woman’s Club on Broad Street, a good half mile away from the nearest body of water.

Humans might also find themselves in the mood for some outdoor dining Thursday, when temperatures are expected to peak in the low 60s under partly sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service (Photos by Sean Byrnes. Click to enlarge.)

 

STATEHOUSE: GOPAL, O’SCANLON SCORE WINS


 Vin Gopal and his 11th-district running mates staked out an island of Democratic blue in a sea of GOP red. (Map by NJSpotlight.com.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Middletown resident Phil Murphy was the clear winner in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race Tuesday, in spite of a chilly reception from his home county.

Meanwhile, Republican state Senator Jen Beck of Red Bank lost her 11th-district statehouse seat to Democrat Vin Gopal, and first-term Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan came up short in his bid for an Assembly seat on Beck’s ticket.

Former Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican, held off a challenge to his 13th-district state Senate seat by Middletown Democrat Sean Byrnes, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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RED BANK: FIREHOUSE AUCTION FIZZLES

rb liberty auction 032514No bidders emerged at Tuesday’s auction, conducted by attorney Sean Byrnes, left, and Administrator Stanley Sickels. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01A discontinued Red Bank firehouse failed to spark interest at the minimum bid when it went on the block Tuesday morning.

The auction of the former home of the Liberty Hose Company, vacated late last year over needed upgrades that the borough says it cannot afford, was over in five minutes, as no voice bids or sealed bids were made.

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ARREST LEADS DEMS TO REPLACE CANDIDATE

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Middletown Democratic Committee named a replacement for former township committee candidate Alex DeSevo Friday, just hours after he tendered his resignation from the race under a cloud of scandal.

Taking DeSevo’s spot is Carol Fowler, of Lincroft, said Joe Caliendo, the party’s chairman.

“We were after her for quite a while,” Caliendo said. “She’s a good-speaking woman, good personality. She sounds like she’s laid back but she’s not.”

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RED BANK COUNCIL CANS PRINGLE FIRM

Pringle_and_hall_2_72307Former borough attorney Ken Pringle, left, and partner Tom Hall at a Red Bank council meeting in July, 2007. Below, new attorney Dan O’Hern at Saturday’s reorganization meeting. (Click to enlarge)

ohern-010111Red Bank has a new lawyer with a familiar name.

Out is the law firm headed by Belmar Mayor Ken Pringle. In is Daniel O’Hern Jr., a Little Silver councilman and son of late Red Bank mayor and state Supreme Court Justice Daniel O’Hern.

Council members cited economic reasons for the change.

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NO VIDEO AS BYRNES BOWS OUT

byrnes-exit1Middletown Committeeman Sean Byrnes says he doesn’t anticipate a return to politics any time soon, if ever. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sean Byrnes, the Middletown Township Committee‘s lone Democrat, made his final appearance behind the dais Monday night in an hour-long meeting of “mixed emotions” during which the committee recognized him with a proclamation commending his service.

But the governing body also tabled a measure on one of Byrnes’ pet projects: getting the meetings videotaped.

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BYRNES STILL PUSHING THE TV BUTTONS

mtowntv3_ir

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When the New Year rolls in, Sean Byrnes will no longer sit behind the dais of Middletown’s governing body. So if he wants to know in detail what happens at its meetings, he’s got one option: to sit in the audience.

But while the Democrat’s days as a township committee member are winding down, Byrnes continues to push to have meetings televised, despite resistance.

At the committee’s next meeting, in December, Byrnes — who lost his bid for re-election earlier this month — said he intends to introduce a resolution to videorecord the meetings and put them online.

And if the past is any indicator, his will be the only vote in favor of it.

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SCHARFENBERGER BLASTED FOR PAY CLAIM

scharfenbergerBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, already on the griddle for not disclosing before this month’s election that he took a state job in August, is getting additional heat for claiming last month that he had foregone his township salary this year.

In an acerbic dressing down of the Republican mayor at Monday night’s township committee meeting, residents — some  of whom have long been critical of Scharfenberger — suggested that he lied about a recent claim that he’d forfeited the stipend that elected officials receive.

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MIDDLETOWN: FULLY REPUBLICAN AGAIN

mtown-elexAt Democratic headquarters tonight, the mood went from hopeful to somber as the Republicans won the township committee election. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Middletown Township Committee will be all-Republican come January 1, as incumbent mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and running mate Kevin Settembrino beat out Sean Byrnes, who was the committee’s only Democrat, and his running mate, Mary Mahoney, in Tuesday’s election.

By 9p, Scharfenberger was confident he and Settembrino had a safe enough lead to declare victory. That was about the same time Byrnes, who had gathered with fellow Dems at the American Legion post in Leonardo, said “it’s over.”

“Naturally I’m very pleased. I thought we ran a really strong campaign,” Scharfenberger said. “We worked very hard and we were rewarded for it.”

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MAHONEY: BUDGET NEEDS BETTER PLANNING

mt_mahoney

NAME: Mary Mahoney (Democrat)

AGE: 56 (do you have to print that?) Yikes!

OCCUPATION: Worked for 18 years as a buyer and showroom manager in the garment center before retiring to raise my family.  For the past 7 years I’ve worked at the Pottery Barn as a Design Studio Specialist and also as a Independent Sales consultant for Silpada Designs.

LENGTH OF RESIDENCE IN TOWN: over 24 years.

General Questions:

1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?

– Poor planning and execution. Township Committee reacts instead of planning long term. Produces waste and higher taxes.

– Ineffective and inefficient governing.  No defined or specific responsibilities for committee members.

– Misplaced priorities.  Many areas in Middletown are neglected such as the Bayshore area where flooding as not been fixed for over 20 years.

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BUDGET STILL MIDDLETOWN’S HOT TOPIC

byrnes-fingerSean Byrnes prodded his fellow committee members to reassess its budget planning process Monday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that Middletown has a budget in place, tax bills are starting to arrive in mailboxes.

As is customary, there’s some literature along with the bills to explain how the taxes for the year break down. But this year’s fact sheet is rubbing some people the wrong way, including the committee’s lone Democrat, who says, well, it really isn’t all that factual.

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FRUSTRATION SURROUNDS M’TOWN BUDGET

mtown-trioThree of the five Middletown committee members Tuesday night at town hall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After months of delays and near misses, Middletown officials finally passed a budget for 2010 Tuesday night that will result in an increase to property taxes.

Talk of the difficult budget season for 2011 began immediately afterward.

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POLITICAL “SOUNDBITES” FROM MIDDLETOWN

fiore-byrnesDeputy Mayor Anthony Fiore, left, and Committeeman Sean Byrnes talk before Monday night’s meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The finale to each Middletown committee meeting the last couple months has, by Deputy Mayor Anthony Fiore’s account, become a forum for politicking and an opportunity to make for great soundbites.

Terms like “consolidation,” “planning” and “committees” tend to top the list of buzzwords, he said.

Monday night didn’t disappoint, when discussion related to a resolution to remove school spending from property tax bills widened a political divide among the committee, particularly between Fiore and his Democrat counterpart Sean Byrnes.

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M’TWON BUDGET HITS ANOTHER DELAY

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI hot-topic right

Middletown’s 2010 spending plan will not be adopted next week, as it was planned, because of a lack of a quorum. Again.

This time, though, the blame falls on Trenton, not Middletown.

The Local Finance Board, which must grant approval before municipalities can exceed the 4-percent budget cap, abruptly canceled Middletown’s budget hearing date, scheduled for today, because it couldn’t guarantee a quorum, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said.

“This is certainly throwing a curveball,” he said.

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M’TOWN SWIM CLUB MAY GET OVERHAUL

mtown-pool-080310Township officials are considering options for the aging Middletown Swim & Tennis Club. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Dropping revenues and increasing maintenance needs, combined with local budget woes, have Middletown officials seriously considering making a splash with its swim club.

The question is this: will it be a cannonball or a doggy paddle that the township committee decides upon?

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M’TOWNERS STILL STEAMING OVER BUDGET

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Getting a budget in place is going to have to wait another month in Middletown.

A pending review of the 2010 spending plan at the state level pushed back the adoption date to mid-August. Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said the Local Finance Board, which reviews municipal budgets for compliance with state laws and regulations, is backlogged, and Middletown is set to have its done by August 11.

Meantime, the township committee held a public hearing on the $65 million proposal, which would increase average tax bills by $211 annually.

As usual of late, the governing body took a beating from the public.

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BUDGET INCREASES, BUT BY HOW MUCH?

mtown-budgetMiddletown resident Tom Stokes offers input on the 2010 budget in Middletown Monday night as committeeman Sean Byrnes looks on. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As it appears now, the total tax bill for Middletown Township property owners for the current year will be 2.8 percent larger than last year’s.

But that hardly matters to those keeping an eye on municipal spending, according to committeeman Sean Byrnes.

As the township committee Monday night introduced a $65 million spending plan that will raise the average tax bill by $211 annually, the body’s lone Democrat pressed chief financial officer Nick Trasente on details to make a point: That the presentation Trasente gave was more smoke and mirrors than government transparency, and something needs to change with how the budget is put together.

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BUILDER COMPLETES HISTORICAL CONVERSION

leroy-houseA nine-month renovation project on LeRoy Place has just wrapped up. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Charlie McCague wasn’t looking for a fight or a hassle from anybody. Even standing well over six-feet tall, he comes across as a benevolent guy, his soft Irish brogue offsetting his intimidating stature.

But a hassle of sorts what he got after he bought a long-vacant Victorian at 28 LeRoy Place in Red Bank last year and presented plans to convert it into office space, McCague admits, hesitantly.  Some neighbors griped about the idea, and the planning board, which had to approved the change in use, wasn’t uniformly in favor of it, either.

The argument was that the home should stay strictly residential and maintain its historical qualities. A conversion, opponents said, would promote “creeping commercialism” into the area, which is partially  zoned for residential and professional office use. Councilwoman Sharon Lee called it “an assault on our historic homes.”

Still, McCague narrowly won approval to make the conversion, and now that work has just wrapped up, the only sign of creeping commercialism appears to be in the back, where a handicapped parking sign is staked in the ground.

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SCHARFENBERGER HOLDS OFF CHALLENGER

tony-avalloneTony Avallone, last-place finisher in the the Middletown GOP race, says he’ll be back.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The attempt by a Republican upstart to wrest a seat from a Middletown incumbent in November failed in Tuesday’s primary.

Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended his seat on the township committee with 1,914 votes over newcomer Tony Avallone, who came away with 1,211 votes. Scharfenberger’s Republican running mate, Kevin Settembrino, garnered the most votes, with 2,023.

That leaves a November race in which Settembrino and Scharfenberger will vie for two open seats on the committee — one being Scharfenberger’s, and the other held by the committee’s only Democrat, Sean Byrnes, who is seeking re-election. Also in the race is Democrat Mary Mahoney.

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AMID BUDGET CONCERNS, AX FALLS IN M’TOWN

mtown-workshopMayor Gerard Scharfenberger listens to administrator Anthony Mercantante at Monday night’s workshop meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The budget ax has made its first swing through Middletown, claiming 16 employees last week as township officials continue to struggle with a plunge in revenues and a continual rise in expenses.

Layoff notices were sent out to 38 township employees earlier this year, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said, as a result of a cut in state aid and purse-punishing weather that put the town nearly $1 million over budget, among other things.

Many of those employees either quit, retired, or were reassigned after receiving the notices. Sixteen people, however, involuntarily ended their employment with Middletown on Friday.

The layoffs are the first round this year, Scharfenberger said, though he doesn’t anticipate more.

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M’TOWN SEEKS $400K MORE IN CUTS

scharfenberger-hed1By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After agreeing with the board of education to cut $1.6 million from the district’s failed school budget, Middletown’s township committee Monday night unanimously approved an additional $400,000 in reductions, bringing the total trim job to $2.09 million, says Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger (right).

The recommended cuts include eliminating a vice principal at each of the two high schools, a business administrator and a director position, as well as reductions to health insurance costs. No teacher positions are included in the resolution, Scharfenberger says.

However, the school board, even if it accepts the recommended expense reduction, can make the cuts where it chooses.

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