RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: TAXPAYER BUDGET Q&A SLATED

rb boro hall 041416taxesFor the 10th year in a row, Red Bank borough government department heads are scheduled to offer presentations on their 2016 budget proposals at a public information session scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at at borough hall.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW SUPERINTENDENT SIGNS ON

sean mcneil 050316 1New Fair Haven schools Superintendent Sean McNeil gets right to work, serving cake to students at a gathering to welcome him Tuesday night. His official start date is July 1. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Fair Haven Board of Education kept it local in filling the superintendent’s job Tuesday night.

The board unanimously approved Sean McNeil, principal of the Port Monmouth Elementary School in Middletown, to replace Nelson Ribon.

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RED BANK: STEEP PARKING FEE HIKE PROPOSED

rb parking 041416 2Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, while metered spots on the street would see a 50-percent increase. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s council laid two controversial proposals on the table Wednesday night:

• a budget that debuts with a 5.5-percent property-tax increase

• and a plan to soften the blow to taxpayers with a sharp increase in parking fees.

The backlash to the parking plan was immediate, both in the audience and on the governing body’s dais.

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RED BANK: PARKING IDEA SPUTTERS

rb white meter 112415A proposal to extend meter enforcement hours appeared to get no traction Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe Red Bank council postponed the introduction of the first majority-Republican budget in a generation Wednesday.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who’s heading up the budget-writing finance committee, said she wanted more time to hear suggestions from residents and business owners on how to reduce a prospective tax increase.

But one of Schwabenbauer’s own suggestions — increasing the number of hours for which metered parking is in effect — appeared to be a non-starter.

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RED BANK: GOP DRAFT BUDGET HAS TAXES UP

schwabenbauer 010216 2Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee, says there’s been a “severe” drop in revenue from last year along with an increase in expenses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe first majority-Republican Red Bank budget in a generation is set to make its debut this week, and it comes with a likely tax hike.

While officials are hopeful they can trim the increase, the draft budget shows a 5.5-percent jump in the municipal levy, or roughly $115 a year for the owner of a residential property assessed at the average $354,497, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer tells redbankgreen.

One way to soften the impact, she said, is to extend the hours for which parking fees are collected.

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LINCROFT: GRANTS FOR MASSAGE TRAINING

BCC Student Life CenterPress release from Brookdale Community College

Beginning on April 18, local residents may qualify for free or reduced cost massage therapy training offered through Brookdale Community College.

Residents interested in learning more about the program and available grant opportunities are invited to a free information session on March 29 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. inside the Student Life Center building on the Lincroft campus. Parking is in lots 6 and 7, and a tour of Brookdale’s massage training lab will also be available.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TAPS METER INSTALLER

rb water meter 120815 1Existing water meters are to be replaced with new technology that includes radio transmitters for remote reading, like one already in use on this new house on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s townwide water-meter replacement project, an effort that prompted complaints about unnecessary spending, went from proposal to reality without so much as a peep Wednesday night.

At a semimonthly meeting, the borough council awarded a contract for the work, which calls for replacing some 3,800 residential meters, and hundreds more non-residential devices, with technology that will enable borough officials to get a read on usage without leaving their desks.

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LINCROFT: FREE WELDING TRAINING FROM BCC

BCC weldingPress release from Brookdale Community College

Beginning April 15, Brookdale Community College and Ocean County College will partner to host a free welding training program for area residents, hosted at the OCC campus in Toms River.

The 171-hour program, open to unemployed individuals with a high school diploma or equivalency degree, will cover a wide range of hands-on skills and basic industry knowledge, including arc welding, welding fabrication, blueprint reading, resume writing and job search skills.

At the conclusion of the program, students will sit for an American Welding Society certification exam, after which they will be eligible for an entry-level position in the field. The training program also offers job placement assistance.

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LINCROFT: AUTO SERVICE OPEN HOUSE AT BCC

BCC auto_tech1Students and faculty perform repairs at the Brookdale Community College automotive technology lab in Lincroft last fall. (Photo by Brookdale Community College)

Press release from Brookdale Community College. 

Monmouth County residents who are interested in a career in automotive service and technology are invited to a free information session at Brookdale Community College on the evening of Wednesday, March 9.

During the 7 p.m. “open house” event, attendees will learn about growing career opportunities in the automotive technology field, which is expected to add more than 60,000 new jobs by 2022, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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RED BANK: GOP HOSED ON WATER VOTES

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham, sitting in for the absent mayor for the first time, recused herself from the meter bond vote on advice from borough Attorney Jean Cipriani, right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Amid criticism by taxpayers, the new Republican-led Red Bank council approved two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for a municipal well and water meters for every property in town Wednesday night.

Both bonds won unanimous approval, though Council President Cindy Burnham, who recused herself over what was described as a potential conflict of interest, said she would have voted no on the meter issue.

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RED BANK: WATER BONDS UP FOR VOTE

rb water 102215Two bonds totaling $3.7 million in debt for a new well and water meters are up for possible adoption vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Two bond ordinances and a plan to buy new water meters for nearly all Red Bank properties dominate the agenda for Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Facing a deadline for action, the council is expected to hold an adotion vote on two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for upgrades they say will help the town avoid  restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

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LINCROFT: BCC HOSTS MINORITY CONFERENCE

Fidel MMI conference BCCBrookdale Community College faculty member Fidel Wilson speaks at the 2015 Minority Male Initiative workshop. Registration is now open for this year’s conference, which returns to campus for its second annual edition on Friday, February 19.

Press release from Bookdale Community College

“Each year, more and more males of color are enrolling in college with the goal of earning a degree and starting a rewarding career,” said Fidel Wilson, assistant professor at Brookdale Community College. “But gaps still remain, both in the classroom and in the workforce.”

On Friday, February 19,  BCC and the Monmouth/Ocean County Pan Hellenic Council will host the second annual “Minority Male Initiative” conference on the college’s Lincroft campus.

Hosted inside the Warner Student Life Center building, the free conference, titled “Finding a Career That Suits You,” will offer career-oriented workshops designed specifically for local high school seniors and current Brookdale students. It is co-sponsored by Meridian Health and Brookdale’s Educational Opportunity Fund program. The conference is open to local high school seniors and Brookdale students, and unique scholarship opportunities are available for eligible attendees.

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RED BANK: TWO WATER BONDS ON AGENDA

rb water meter 120815 2A wireless water meter installed on a newly constructed home on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

With two clocks ticking down to the same deadline, Red Bank officials expect to introduce a pair of bond ordinances Wednesday night in hopes of avoiding restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

One would authorize $1.9 million in new debt to replace nearly every water meter in town. The other would bond $1.83 million pay for a new water well to supply the borough-owned water utility.

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LINCROFT: BCC SEEKS ASPIRING CHEFS

BCC11-scholarshipPress release from Brookdale Community College

The Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) is currently accepting applications for 2016-2017 scholarships. Monmouth and Ocean County residents enrolled in the culinary or baking programs at the Culinary Education Center at Brookdale Community College are eligible. After completing a written application and essay, selected finalists will move on to a hands-on cooking demonstration.

Scholarships will be awarded to students of the Culinary Education Center, the collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. Funds for JOCEF scholarships are raised through donations and JOCEF”s annual “Recipe for Success” gala fundraiser.

On Monday, March 14, the gala will be held at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. The event features tastings from over 25 of the Jersey Shore’s finest restaurants, a chance auction, 50/50, wine pull raffle, the opportunity to taste rare wines by the glass and a display of food prepared by scholarship recipients and students at the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park.

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LINCROFT: A HANDS-ON PROGRAM AT BCC

BCC Student Life CenterPress release from Brookdale Community College

Community members interested in a new career are invited to attend an information session for a new massage therapy training program at Brookdale Community College, to be held on Thursday, February 4 at 6 p.m. The session will be held inside the Student Life Center building on BCC’s Lincroft campus.

Running from February to October 2016, the hands-on training program will prepare students to become licensed massage therapists in the state of New Jersey. Courses are taught by industry professionals, and include 100 hours of supervised clinical training.

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RED BANK: MENNA SEEKS PDQ CHARTER REPORT

menna burry 010216Mayor Pasquale Menna with Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry after Saturday’s borough government reorganization. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna hopes to assemble a “blue-ribbon panel” in coming days to quickly assess what he called “one of the biggest elephants in the room:” the Red Bank Charter School’s controversial expansion plan and its impact on taxpayers.

Menna announced the initiative at Saturday’s borough government reorganization, telling a packed room he hoped the seven-member committee would “articulate the issues, the consequences, and the financial impact” of such an expansion for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: GOP SHAKES UP TOWN HALL

mike whelan 010216 2Mike Whelan, 24, at his swearing in as Red Bank councilman. Below, Whelan running mate Mark Taylor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The original version of this story misreported the name of the borough prosecutor who was replaced Saturday.]

By JOHN T. WARD

mark taylor 010216 1The first Republican majority in a generation showed up at Red Bank borough hall Saturday with a broom.

Ousted were:

• Borough engineer Christine Ballard, of T&M Associates of Middletown, replaced by Bill White of borough-based Maser Consulting.

• Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, the son of a former mayor, who was replaced by Jean Cipriani, a lawyer with a Toms River firm headed by the chairman of the Ocean County GOP.

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FAIR HAVEN: RIBON RESIGNS

nelson ribon 042814 3Fair Haven schools Superintendent Nelson Ribon, seen here in 2014, plans to leave the district next July 1, following the school board’s acceptance of his resignation last week. In a letter to the school community, Ribon, who has led the two-school district since 2011, cited “exciting opportunities available to me in the very near future” as a factor in his decision. He didn’t respond to a request for comment last Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: WELL ADVANCES; T&M MAY NOT

rb water plant 102215Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, and DPU supervisor Bob Holiday check out construction on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Working against a ticking clock, Red Bank’s engineering consultant got the go-ahead Monday night to design a new backup supply well for the borough-owned water utility at the Chestnut Street public works complex.

But the $82,500 contract was authorized amid rumblings that it may be among the last granted to T&M Associates under the Democratic majority that has controlled the borough council for a generation.

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RED BANK: BACKUP WATER SUPPLY ON TABLE

rb water well 102215 1Construction underway last month on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street. The new well would be to located at the building’s far corner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank may soon be getting a new water source, though officials hope not to need it.

The borough council has scheduled a single-issue special meeting Monday night to consider whether to authorize its engineering consultant, T&M Associates, to draw up plans for a new, 750-foot well at the Chestnut Street public utilities complex.

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