LITTLE SILVER: RBR’S ‘SOURCE’ FACES CUTS

RED BANK REGIONAL HIGHThe Source provides counseling and other services to hundreds of students and families annually, supporters say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe in-school social services program dubbed The Source at Red Bank Regional High School faces extinction if a plan to eliminate state funding is not reversed, supporters said.

Under cuts to 91 school-based support programs statewide, the Source would lose about $277,000 in annual state funding, they said. That’s the full amount provided by the state, and its removal will have “devastating consequences,” Superintendent Lou Moore wrote in an announcement to the RBR community Friday.

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RED BANK: DEMS CLASH OVER BUDGET, PROBE

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRifts among Democrats were on almost nonstop display during a three-hour meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

While Councilman Ed Zipprich pressed for a probe into an email leak he said had smeared his reputation, at least two of his colleagues were more concerned about his intervention in the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.

But first, the all-Democratic body split over proposed budget cuts pushed by Councilman Michael Ballard that others saw as unwise.

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RED BANK: PROBE, METERS & MORE ON AGENDA

A leak of emails, including correspondence between Councilman Ed Zipprich and a prospective bidder for the trash contract, is the subject of an investigation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich will get the investigation into a leak of emails he requested earlier this month.

Approval of the probe, as well as final adoption of the 2020 budget; extended hours of parking meter enforcement; and a half-dozen police department promotions are all on the council’s busy agenda for Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: BUDGET Q&A SLATED AFTER ALL

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, with Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost two months later than promised, Red Bank residents will get a detailed explanation next week of a borough budget that would increase property taxes by 2.8 percent.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE AT 2.8 PERCENT

A 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

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.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE ON AGENDA

michael ballard 051320Councilman Michael Ballard during an online meeting in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesDelayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s proposed budget for 2020 would boost the amount to be raised from local property owners by 5.4 percent.

But heading into the final stretch, it’s not clear that the chairman of the finance committee will support the spending plan if it goes to a vote Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: JOBS DEBATE SPLITS COUNCIL

red bank recycling center 051420 Robert Greene, left, and John Caine at the Red Bank recycling center Thursday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicA plan to eliminate two part-time jobs at the recycling center sharply divided Red Bank’s all-Democratic council Wednesday night.

Things got personal. During the governing body’s semimonthly meeting, conducted via Zoom, Councilman Ed Zipprich accused Business Administrator Ziad Shehady of retaliation for an earlier action by the union that represents the affected employees.

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RED BANK: ZOOMING IN ON PARKING & MORE

red bank white street lot 040820The White Street parking lot was desolate April 8. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See CORRECTION below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Along with their Netflix and Hulu viewing options during the COVID-19 lockdown, civic-minded Red Bankers will have some Zoom options in coming days.

Among them: a presentation on the redesign of the White Street parking lot.

OK, so it’s not quite ‘Tiger King,’ but hey.

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RED BANK: MAPLE COVE ADDITION POSSIBLE

red bank 96-98 west front 041420The property at 96-98 West Front Street is approved for offices and apartments. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank may get a small addition to its riverfront Maple Cove tract under negotiations authorized by council in executive session Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WHITE STREET ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank council 040720 1Officials and council members recite the pledge of allegiance during the borough government’s first-ever digital-only meeting April 7. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At its second official meeting of the COVID-19 era Wednesday night, the Red Bank council plans to consider awarding a contract to rebuild much of White Street and the adjoining municipal parking lot.

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RED BANK: SNACK BAR, SCREENS ON AGENDA

red bank riverside gardens concessionThe council won’t renew the lease on the snack stand at Riverside Gardens Park under a measure on Wednesday’s agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several years as a seasonal commercial operation, the concession stand in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park has proven to be a fiscal dud.

So suggests a proposal to nix an extension of the soon-to-expire lease on the building. That, along with an ordinance tightening up the property maintenance law governing lawns and window screens, is among the items of interest up for consider at for the council’s regular session Wednesday.

Here’s a quick rundown.

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RED BANK: TRAFFIC STUDY ON AGENDA

red bank broad st snow 011820A proposed study is expected to track traffic at 19 downtown intersections, including Broad and West Front streets, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A study of downtown traffic is up for discussion at the Red Bank council’s workshop session Wednesday evening.

The data to be gathered is expected to be useful for future parking, pedestrian and other initiatives, borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: COMMENTING POLICY UNDER FIRE

red bank, nj, ziad shehadyBusiness Administrator Ziad Shehady has allowed little deviation from the council’s commenting protocol since his arrival in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to eliminate a citizenship requirement for business licensing and approved a debt refinancing Wednesday night.

And once again, the protocol for comments at council meetings was put to the test. Here’s a recap of  what went down at the semimonthly session.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA?

red bank basie trackThe track at Count Basie Fields would be replaced under a plan up for adoption by the council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposed alternate-side parking ordinance is up for consideration at the Red Bank council’s only regular session this month.

Also on the agenda as the council moves into its summer meeting schedule: taxes, a new track for Count Basie Fields, the settlement of a disputed records request and more. Read More »

RED BANK: TAXES ON WORKSHOP AGENDA

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

By JOHN T. WARD

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.

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FAIR HAVEN: SCHOOL REFERENDUM ON TABLE

Sean McNeil, center, with fellow superintendents Brent MacConnell of Shrewsbury, left, and Red Bank’s Jared Rumage at a school funding discussion in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s two-school district plans to hold a facilities bond referendum in September, Superintendent Sean McNeil announced earlier this week.

How much spending does the board hope to win approval for? How will the funds be used? Stay tuned, says McNeil.

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LITTLE SILVER: SPORTS CUTS SPARK OUTRAGE

RED BANK REGIONAL BOE 032019Heavy turnout forced the relocation of the RBR board meeting to the media center, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Regional students and parents packed a board of ed meeting Wednesday night in a bid to save the ice hockey and golf programs from a budgetary axe.

With a preliminary spending plan calling for a 6.5-percent tax increase, board members defended the cuts as necessary before parents appeared to coalesce around a plan to save the sports through outside fundraisers.

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LITTLE SIVER: RBR TEACHERS BLAST MOORE

RED BANK REGIONAL LOU MOORESuperintendent Lou Moore at Wednesday’s RBR board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe union representing teachers at Red Bank Regional accused Superintendent Lou Moore Wednesday night of running the three-town high school district with an “authoritarian” approach and a “general lack of integrity.”

The bombshell accusations were made at a board of ed meeting hours after the Red Bank Regional Education Association’s members “overwhelmingly” cast a no-confidence vote against Moore, said math teacher Sunny Lenhard.

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RED BANK: DISTRICT GETS FUNDING BOOST

Jobs and after-school programs that were cut this spring are being restored, said Superintendent Jared Rumage, seen at left with board president Fred Stone before a lobbying trip to Trenton in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school officials have been busy in recent days restoring jobs, programs and contracts eliminated just four months ago.

Under Governor Phil Murphy’s first budget, the borough’s 1,422-student pre-K-8 district saw a 55-percent jump in state aid, which board members said Tuesday night was a cause for both celebration and frustration.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES & MORE

A consultant was hired to conduct a long-awaited parking study following the failure last year of plans to redevelop the White Street lot, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Red Bank council, these things happened:

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RED BANK: PROPERTY TAX UP 4.7 PERCENT

Michael Ballard, who heads the finance committee, with Mayor Pasquale Menna at left, on election night last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank property owners may see a 4.7-percent increase in the local portion of their tax bill this year under a budget introduced Wednesday night.

The hike was driven by a drop in revenue, said Councilman Michael Ballard, including a halt by Riverview Medical Center of its customary payment in lieu of taxes.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX HIKE, JOB CUTS LOOM

Jobs and after-school programs are on the cutting block unless the state comes through with an additional $750,000, said Superintendent Jared Rumage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The average Red Bank homeowner would pay about $117 more in taxes to support borough schools this year if New Jersey legislators don’t come through with more funding, Superintendent Jared Rumage said Tuesday night.

Even with the levy increase, the local primary and middle schools could see cuts in staffing and extracurricular programs such as jazz band and the fledgling cross-country track team, he said.

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RED BANK: CHARTER AID BOOST SLAMMED

District officials say they may have to eliminate a new cross-country program in order to balance the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school board members and parents reacted with outrage Monday night to an effective reduction in state aid under funding announced by the administration of Governor Phil Murphy last week.

Though nominally a $178,503 increase for the district, more than that sum is to be relayed to the Red Bank Charter School, Superintendent Jared Rumage said at a board meeting at the primary school.

With the district seeing an effective decline in aid while state funding to the charter school’s rises $1,025 per student, “I think the time has come to have the discussion about running two public schools in Red Bank,” Rumage told redbankgreen.

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