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RED BANK: DEMS GLIDE INTO NEW YEAR

red bank, nj, pasquale menna, wayne hartman, scott calabrese, bob holidayMayor Pasquale Menna prepares to swear in new fire Chief Wayne Hartman, center, and deputies Scott Calabrese and Bobby Holiday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s government turned the calendar page to 2019 with a friction-free reorganization meeting Tuesday that kicked off the fourth term of Mayor Pasquale Menna and gave Democrats unfettered control of borough hall.

Here are some highlights:

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RED BANK: DEMS OUST POULOS AS CFO

eugenia poulous red bank njCFO Eugenia Poulos at a council meeting in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBorough hall may have been closed for New Year’s Eve, but the Red Bank council had one, last-minute bit of business to take care of Monday.

After a brief closed-door meeting, the governing body voted, 4-1, to fire the chief financial officer, just hours before she would have attained tenure.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX TO RISE 3.26 PERCENT

Facilities are growing tighter as enrollment rises, said Superintendent Jared Rumage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Board of Education approved a $22 million budget that would raise the local school portion of property tax bills by 3.26 percent Tuesday night.

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RED BANK: TAX BILLS TO RISE 2.9 PERCENT

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a CPA who heads the finance committee. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxes

Typical Red Bank homeowners would see a $x increase in the borough portion of their 2017 property tax bills under a budget introduced at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

For the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $362,342, that means an increase of $57.25 for the year.

 

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RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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RED BANK: BOE MEMBER SLAMS TAX NOTICE

rb schools 081115Board of ed member Sue Viscomi, left, criticized the borough’s handling of the tax adjustment notice. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesAfter an adjustment by borough officials that nearly doubled an expected increase in the local school tax last month, a member of the Red Bank Board of Education fired back Tuesday night.

Sue Viscomi, who heads the board’s finance committee, said borough taxpayers may have been misled into believing the board approved a 12.74-percent spike in the local school portion of the tax, when in fact it adopted a budget reflecting a 6.95-percent increase in April.

“I personally think it’s irresponsible, what the town did with our tax bill,” she said at a board workshop meeting Tuesday night at the middle school. “We did not vote for a 12-percent increase.”

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RED BANK: TAX BILLS SOAR ON ADJUSTMENT

rb tax 080115 2Though the Red Bank board of ed adopted a budget with a 6.95-percent tax increase, a recalculation based on new data boosted that to 12.7 percent. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA drop in aggregate Red Bank property values as a result of appeals has sent the local school tax soaring, redbankgreen has learned.

Borough homeowners and other property owners found out about the 12.74-percent spike in the local school portion of the tax when they received their bills late last week, more than three months after the board of education adopted a budget indicating a 6.95-percent increase.

Included with the bills, and posted on the borough website,, was a “message to Red Bank taxpayers” that did not explain why the increase was so much higher than previously reported.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER TAKES OFFICE

schwabenbauer 010415Councilman Mike DuPont snaps a photo as Linda Schwabenbauer, joined by her father, Abe Schwabenbauer, awaits her swearing-in as a council member. Pasquale Menna, below, began his third four-year term as mayor. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 010415 2One year after Cindy Burnham ended a four-year lock by Democrats, Linda Schwabenbauer became the second Republican on the on the Red Bank council Sunday.

In keeping with recent tradition, however, partisanship was set aside as the annual reorganization of the borough government was marked by pledges of togetherness.

Invoking the way in which college hockey players came to shed their school identities to form the United States Olympic team in 1980, Schwabenbauer said that every member of the six-member council “has a party affiliation or cause, but each of us plays for Red Bank.”

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RED BANK: BURNHAM, NEW CFO TAKE OFFICE

burnham 2 010114Cindy Burnham recites the oath of office as Red Bank council member as her daughters Emily, Samantha and Kate look on. Below, Tommy Welsh was greeted by Councilman Mike DuPont after being sworn as fire chief for the second time. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tommy welsh 010114Cindy Burnham officially ended the four-year lock by Democrat’s on the town’s governing body when she was sworn in as councilwoman Wednesday.

Burnham, 58, becomes the first non-Democrat to serve on the governing body since the departure of Grace Cangemi and interim Councilman Jim Giannell at the end of 2008.

The event attracted some GOP power hitters to borough, but the atmosphere at the borough government reorganization was collegial.

“My hope is that we can all work together to tackle the problems that are plaguing the people of Red Bank,” Burnham said in brief remarks after being sworn in by state Senator and former councilmember Jen Beck.

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