RED BANK: SURPLUS KEEPS TAX RATE LEVEL

A new trash contract and landfill fees increased waste removal costs by $318,000 this year, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Facing large increases in debt financing and trash costs, Red Bank officials dodged a tax rate increase thanks in part to a surplus from 2020, they said Tuesday night.

At a 45-minute information session by the borough finance committee, held via Zoom, Councilman Hazim Yassin called the outcome “phenomenal.”

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RED BANK: CENTER PLANS TO COST $96K

Costs associated with planned repairs to the shuttered Senior Center delayed adoption of the borough budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesConstruction plans for repairs to Red Bank’s water-damaged and long-closed Senior Center will cost $96,000, borough officials said Wednesday.

Accommodating that expense into the municipal budget will require a budget amendment and special meeting of the council. But they won’t slow the repair efforts, said acting Business Administrator Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: NO LOCAL TAX INCREASE IN BUDGET

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, which was chaired by  Councilman Hazim Yassin, top right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Red Bank property owners will see no increase in the local tax rate under the budget introduced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The governing body also finalized a plan for a charter study referendum that several commenters referred to as “historic;” eliminated the job of animal control officer to make way for the Monmouth SPCA; and tabled the hiring of a new executive director of the Redevelopment Agency.

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RED BANK: WOMEN IN LEAD AS DEMS SPLIT

Kate Triggiano at her January, 2019 swearing-in with husband, David, son, Otto, and former Assemblyman John Wisniewski. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two women on competing tickets moved closer to claiming wins in the Red Bank Democratic primary election for council Wednesday.

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RED BANK: ONE PRIMARY CONTESTED, ONE NOT

By JOHN T. WARD

Four Red Bank Democrats square off Tuesday in a rare primary election for two spots on the November ballot for borough council.

Meantime, the borough’s Republicans have two “placeholder” candidates on the primary ballot.

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RED BANK: BROADWALK DRIVING RECOVERY

Broadwalk bars vehicular traffic to enable restaurant expansions into Broad Street between Front and White Streets. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the second season of Red Bank’s Broadwalk about to begin in earnest – weather permitting – downtown merchants say the pedestrian dining and shopping concept is doing what it’s intended to do: improving their receipts.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER FIX-UP ADVANCES

The backyard of the mothballed Senior Center overlooking the upper Navesink River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to repair Red Bank’s mothballed Senior Center without adding any new facilities won a Redevelopment Agency endorsement Tuesday evening.

The action could defuse one of the hottest issues in a contested Democratic race for two council seats just six weeks before a primary vote.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HIRE SEARCH FIRM

Borough hall remains closed due to the pandemic, so the council will meet again via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council will officially start the search for a new borough administrator when it meets this week.

Not on the agenda: a measure to authorize a charter study to review the form of government in place here since 1908.

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RED BANK: EMAIL LEAK OPINION EXPECTED

Councilman Ed Zipprich in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Eight months after a leak of explosive emails, the Red Bank council is expected to finally get some guidance on how to proceed later this month.

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RED BANK: TOP JOB OPEN AT TIME OF STRIFE

red bank, nj, ken deroberts, pasquale mennaZiad Shehady, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna listen as consultant Ken DeRoberts, in foreground, addresses the council in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe resignation of Red Bank’s business administrator after only three years last week was the result of scheming by political enemies, Mayor Pasquale Menna contends.

Now, a prevailing atmosphere of “dysfunction” will “absolutely” make it harder to fill the town’s top unelected position, he told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: DEMS’ INFIGHTING ESCALATES

Ed Zipprich, left, with husband J.P. Nicolaides holding a Bible, recites the oath of office in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With nine weeks to go in a rare primary race for Red Bank council, a civil war within the Democratic party intensified this week. Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS CALL FOR CHARTER STUDY

Kathy Horgan with fellow Democrats and council members Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Again taking aim at their own party’s chairman, four Red Bank council members and Mayor Pasquale Menna have called for a charter study to review the borough’s form of government – and possibly, change the electoral process.

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RED BANK: DEMS SWAP IN NEW CANDIDATE

By JOHN T. WARD

Trying to unseat its own incumbents in a primary contest, the Red Bank Democratic party has replaced one of two candidates for borough council seats, the organization announced Monday.

And according to local party Chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich, the names of all four will be listed in the same column on the June 8 ballot, giving them all perceived equal footing.

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RED BANK: CENTER BACKERS RALLY AGAIN

Marian Quinn of Manor Drive speaking at the rally. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njInvoking “demolition by neglect” and the prospect of “apartments” on the site, several dozen Red Bankers rallied Saturday to demand that the mothballed borough Senior Center be repaired.

They also momentarily drowned out the grandson of the center’s founder when he took issue with one of the handmade signs posted on the building.

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RED BANK: VISCOMI REBUTS RACISM CHARGE

Sue Viscomi at a school board meeting in March, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree Red Bank council members were silent Wednesday in the face of accusations that one of them had smeared a resident by accusing her of using “racist” language last month.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council is expected to renew its contract for EMT ambulance services. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets Wednesday with a relatively light agenda.

There’s still something missing: promised changes to the public comment protocol.

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RED BANK: LOCAL DEMOCRATS RUPTURE

Then-candidates Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin at the Mayor’s Ball in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Already showing cracks, the Red Bank Democratic party’s facade ruptured Monday night with the announcement that political newcomers will challenge two incumbents for their council seats.

Days after holding a virtual re-election fundraiser attended by Governor Phil Murphy, Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin opted to bypass the local party nomination process controlled by Councilman Ed Zipprich as they seek second terms, saying he’s on a vendetta that “reeks of boss politics.”

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RED BANK: RACIST SLUR, OR SLIP OF TONGUE?

Sue Viscomi, right, with Hazim Yassin and Kate Triggiano at borough hall in April, 2018. All three ran for council that year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA Red Bank board of ed member faced sharp criticism Thursday for a purported racist rendition of the borough business administrator’s name the night before.

But Sue Viscomi vehemently denied referring to Ziad Shehady as “Mr. Jihad.”

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RED BANK: CENTER DEBATE CONTINUES

Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, center of bottom row, prevailed on a resolution regarding the Redevelopment Agency. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSarcasm and insults flew Wednesday night as the Red Bank council yet again clashed over the future of the mothballed Senior Center.

This time, residents provided much of the ire. Read More »