RED BANK: COUNCIL BUSILY CLOSES OUT YEAR

jane eigenrauch 121714Retired librarian Jane Eigenrauch gets a goodbye hug, above, and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis reacts to a tribute at her final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

juanita lewis 121714At its final scheduled meeting of 2014, the Red Bank council killed a $2.2 million bond ordinance to pay for new water meters amid warnings that a shortage of existing devices could delay new construction in 2015.

The council also:

• approved a new labor agreement covering nearly half the municipal workforce

• extended a moratorium on fees some developers have to pay for parking deficiencies.

• bid adieu to one of its own members

• and honored a newly-retired librarian who had been the borough government’s longest-serving employee.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY LAYOFFS SPARK OUTRAGE

sira williams 031214Laid-off children’s librarian Sira Williams embraces colleague Jane Eigenrauch after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Hours after more than half the staff of the Red Bank Public Library was laid off, supporters packed a borough council meeting Wednesday night demanding a financial fix that would maintain the 77-year-old institution’s hours, programming and jobs.

Taking turns at a microphone to recall their own childhood days at the library or of watching their children learn to read there, a string of speakers pressed the council on how the library could find itself facing an estimated $131,000 operating deficit this year, and what the governing body planned to do about it.

“I can’t believe a town as wonderful as ours is facing this crisis,” said Sally Gordon or Windward Way, noting that Red Bank’s cultural assets led to its selection by Smithsonian Magazine as the third-best town in America in 2012. “I urge you, because you have the knowledge and the power, to figure out how we can get past this crisis.”

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