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: DUCKLINGS FOUND IN OFFICE SPACE

On what may have been his final call, Red Bank animal control officer Henry Perez responded to a report of ducklings found inside a Broad Street office building Tuesday.

The four downy babies were discovered by the unidentified painter at right, with their mother nowhere to be found.

Perez transported to the ducklings to the Monmouth County SPCA, which, under a contract with the borough that goes into effect Friday, is displacing him from his job of 18 years. He’s expected to be reassigned to another position within the public utilities department. (Click to enlarge photos.)

 

 

 

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: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank east side lots 040820The East Side parking lots would get a makeover under an engineering contract on the agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council has some weighty spending and hiring matters on its agenda when it meets this week.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL JOB ENDANGERED

Henry Perez with a ferret owner during a census of cats and dogs in 2008. (Photo by Colleen Curry. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njHenry Perez thinks maybe he’s dropped the ball, given that his bosses – the Red Bank mayor and council – appear determined to eliminate his job.

“I totally blame myself, because my residents know more about what I do than my superiors,” the borough’s animal control officer told the the council during its monthly workshop meeting Wednesday.

Still, over the pleas of residents, the governing body showed no sign of halting a plan to sign a six-month contract with the Monmouth County SPCA.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL SERVICE BACK ON AGENDA

Debbie Nagel, the animal control supervisor for Long Branch who serves as backup for Red Bank, with an orphaned raccoon pup rescued from a tree on Brown Place last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSquirrels in the attic? Bats in the bathroom?

Red Bank residents would have to pay $90 an hour to have wild animals removed from their homes under a plan that returns for discussion Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON AGENDA, AND NOT

red bank saxum 176 riverside aveA rendering of Saxum Real Estate’s approved but not-yet-built plan for 176 Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA controversial plan to job out Red Bank’s in-house animal control service is expected to be tabled Wednesday night.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for the semimonthly meeting of the mayor and council.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL CONTROL VOTE SCHEDULED

Henry Perez with opossums orphaned when their mother was hit by a car in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicHowls of protest are expected Wednesday night when the Red Bank council considers a proposal to scrap its in-house animal control service.

In addition to eliminating the position of animal control officer, held for the past 18 years by Henry Perez, the council would shift the work for the second half of 2021 to the Monmouth County SPCA, a change opponents say would delay responses.

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RED BANK: ANIMAL OPERATION ON THE BLOCK

Animal Control Officer Henry Perez with a bat removed from a Madison Avenue home in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicIn a move that has animal advocates alarmed, Red Bank is looking at jobbing out its animal control operation.

They say replacing the in-house service with the Monmouth County SPCA would reduce response times and service.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank hackensack merdian chapin 042520An amendment to the parking ordinance would ban parking on the west side of Chapin Avenue, seen at left above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe semimonthly session of the Red Bank council Wednesday night includes a police retirement and some hires, as well as a parking ban.

It also includes approval of a settlement in a type of tax appeal case that enraged commercial landlords two years ago.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council meets via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe creation of a commission to examine Red Bank’s century-old government structure is on the table when the council holds its monthly workshop session Wednesday night.

So are renovations to the mothballed Senior Center and the swan song of Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

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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: SHEHADY RESIGNS TOP BORO JOB

Ziad Shehady in his borough hall office in June, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[This post has been updated since it was first published.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter only three years on the job, Ziad Shehady is resigning as Red Bank’s top unelected official, he told the borough council behind closed doors Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: OFFICIALS EYE $1.18M INFUSION

red bank broad street 032720Downtown Red Bank was nearly empty on a Friday night last March as pandemic restrictions on economic and social activity took effect. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s government will receive a direct infusion of nearly $1.18 million under the $1.9 trillion pandemic recovery bill passed by Congress earlier in the day, officials said Wednesday night.

The funds will enable the borough to begin filling its own budgetary holes while providing aid to renters, small businesses and local non-profits, said an elated Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But one item it can’t be used on, contrary to the suggestion of a council candidate, is repairing the shuttered Senior Center, according to two officials.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council continues to meet via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets for its first regular session of the month Wednesday night.

Here’s what’s on the agenda, and what’s not.

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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: BOROUGH HIRES NEW CFO

peter oreilly cfo red bank njAlmost five months after his predecessor was hastily dumped, a new chief financial officer for the borough of Red Bank was slated to start work Monday.

Peter O’Reilly, right, who literally wrote the book on municipal finance, steps into the post after five years as Jersey City’s treasurer.

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RED BANK: FOLLOW THE LEADER… READER

rb library 092214The new Leader Reader series at the library is meant to introduce children to different careers. First up: redbankgreen publisher John T. Ward, below. (Click to enlarge)

jtw 3 083113 4The Red Bank Public Library introduces a new monthly feature called “Leader Readers” this Saturday.

“The idea for Leader Readers is to introduce the kids to old-fashioned community role models,” says children’s librarian Sira Williams.

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RED BANK: WEST SIDERS MARCH IN PROTEST

rb march 102514 4rb march 102514 2About three dozen protesters marched through Red Bank Saturday morning to object to rising property taxes, a proposed spray park at Bellhaven Nature Area, borough hiring practices and what they termed police “aggressiveness.”

Organizer Freddie Boynton said the event, spotlighting concerns of West Siders, was not meant to be partisan, though it called for “new leadership” at borough hall.  “There’s a lot of frustration on this side of town,” said Boynton, a retired DPW employee. “We’re not being treated like the rest of the town is.”  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK STUDENTS TUNE IN FOR TECH JOBS

Students from Red Bank and elsewhere participating in a four-way conference in a telepresence room at AT&T Labs in Middletown, above. Coolspeak founder Carlos Ojeda Jr. addresses the students, below. (Photos by Lola Todman. Click to enlarge)

By LOLA TODMAN
Red Bank Charter School Intern

It was not a conventional office day for AT&T labs around the country Thursday. Instead of heading to their offices to deal with business matters, AT&T employees got ready for their fifteenth annual High Tech Day.

With more than 1,800 Hispanic students participating in 31 locations nationally, High Tech Day is an opportunity for adolescents to learn about the different jobs available in technology. Four of the schools involved sent a total of about 70 students to AT&T Labs in Middletown labs to participate: Red Bank Middle School, Red Bank Charter School, New Brunswick Middle School, and Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School.

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DONE GOOD: HELPING VETS FIND JOBS

Done3Done Good is a periodic rundown of charitable outreach efforts and fundraisers on the The Green. To submit items for consideration, please send an email with the words ‘Done Good’ in the subject line.

TODAY: “Taking Care of Our Own” Open House for Veterans
Red Bank’s Two River Theater hosts a “Taking Care of Our Own” open house Tuesday, May 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. that will focus on helping returning veterans gain employment with non-governmental entities while also serving as an forum for them to meet local business owners.

There will be a number of free resources offered to veterans along with numerous discounted services from the private sector; a great networking opportunity and fundraiser. A food-wine-gift auction is included as well with all proceeds going to Operation Homefront and Lunch Break. No admission charge for veterans, $20 donation for other attendees. For more info, call 973-449-7702.

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