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: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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SEA BRIGHT: SEASONAL PARKING FEES DEBUT

sb parking 052616 4sb parking 052616 2With the wraps scheduled to come off new kiosks at the start of the Memorial Day weekend Friday, Sea Bright employees got a primer on the internal workings of the machines from a vendor Thursday.

After a threatened lawsuit by local business owners was withdrawn, the borough council earlier this month set a $1-per-hour rate for parking in municipal lots. The fees are imposed summer-only, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: MORE PAID PARKING OK’D

rb monmouth st 031015The plan enables the town to charge for parking on parts of Bridge Avenue and Monmouth Street that have long been subject to two-hour parking limits, which merchants say were not enforced. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Over the objections of business owners and nearby residents, the Red Bank council approved a controversial plan to expand the paid parking zone in the central business district Wednesday night.

The go-ahead came on a rare tiebreaker vote by Mayor Pasquale Menna after a 3-3 deadlock among council members, one of whom, Council President Art Murphy, moved and voted in favor of the plan by phone.

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RED BANK: PAID PARKING PLAN TABLED

rb council 031115Business owner David Prown pleads his case to Councilman Art Murphy Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank council put off a vote on a plan to expand the paid parking zone in the central business district after calls by merchants and residents for enforcement of existing law Wednesday night.

The objections to the expansion plan came despite a move by the council to enable 15-minute parking in the expansion district west of Maple Avenue.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN MAY BE TWEAKED

rb monmouth st 031015An ordinance scheduled for a vote Wednesday night would expand paid parking on Monmouth Street and part of Bridge Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Following objections by merchants, a proposed expansion of Red Bank’s paid parking zone may be modified, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The plan, scheduled for an adoption vote Wednesday evening, could be altered to include some short-term parking spaces for customers of stores and other businesses west of Maple Avenue, Menna told redbankgreen Tuesday.

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RED BANK: METER PLAN FACES PUSHBACK

rb monmouth 022415 1Merchants along the western stretch of Monmouth Street say paid parking would hurt business. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposal to expand paid parking in central Red Bank ran into both expected and unexpected opposition Wednesday.

Expected: The ire of affected store owners.

Unexpected: Democratic Councilman Ed Zipprich joining his frequent sparring partner, Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, in opposing the introduction of a measure to enable the change.

“I’m really infuriated by this pay station business,” David Prown, of Prown’s Home Improvements, told the council. “My experience tells me this is a done deal.”

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RED BANK AGENDA: CABS, DOGS & PARKING

rb monmouth 022415 2Parking in front of these businesses and others on Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue would no longer be free if an ordinance up for introduction Wednesday wins approval. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[This article has been updated since it was originally posted to reflect the contents of proposed ordinances.]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The agenda for Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the Red Bank Council is a busy one, with a handful of proposed changes to borough laws.

Here’s what’s on the draft agenda.

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RED BANK: PREMATURE ON PAID PARKING?

bridge ave 012915Visitors to Bridge Avenue shops, above, and the western stretch of Monmouth Street may soon have to pay to park. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After the Red Bank borough council passed a resolution last month authorizing the purchase of pay stations for parking along Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue, redbankgreen asked: Why? Parking is free there.

No ordinance amendment had ever been passed or even introduced allowing the town to charge for parking outside the central business district. There had been no public debate on whether it should even happen.

That’s all coming, says business Administrator Stanley Sickels.

So why spend $135,308 for 13 kiosks that haven’t been authorized?

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RED BANK: MORE KIOSKS, YES; APPS, MAYBE

rb kiosk 121812Wiring for kiosks along Monmouth Street was installed when the street was refurbished two years ago. Kiosks on Bridge Avenue would be solar-powered. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank is about to get more parking kiosks, under action by the borough council Wednesday night. But it’s also looking into mobile apps that could make them unnecessary.

The council authorized spending $135,308 for 13 new kiosks, to be installed along Monmouth Street from Maple Avenue west to Bridge Avenue, and along a stretch of Bridge.

At the same time, officials said they would look into the possibility of integrating one or two  apps with the system: one that would allow an arriving motorist to find an open parking spot, and another to pay for it from the comfort of the car.

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RED BANK: WATER METER FAQ POSTED

rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

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RED BANK: BOND INTRO LEGIT, O’HERN SAYS

menna o'hern seal 010114Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, right, with Mayor Pasquale Menna earlier this year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A push by Red Bank’s Democrat-controlled council to pass a $2.2 million water-meter-replacement bond by the end of the year can move forward, according to borough Attorney Dan O’Hern.

O’Hern tells redbankgreen that Mayor Pasquale Menna’s belated “tiebreaker” vote to introduce the bond last week was permissible, even though the mayor is allowed under state law to vote only in the event of a council tie. The council vote was two in favor and one opposed, with one abstention.

But the abstention, by soon-to-depart Councilwoman Juanita Lewis, was tantamount to a “no,” O’Hern said Monday, citing recent cases involving Newark and Hoboken.

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RED BANK: METER BOND INTRODUCED… MAYBE

rb water meter 120414 2New metering technology would use telemetry, replacing the current system, which requires a borough employee to touch a reading device to puck-shaped interface. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s council barely mustered enough votes to introduce an ordinance for a $2.2 million bond to pay for new water meters throughout town Wednesday night.

Or did it?

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RED BANK: $2.2M METER BOND ON AGENDA

water faucet dripNew metering technology would be more precise than the current system, enabling homeowners to better detect bill-boosting leaks, proponents say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials plan to issue $2.2 million in debt to replace water meters in the borough’s 4,000-plus homes and other properties.

The agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting of the mayor and council includes the introduction of an ordinance to authorize a bond to cover the cost of the new technology.

Proponents, including Councilman Mike DuPont and Administrator Stanley Sickels, contend the existing meters are part of a  system that is inefficient and costly to the town. The devices used for the past 25 or so years are also no longer manufactured, they said.

But the council’s lone Republican, Cindy Burnham, says the bond is being fast-tracked for approval by the end of the year in order to head off possible no vote next year, when she’s joined on the dais by councilwoman-elect and fellow Republican Linda Schwabenbauer. Read More »

RED BANK: RUN-IN METERING MULLED

rb 15-min pkg 092614 2Among the nine spots under consideration is the one nearest Starbucks on Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park itRed Bank officials are weighing a proposal to cap parking at nine downtown spaces at 15 minutes.

Under the idea, pitched by by the downtown promotion agency RiverCenter, shoppers who just want to grab a cup of coffee or run a quick errand might be likelier to find a spot on the street for that purpose, said Councilman Art Murphy.

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RED BANK PICKS NEW PAY-TO-PARK SYSTEM

A video explaining the multi-space pay technology that will replace single-head meters, like the one below, in the English Plaza lot.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s “time expired” for racing to beat a $38 parking ticket in downtown Red Bank, officials said Wednesday night.

Say hello to “multi-space, revenue controlled” parking technology, complete with cellphone interactivity.

Fulfilling a pledge made by Mayor Pasquale Menna two years back, the borough council awarded a contract for a yet-to-be-determined number of pay stations that will, among other wonders, send visitors texts when they’re in danger of being ticketed and allow them to extend their stays from the comfort of a restaurant.

Oh, and for the town? A sweet spike in parking revenue, with an accompanying drop in enforcement and maintenance costs, says an executive at vendor Integrated Technical Systems of Wallingford, Connecticut.

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