RED BANK: BALLARD, ZIPPRICH DUCK Q&A

Councilmembers Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard with Kathy Horgan in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Neither of the two incumbents seeking re-election as Red Bank council members responded to questions sent to them by redbankgreen last week.

Democrats Ed Zipprich, seeking his fifth three-year term, and Michael Ballard, seeking his second, are running unopposed in the November 3 election.

Read More »

RED BANK: DEAL OVER LEAK PROBES POSSIBLE

ballard zipprich 102217Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich with an unidentified woman at the 2017 Halloween parade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA stalemate over dueling demands for probes stemming from a Red Bank government email leak may be headed toward resolution.

At the urging of Mayor Pasquale Menna, council members informally agreed Wednesday night to seek a legal opinion regarding their options on how to proceed.

Read More »

RED BANK: SPLIT OVER LEAK PROBE CONTINUES

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night, with councilmembers Erik Yngstrom at center left and Michael Ballard at center right. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA dispute over leaked emails entered its third month when the Red Bank council met for a workshop session via Zoom Wednesday night.

The issue has pitted two Democrats who are running for re-election against four who aren’t.

Read More »

RED BANK: GOP PAIR QUIT COUNCIL RACE

jonathan maciel penney 102419Jonathan Maciel Penney speaking at the West Side Community Group forum last October. (Photo by Ben Forest. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Both Republican candidates for Red Bank borough council seats in November’s election have formally dropped out of the race.

As a result, incumbent Democrats Michael Ballard and Ed Zipprich appear to have a clear glide path to re-election. Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS CLASH OVER BUDGET, PROBE

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRifts among Democrats were on almost nonstop display during a three-hour meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

While Councilman Ed Zipprich pressed for a probe into an email leak he said had smeared his reputation, at least two of his colleagues were more concerned about his intervention in the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.

But first, the all-Democratic body split over proposed budget cuts pushed by Councilman Michael Ballard that others saw as unwise.

Read More »

RED BANK: PROBE, METERS & MORE ON AGENDA

A leak of emails, including correspondence between Councilman Ed Zipprich and a prospective bidder for the trash contract, is the subject of an investigation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich will get the investigation into a leak of emails he requested earlier this month.

Approval of the probe, as well as final adoption of the 2020 budget; extended hours of parking meter enforcement; and a half-dozen police department promotions are all on the council’s busy agenda for Wednesday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZIPPRICH ASKS FOR LEAK PROBE

Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, at a press conference held by Governor Phil Murphy at Riverview Medical Center in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich said he has asked for an investigation into a leak of emails in which Business Administrator Ziad Shehady suggested Zipprich was out to “sabotage” the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.

Separately, friction between Shehady and Councilman Michael Ballard flared up again at the council’s workshop meeting Wednesday.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: COPS SAY SESTITO INTERFERED

Red Bank police dashcam video from the June 3 incident on East Bergen Place. (Red Bank Police Department video. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank’s police chief has asked the Monmouth County prosecutor to review an incident involving Councilman Michael Ballard earlier this month.

The incident, which Ballard reported as it occurred outside his home during a council meeting on Zoom, led to his wife, Rose Sestito, briefly in handcuffs for allegedly interfering with a police investigation, though no charges were filed.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD DUBS COPS ‘AGGRESSIVE’

michael ballardRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church Thursday night. (Screenshot from Facebook Live. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard on Thursday teed up borough cops for what he called “overagressive” treatment of his wife during an incident 24 hours earlier.

Speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church for an online forum on systemic racism, Ballard, an African-American, also appeared to suggest he’d been treated unfairly by unnamed officials at borough hall in his role as finance chairman.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD REPORTS WIFE’S ‘ARREST’

red bank council zoom 060320 Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard, highlighted at upper right during Wednesday’s council meeting via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

To the growing list of embarrassing videoconferencing moments in the COVID-19 era – energetic children running through home offices, cats on keyboards, spilled coffee – a Red Bank councilman added another: a report of spousal arrest in progress.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZOOMING IN ON PARKING & MORE

red bank white street lot 040820The White Street parking lot was desolate April 8. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See CORRECTION below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Along with their Netflix and Hulu viewing options during the COVID-19 lockdown, civic-minded Red Bankers will have some Zoom options in coming days.

Among them: a presentation on the redesign of the White Street parking lot.

OK, so it’s not quite ‘Tiger King,’ but hey.

Read More »

RED BANK: MAPLE COVE ADDITION POSSIBLE

red bank 96-98 west front 041420The property at 96-98 West Front Street is approved for offices and apartments. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank may get a small addition to its riverfront Maple Cove tract under negotiations authorized by council in executive session Wednesday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: WHITE STREET ON COUNCIL AGENDA

red bank council 040720 1Officials and council members recite the pledge of allegiance during the borough government’s first-ever digital-only meeting April 7. (YouTube screen grab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At its second official meeting of the COVID-19 era Wednesday night, the Red Bank council plans to consider awarding a contract to rebuild much of White Street and the adjoining municipal parking lot.

Read More »

RED BANK: BALLARD & ZIPPRICH TO RUN AGAIN

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term, and Michael Ballard, right, won his first in the 2017 election. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two incumbent Democrats will defend their seats on the Red Bank council in the November election, the party announced Monday.

In an unsurprising move, the municipal and county Democratic committees unanimously endorsed Councilman Ed Zipprich‘s pursuit of a fifth three-year term, and Michael Ballard‘s quest for a second.

Read More »

RED BANK: SHELL GETS SHOP OK ON THIRD TRY

red bank shell stationThe car wash at left is to be replaced by a convenience store. (April, 2019 photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a favorable zoning change last year, Red Bank’s lone Shell station won approval to add a convenience store Monday night.

A neighbor called the proposal “lipstick on a pig.” The planning board’s chairman called it “a better pig.”

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL TAKES AIM AT BALLOONS

red bank balloonsCampaign balloons given out at the 2014 Halloween Parade prompted complaints that the event was being politicized. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council may soon take up a proposed ban on mass balloon releases, its members agreed at their workshop meeting Wednesday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: ‘SURPRISE’ RIFT OVER YOM KIPPUR

kate triggiano, erik yngstrom, hazim yassin, red bank njNewly sworn council members Kate Triggiano and Hazim Yassin flank Council President Erik Yngstrom at the council reorganization meeting in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE, October 4: Yom Kippur council meeting canceled for lack of quorum after mayor and council members who voted against having it say they won’t be there, he says on his Facebook page.]

By a split vote, the Red Bank council decided Wednesday night to stick to its schedule and hold its next meeting on Yom Kippur.

The 3-2 outcome of a vote at the council’s workshop meeting caught Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who had argued for a change, off guard.

“We’re going to have the meeting?” she asked. “So we’re keeping the meeting on Yom Kippur?”

Read More »

RED BANK: PARKING SYSTEM TO GET MAKEOVER

red bank tom calu meterInterim parking director Tom Calu with a smart meter at Wednesday’s presentation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s entire inventory of parking meters and kiosks is slated for replacement, borough officials said Wednesday, as they debuted a ‘smart’ meter scheduled for rollout curbside early next year.

Meantime, the search for a parking director, the foremost recommendation of a parking study released in January, has been “disappointing,” the official leading the search told redbankgreen.

Read More »

RED BANK: FOOD TRUCK BAN TO CONTINUE

red bank riverside avenue gas stationA proposal would have allowed food trucks to operate on underused property outside the downtown, including the vacant gas station at Riverside and Bridge avenues. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA push to end Red Bank’s ban on food trucks ran out of gas Wednesday night.

Over the objections of one of their colleagues, council members sided with owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, who say trucks would unfairly undermine them while rewarding other property owners for neglect.

Read More »