RED BANK: PARKING REVENUE STILL ON TABLE

pasquale menna, michael ballard, red bank njCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, and Mayor Pasquale Menna on election night 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s mayor and council say they’re “hopeful and optimistic” about implementing the recommendations of a bombshell parking study delivered this month.

The assertion was made Tuesday in an unusual press release that appeared to walk back comments made by Mayor Pasquale Menna and Councilman Michael Ballard to redbankgreen last week, when they termed a key recommendation in the report potentially “catastrophic” and a “terrible hit” for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: ‘WEANING’ FROM METERS UNLIKELY

Using meters to fund town operations leaves the parking utility “without adequate financial resources” for maintenance and upgrades, the report found. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesOne of the key recommendations of a bombshell study of Red Bank parking appears unlikely to be adopted by borough officials anytime soon, redbankgreen has learned.

At issue: the council’s annual siphoning of the surplus generated by parking meters and kiosks in order to slow property tax increases. Ending the practice, says Mayor Pasquale Menna, would be “catastrophic” for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: DEMS OUST POULOS AS CFO

eugenia poulous red bank njCFO Eugenia Poulos at a council meeting in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBorough hall may have been closed for New Year’s Eve, but the Red Bank council had one, last-minute bit of business to take care of Monday.

After a brief closed-door meeting, the governing body voted, 4-1, to fire the chief financial officer, just hours before she would have attained tenure.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL MULLS STREET ISSUES

red bank snow storm 2014A plow clearing Broad Street during a storm in March, 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Stop signs, snow removal, street sweeping and other road-related issues were on the agenda at the Red Bank borough council’s workshop session Wednesday night.

Some new ordinances are expected to follow.

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RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY ON TABLE

Seen here at a council meeting in April, Ken DeRoberts, left, and Joe Hartnett of Government Strategy Group managed borough operations on an interim basis earlier this year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The authors of a report that called for the creation of a redevelopment agency for downtown Red Bank appear to be on their way to getting a contract to make it happen.

Government Strategy Group would lead the way toward the creation of the agency, chief executive officer Ken DeRoberts said in a presentation at the borough council’s first-ever workshop-only meeting Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: AFTER SCATHING REPORT, WHAT?

Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in front of the large-screen monitor he uses in staff meetings to track projects. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that a scathing review of municipal operations has landed on their desks, what will Red Bank’s leaders do with it?

It won’t go into a drawer to be forgotten, says the newly hired official charged with implementing most of its recommendations. In fact, he says, change is already underway.

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RED BANK: REPORT RIPS TOWN OPERATIONS

A management review found that “at least 12” full-time positions could be eliminated from borough government. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Citing numerous examples of “dysfunctionality,” an unsparing review of Red Bank’s management recommends widespread overhauls, from a new form of government to improved courtroom security.

The Management Enhancement Report, commissioned last October and posted on the borough website Friday, includes insider comments highly critical of the way things work, or don’t work, at borough hall.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES & MORE

A consultant was hired to conduct a long-awaited parking study following the failure last year of plans to redevelop the White Street lot, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Red Bank council, these things happened:

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RED BANK: PROPERTY TAX UP 4.7 PERCENT

Michael Ballard, who heads the finance committee, with Mayor Pasquale Menna at left, on election night last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank property owners may see a 4.7-percent increase in the local portion of their tax bill this year under a budget introduced Wednesday night.

The hike was driven by a drop in revenue, said Councilman Michael Ballard, including a halt by Riverview Medical Center of its customary payment in lieu of taxes.

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RED BANK: NEW ADMINISTRATOR NAMED

Ziad Andrew Shehady reading to young students in Springfield last month. (Photo courtesy of Ziad Andrew Shehady. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council approved the hiring Wednesday night of a new borough administrator, giving the town’s most powerful unelected job to an Army veteran who became the mayor of a Union County town at the age of 25.

And his salary will be triple that of his predecessor.

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RED BANK: DEMS TAP ACTING ADMINISTRATOR

Michael Ballard heads for his seat on the dais after his swearing-in as councilman Monday. Below, Kenneth DeRoberts, a consultant, was named interim administrator through March 31. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Back in control of the Red Bank council, Democrats flexed their muscle Monday on the issue of who will run the day-to-day operations of municipal government now that Stanley Sickels has left the building.

Answer: still to be determined. For the next three months, however, the job of borough administrator will be held by a consultant on local government efficiency.

 

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RED BANK: PARKING AGENDA IN TRANSITION

A builder may be chosen to redevelop the White Street lot this month, and a parking study could soon follow. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Amid recriminations and calls for a fresh start, Democrats began taking the wheel in the drive for a possible new parking structure in downtown Red Bank last week.

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS BACK ON TOP

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term and Michael Ballard, right, won his first as Democrats swept to victory Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after losing a generation-long majority on the Red Bank council, borough Democrats are back on top.

Helped by a statewide wave of anti-Trump and anti-Christie sentiment, incumbent Councilman Ed Zipprich won a fourth three-year term Tuesday night. He’ll be joined on the governing body by school board vice present Michael Ballard, after they easily vanquished one-term Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur.

 

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RED BANK: BALLARD Q&A

Michael Ballard. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Ballard’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

 

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RED BANK: McARTHUR Q&A

Dana McArthur. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are McArthur’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER Q&A

Linda Schwabenbauer. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Schwabenbauer’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH Q&A

Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Zipprich’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES DOMINATE DEBATE

Council candidates, from left, Dana McArthur, Ed Zipprich, Michael Ballard and Linda Schwabenbauer at Monday’s event at River Street Commons. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank council faced off Monday night in a debate-like forum that focused in large part on parking and tax issues.

The polite exchanges gave residents in attendance a chance to compare a three-term incumbent, a political newcomer, and two candidates who work with numbers all day.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

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RED BANK: PARTIES TAP COUNCIL CANDIDATES

This year’s council candidates include Democrats Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard, center, and Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, right. Missing is Schwabenbauer running mate Dana McArthur. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The primary races for two Red Bank council seats will be uncontested in June, with the Democrats and Republicans having firmed up their two-person tickets Monday.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH ZAPPED ON ‘PLAGIARISM’

ballard zipprich 101815Councilman and Democratic party chair Ed Zipprich, right, with Democratic council candidate Michael Ballard at the borough Halloween parade last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election 2015 graphic[SEE UPDATE BELOW ]

An eleventh-hour election email purportedly sent by Red Bank Democratic Party chairman and Councilman Ed Zipprich has drawn fire from Republicans both for its content, which they allege was “word-for-word” plagiarized, and for the method by which it was distributed.

Republican chairman Sean DiSomma and Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer both said Zipprich took an email that Schwabenbauer sent out Monday afternoon in support of the two Republican council candidates and tweaked it into an endorsement of the two Democratic candidates.

Then Zipprich sent his version out to recipients whose addresses he improperly obtained from the borough parks and recreation department, said Di Somma, who called for an investigation by state election authorities.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES TOUT THEIR VISIONS

100115rbcandidatesDemocrat Michael Ballard, left, with Republicans Mark Taylor and Michael Whelan with moderator Amy Goldsmith before the forum. Below, resident Jean Cash asks a question. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

100115rbcandidates3With the possibility of their party taking control of the Red Bank council for the first time in a generation, the two Republican candidates said they’ll bring fresh thinking Thursday night.

“For 25 years, Red Bank has been subject to one voice, one leadership,” Michael Whelan said at the annual West Side Community Group candidates’ night, held at River Street Commons.  “When someone has been in power for 25 years, it breeds complacency. What is the incentive to lower property taxes if you’re going to win year after year?”

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RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MICHAEL BALLARD

michael ballard 090915 1Michael Ballard, Democrat. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at play in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Michael Ballard had to say in response.

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RED BANK COUNCIL Q&A: MARK TAYLOR

mark taylor 033015Mark Taylor, Republican. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election 2015 graphic

The balance of political power is at stake in the November 3 election in Red Bank, which features four candidates for two three-year seats on the borough council. All four have indicated they’ll participate in the West Side Community Group’s annual candidates’ forum at the River Street Commons at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. For more information about the event, take it here.

To help voters compare the contenders in terms of personal background and positions on key issues, redbankgreen emailed them identical sets of questions late last week. Here’s what Mark Taylor had to say in response.

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