RED BANK: TAXPAYER BUDGET Q&A SLATED

rb boro hall 041416taxesFor the 10th year in a row, Red Bank borough government department heads are scheduled to offer presentations on their 2016 budget proposals at a public information session scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at at borough hall.

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RED BANK: STEEP PARKING FEE HIKE PROPOSED

rb parking 041416 2Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, while metered spots on the street would see a 50-percent increase. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s council laid two controversial proposals on the table Wednesday night:

• a budget that debuts with a 5.5-percent property-tax increase

• and a plan to soften the blow to taxpayers with a sharp increase in parking fees.

The backlash to the parking plan was immediate, both in the audience and on the governing body’s dais.

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RED BANK: PARKING IDEA SPUTTERS

rb white meter 112415A proposal to extend meter enforcement hours appeared to get no traction Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe Red Bank council postponed the introduction of the first majority-Republican budget in a generation Wednesday.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who’s heading up the budget-writing finance committee, said she wanted more time to hear suggestions from residents and business owners on how to reduce a prospective tax increase.

But one of Schwabenbauer’s own suggestions — increasing the number of hours for which metered parking is in effect — appeared to be a non-starter.

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RED BANK: GOP DRAFT BUDGET HAS TAXES UP

schwabenbauer 010216 2Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee, says there’s been a “severe” drop in revenue from last year along with an increase in expenses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe first majority-Republican Red Bank budget in a generation is set to make its debut this week, and it comes with a likely tax hike.

While officials are hopeful they can trim the increase, the draft budget shows a 5.5-percent jump in the municipal levy, or roughly $115 a year for the owner of a residential property assessed at the average $354,497, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer tells redbankgreen.

One way to soften the impact, she said, is to extend the hours for which parking fees are collected.

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RUMSON: PRIVATE TRASH PICKUP PLANNED

rumson trash 012215 2A municipal trash crew at work on Forrest Avenue last week. Below, Mayor John Ekdahl says the timing is good for privatization. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ekdahl 102213Four years after a proposal to privatize Rumson’s trash pickup got trashed by residents, the borough is trying again. And this time around, Mayor John Ekdahl is getting no flak, he says.

The main reason, he said, is that the latest plan, unveiled at the borough government reorganization on January 1, won’t have any adverse impact on jobs.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM REOPENS WATER VALVE

horgan burnham 022614Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, right, listens as Councilwoman Kathy Horgan reads an Environmental Commission resolution that denounced any move to privatize Red Bank’s water utility. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

New Red Bank Councilwoman Cindy Burnham‘s recent suggestion that the town sell its water utility got a thorough hosing Wednesday night.

Two weeks after discussion of $2.2 million capital improvement bond prompted Burnham to call for privatization of the water system, Burnham sat stone silent through a critique of the idea Wednesday night – and then voted in favor of the bond.

By Thursday morning, though, the council’s lone Republican was talking again, calling opposition to her suggestion an “attack” by the Democratic majority.

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