RED BANK: TAX SETTLEMENT POSTPONED

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council postponed action Wednesday night on a proposed tax appeal settlement that would slash the assessment on a downtown bank property by almost one-third.

But the delay, requested by Mayor Pasquale Menna, was not motivated by an objection to the terms of the deal, he said.

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RED BANK: BIG TAX CUT FOR BANK ON AGENDA

red bank 170 broad 052420The Bank of America branch is identified in the settlement as both tenant and taxpayer at 170 Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A drive-thru bank in downtown Red Bank would get a 32-percent cut in its property tax assessment under a resolution up for consideration by the council Wednesday night.

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FIORE: MIDDLETOWN BUDGET WILL MEET CAP

middletown-town-hallBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that the Middletown township committee’s gotten the cooperation it asked from the library board, in the way of a half-million dollar transfer to the budget, the pressure now rests on negotiations with six unions to come to an agreement that officials hope will save jobs.

In any case, the committee, unlike last year, will have its budget ready in a timely manner.

Also unlike last year, it won’t be going to Trenton for approval to exceed the tax cap, Mayor Tony Fiore said Monday.

“The budget will comply with the two-percent property tax cap,” he said, offering April 4 as the official date for the budget’s introduction.

Among the last hurdles to be cleared, he said, are concessions from unions.

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SEA BRIGHT SPENDING DOWN, TAXES UP

read-murphyCouncilman Read Murphy reads an overview of Sea Bright’s budget Tuesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A drop in revenues and increases in costs will drive taxes up in Sea Bright this year, despite the borough’s slash in spending, officials announced on Tuesday.

The council introduced its $5.19 million spending plan for 2011 Tuesday night, a $152,600, or 3 percent, decrease from last year’s budget.

But that won’t translate to a decrease in the tax rate.

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RUMSON’S SPENDING DOWN, TAXES UP

rumson-councilFor the second year in a row, Rumson’s tax rate will increase. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials told department heads earlier this year to hold the line on expenses, and they did. The council, too, reined in spending for 2011, costing a police department employee a job.

But despite a budget shrinkage of about $250,000, taxes, for the second straight year, are going up in Rumson.

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RED BANK SCHOOL BUDGET RAISES TAX 1.9%

taxesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Red Bank Board of Education unveiled its 2011-12 budget last week, a plan that includes difficult decisions but avoids drastic ones, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

Sports, fields trips and capital projects are, like last year, off the table, and a handful of positions will be eliminated under the $19.45 million spending plan.

That doesn’t necessarily equate to job losses, though, Morana said.

“I am positive everyone will be absorbed” somewhere else in the district, she said.

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M’TOWN LIBRARY CENTER OF BUDGET BATTLE

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A plan by  Middletown’s governing body to raid the public library’s $1.2 million surplus in a bid to save police jobs  has set off an  imbroglio in which officials are taking hard-line stances on each side.

With the township committee well into its 2011-’12 budget process, the hunt for savings and more revenue is on, and officials have zeroed in on the library for much-needed dollars to save jobs, says Mayor Tony Fiore.

That has pitted elected officials against the library’s manager and some patrons.

On Wednesday night, the two sides will try to hash it out in a public meeting at the library.

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M’TOWN BUDGET: 10 COPS COULD LOSE JOBS

mtown-cruiserThe axe may fall if the PBA doesn’t make significant concessions, the township committee said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Faced with the state’s new two-percent property tax cap and a drastic revenue shortfall, Middletown’s township committee has drafted what Mayor Tony Fiore calls a “doomsday scenario,” which includes laying off 10 police officers and effectively dismantling the town’s recreation department.

“It’s not news we like to share,” Fiore said of the plan, filed with the state Civil Service Commission on Friday, which anticipates the elimination of some 26 jobs.

Layoffs could take effect as soon as April, Fiore said, if the committee doesn’t get significant concessions from the library board and the handful of unions that represent township employees.

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RUMSON NEARS POLICE CONTRACT THRU 2013

rumson-pdThe borough and its police union are poised to finalize a seven-year contract, ending a three-year deadlock in negotiations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials and police are expected to finally come to a new contract agreement, ending a three-year impasse while avoiding a potentially budget-crushing decision by a state arbitrator, Mayor John Ekdahl said.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s a done deal,” he said.

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TAX DISCOUNT IDEA BROACHED, PUT ON HOLD

marcheseCouncilman Bob Marchese explains his idea to generate revenue through investing taxes that are paid early, while councilman Ben Lucarelli looks on. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It didn’t take long for rookie Fair Haven Councilman Bob Marchese to start chipping away at ideas he campaigned on.

He formally floated one earlier this week: give a discount on property taxes for those who pay their bills early. The borough would then invest the money paid at a higher rate than the discount given.

The idea appeared to be dead on arrival. Because of economic conditions, the council has decided to hold off on Marchese’s idea. It could be revived at some point in the future, though, officials suggested.

“It’s not the right time to do this, unfortunately,” Mayor Mike Halfacre said. “But we’re always looking for ideas and think outside the box, as they say, to save some money and in this case, make some money.”

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