RED BANK: MENNA WANTS OUT OF REVAL

menna 010114Mayor Pasquale Menna called the Press findings “disturbing” and “somewhat surreal.” (File photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_02

The Red Bank council took steps to put the borough’s switch to a new property assessment method on hold Wednesday night, two days after an Asbury Park Press investigation found questionable dealings in the Monmouth County program.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told a small audience at borough hall that the Press article raised “troubling” questions about “unholy alliances” at the county level in the creation of the Assessment Demonstration Program.

At the same time, the program “removes a lot of protections” for taxpayers who want to challenge their assessments, Menna said.

“It’s very disturbing,” Menna said at a council hearing, adding later in an interview with redbankgreen that the tangle of relationships uncovered by the Press was “somewhat surreal.”

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RED BANK: DEADLINE ON TAXES EXTENDED

taxesRed Bank property owners will have until August 25 to pay their third-quarter tax bills without incurring a penalty, under a resolution past by the borough council Wednesday night.

The grace period usually ends on the 10th day of the month quarterly taxes are due. But because the tax rate for the new budget year was not certified by Monmouth County until July 17, bills won’t be mailed until July 31 – and the law requires a 25-day payment period, according to tax collector Ashlesha Deshplande. Still, for those who pay later than August 25, the interest applies to the full 25-day interim, she cautioned. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: HOSPITAL EYES MORE REAL ESTATE

rb 91 & 95 e front 041515Riverciew has deals to buy 91 East Front Street, at left above, and 95 East Front, center. It already owns 103 East Front, seen at far right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRiverview Medical Center is planning to increase its holdings of Red Bank real estate, redbankgreen has learned.

The expected acquisition by the hospital of two East Front street buildings could lead to growth in the roster of untaxed property in a borough where officials have complained the burden is unfairly falling on homeowners and other property owners.

Because of that possibility, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the deal means borough and hospital officials need to talk.

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SEA BRIGHT: EX-MAYOR MAY GET FIRE STATION

sb fire house 040114 2Two fire trucks have been relocated out of town and another sits beneath a tent since the firehouse, in the background, was condemned. Former Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

jo-ann-kalaka-adamsLast we heard from former Sea Bright Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka Adams, she had just failed to relcaim her old job after an election race that turned in part on property taxes she owed the town.

Fast-forward to now. Kalaka-Adams may start collecting $4,500 a month in rent from the borough for a vacant lot, even though she owes the town $40,000 in overdue property taxes, according to the Asbury Park Press.

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RED BANK: MAPLE COVE SAVED… FOR NOW?

rb rosi cove library 021214The placement of the proposed border between the library parking lot and adjoining riverfront property was a subject of debate, but all of Maple Cove will remain on the open space inventory. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The battle to save the cove is over, apparently.

The Red Bank borough council officially abandoned a plan to remove Maple Cove and a nearby riverfront property from the town’s roster of open spaces Wednesday night.

The unanimous move appears to close the book on a controversial issue that helped vault activist Cindy Burnham onto the governing body in the last election.

Not that it can’t be undone, says Burnham, the lone Republican on the six-member council.

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RED BANK: TAX MAY RISE 7.7 PERCENT

By JOE FISHER

The average Red Bank homeowner would see a $150 property tax increase under a 2013 municipal budget introduced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The proposed $21.2 million spending plan would raise the municipal tax rate 7.7 percent, from the current 49.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 52.9 cents. That means the owner of a home assessed at the borough-average $396,000, stands to pay $2,095 for municipal services alone this year. The rate does not include school and county taxes.

The hit to the wallet is nearly triple the $56.50 2012 increase on the average home, then assessed at $401,000.

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RUMSON: SANDY SHIFTS TAX BURDEN INLAND

Homes like these on 1st Street could see their taxes rise as a result of falling home values closer to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers.  (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Owners of Rumson properties spared damage by Hurricane Sandy will likely see increased  tax bills next year, according to Mayor John Ekdahl.

With a borough-wide property reassessment underway, the mayor said a drop in the value of storm-damaged homes close to the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers will require increased taxes on undamaged properties to pay for municipal services.

“Waterfront homes typically get a higher assessment,’’ Ekdahl said. “But this time it’s going to be different.  Homes that were flooded will pay less, and some homes out of the flood zone could expect to see higher taxes.’’

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FAIR HAVEN FACING REASSESSMENT

A townwide reassessment will be the first in 10 years. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven residents can expect a visit later this year from an examiner who will help determine the value of their home and land for property tax bills.

“Field work and analysis will take place this year,” said borough Tax Assessor Steve Walters. “It calls for an interior-exterior inspection of all properties,’’ as well as an analysis of recent home sales, he said.

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BOROUGH TRIMS A PENNY FROM LOCAL RATE

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s property tax won’t rise as much as expected this year.

Councilman Mike DuPont, chair of the council’s finance committee, says a penny has been trimmed from the increase anticipated as recently as two weeks ago.

That means the owner of a residential property assessed at the borough-average $401,000 will pay 1.4 cents more per $100 of value than last year, or a full-year increase of $56.50, DuPont said following the formal introduction of the $20.8 million spending plan Wednesday night.

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TWO HOUSES DONATED TO LUNCH BREAK

housesThe two properties adjoining Lunch Break, at right above, will be used to provide social services and clothing to the needy, if plans are approved. (Click to enlarge)

clothing

Space is tight at Lunch Break, the Red Bank soup kitchen.

Because of soaring demand for hot meals and canned goods, the need for pantry space has soared, too. Volunteers handling administrative duties share dining tables with clients who come for the meals. Every Saturday, bundles of clothing stored in the basement of the 25-year-old facility named for co-founder Norma Todd must be carted upstairs, out through a parking lot and back into the ground-floor dining room for distribution to clients in need.  When winter approaches, executive director Gwen Love has to clear out of her cramped office so clients can get flu shots in private.

The space shortage is more than just an inconvenience. It impinges on Lunch Break’s mission, says Love: to deliver services to those in need with a measure of dignity and respect.

So the recent donation of two houses adjoining Lunch Break’s home at 121 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, just as the organization was about to embark on a search for additional space, was something of a “miracle,” says Love.

“Every now and then, it rains down blessings,” she tells redbankgreen.

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SNOW GETS SOME BLAME FOR TAX HIKE

plow-stuckA borough plow stuck in the snow on Mechanic Street on December 27. The cost of the storm is about to sock Red Bank property owners. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank property taxes may rise again this year.

Blame the usual culprits of climbing health insurance and pension costs. Add in a steep increase in refunds for tax appeals. But don’t forget the snow.

Yes, the bill for the blizzard of December 26 & 27, which paralyzed the region for days afterward, has come due.

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