FAIR HAVEN: CONCEPT PLANS UNVEILED

fair haven, nj, borough hall conceptFair Haven’s new borough hall could look like this, its architect said. The view is from the firehouse on the opposite side of River Road(Rendering by Eli Goldstein. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Fair Haven officials rolled out a set of concept drawings Thursday night for a pair of new borough buildings at the heart of an ambitious consolidation plan.

They also unveiled a timetable for the proposal, which calls for a domino chain of real estate acquisition, construction and the sale of property to help fund it all.

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FAIR HAVEN: PLAN ELICITS VARIED CONCERNS

Part of the plan calls for a new park-maintenance shed at Fair Haven Fields, just south of the Methodist church. (Image by Google. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFair Haven residents peppered the borough council Tuesday night with questions about an ambitious plan to build a new town hall, consolidate operations and sell real estate.

The questions appeared to reflect a sense that residents were caught off guard by the scope of the project, which was first reported by redbankgreen Monday.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW TOWN HALL PLANNED

646 RIVER ROAD FAIR HAVEN NJ SUNOCOFair Haven officials hope to acquire the former Sunoco station for redevelopment as part of long-range consolidation of municipal operations. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A vacant gas station site in Fair Haven could become the home to a new borough hall and police station under a plan up for consideration Tuesday night.

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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: TAX BILLS TO RISE 2.9 PERCENT

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a CPA who heads the finance committee. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxes

Typical Red Bank homeowners would see a $x increase in the borough portion of their 2017 property tax bills under a budget introduced at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

For the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $362,342, that means an increase of $57.25 for the year.

 

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RED BANK: PARK, VACANT SITES ON AGENDA

The council may authorize the creation of a concept plan to turn the former landfill at West Sunset Avenue into a park.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council has a packed agenda for its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, including possible progress toward a long-dreamed-of new park on the West Side and some bad news for landlords who neglect vacant properties.

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RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

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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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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SEA BRIGHT, RUMSON: SEEKING TOYS FOR TOTS

sbfd toys for tots 2015With an eye toward Christmas, volunteers in Sea Bright and Rumson are planning “toys for tots” drives in coming weeks.

Picking up an effort previously spearheaded by the borough police, the Sea Bright volunteer fire and first aid squads have scheduled a toy drive for Wednesday, December 2, Fire Chief Walter Olenhaus of Sea Bright Fire & Rescue tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK COUNCIL HONORS THREE

Officials commended Doug Lang for helping an 88-year-old woman who’d fallen and hit her head. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s governing body honored three people at its bimonthly meeting Wednesday night: two teachers and a borough employee who went to the aid of an injured elderly woman.

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FAIR HAVEN TRASH IS GOING PRIVATE

fh-trash-can1The cans will stay, but the people picking up the trash in Fair Haven will be different next month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

New faces may be pulling up to curbs in Fair Haven to pick up the trash next month.

At the Fair Haven council’s next meeting, on March 14, the council is expected to open bids for private contractors to handle the borough’s trash and recycling. The move to private collection is estimated to save anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000 a year, said Mayor Mike Halfacre.

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GEARING UP FOR THE BIG DUMP

rb-plowRed Bank is prepping 11 snow plows, plus loaders and back hoes, to handle this impending snow invasion this weekend. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It may not rival the pre-Christmas pounding, but if the weather forecast is correct — insert wisecrack here — Red Bank and the surrounding area will be spending some time digging out from a substantial snowfall again tonight and tomorrow.

In Red Bank yesterday, borough workers readied 11 snowplows, with additional loaders and backhoes geared up to 24 hours on the streets to clear an expected foot or so of snow, said public utilities Director Gary Watson.

The National Weather Service says seven to 13 inches will fall tonight and tomorrow.

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NEW TRUCK SUCKS BETTER THAN THE OLD ONE

ls-truckThis pale blue beauty has seen its last days on Little Silver streets. Public Works is getting a brand new one to tend to all the gutter and basin cleaning needed this time of year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

All the signs were there and Little Silver’s decisionmakers knew that the public works department’s powder blue, rust-spotted baby’s days were numbered in town.

It was old, from 1985, and the problems, most recently a ruptured hose, were becoming more frequent. It was only a question of how much longer the jet and vacuum truck could continue sucking leaves and debris from drains and catch basins throughout town.

Following a thoroughly argued discourse on the topic and a split vote that caused the mayor to tip the scales, the answer has come, as borough finally pulled the trigger to buy a new jet and vacuum truck for its DPW.

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A QUIET LUNCH INTERRUPTED BY FAME

tfpw2_ir1

What’s the story here? There is none, really.

redbankgreen‘s accidental photographer came across this crew of Tinton Falls public works employees having lunch recently at the Mid-Monmouth Industrial Park, and we decided to make them famous just for the hell of it.

Hey, they keep the streets clean, right?