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?