ZONING CHANGE FOR YMCA ADVANCES

ymca-facadeThe Community YMCA could get another shot at expansion if the borough council approves a proposed zone amendment. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The official opinion is in, and now it will be in the hands of the Red Bank Planning Board to determine whether a stretch of Maple Avenue should permit recreational facilities that already has one: the Community YMCA.

Borough Planner Richard Cramer writes in a report that the borough council’s recent introduction of an ordinance amending the borough’s zoning law to allow recreational facilities such as the Y to operate on Maple Avenue fits in with the borough’s Master Plan, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Currently, the YMCA is nonconforming and operates as a variance in Maple Avenue’s professional office zone. The nonprofit’s pushed for the zoning amendment after a losing bid to expand the facility last month.

“It is consistent with the master plan,” Menna said. “It makes sense to not discriminate against the Y.”

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LONGEVITY PAY STAYS… FOR NOW

longevity-pay-crowdBorough employees turned out Monday night to voice their concerns over the council’s proposal to freeze longevity pay. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just when it appeared that the Red Bank Council was set to pass an ordinance freezing an incentive program for borough employees, those same employees banded together Monday night to try and get the council to buckle.

It worked.

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BOROUGH HAS NO METER-REVENUE FORECASTS

white-st-lotMeter rates in the White Street and other municipal lots won’t be affected by the doubling of fees for curbside parking, but lot-permit fees are scheduled to soar by 33 percent. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In the absence of projections, forecasts or even conservative estimates, Red Bank officials appear to be going on hope when it comes to a plan to compensate for a shortfall in parking revenue.

Contrary to a claim by Mayor Pasquale Menna that borough Chief Financial Officer Frank Mason had worked up projected revenue gains from a proposed doubling of fees for street meters downtown, Mason says he has not yet made such forecasts.

As the Borough Council moves forward with a plan to boost non-lot parking to $1 an hour, and jack up yearly parking permit fees to $800, from $600, the only figure that’s clear is how much money has been lost since lifting Saturday parking fees a year ago. Mayor Pasquale Menna says it’s about $10,000 a month, or $120,000 a year.

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SO LONG, LONGEVITY PAY

taxesBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank employees won’t be getting any more financial pats on the back for staying on the job under a law change now pending before the borough council.

The governing body last week introduced an ordinance that would freeze a $500 bonus for every five years longevity that non-vested and non-union employees rack up. Future hires and current staffers who haven’t yet hit the five-year vesting mark won’t get the longevity bonuses at all, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

Employees already receiving the pay will still get it, but it will be capped at its current amount, Menna says. For example, a 10-year employee would receive $1,000, but at their 15-year mark, will not get $1,500. Withholding the longevity pay already promised to those employees would be a violation of federal law, Menna added.

“It has been something which has been part of local government since anyone can remember,” Menna said. “Obviously those who are affected are not happy, but residents feel it’s time to look at everything, and we are.”

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SENKELESKI STILL HOUNDING ON TAXES

kim-taxKim Senkeleski at her home with a familiar if loathed visitor: her annual tax bill. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s borough council may have shot down former candidate Kim Senkeleski’s idea of a taxpayer summit. But if she has her druthers, the governing body’s going to get the fixings of one anyway.

Senkeleski, still going at the council with the same head of steam she had before she lost her election bid in November, has been doing some legwork, gathering ideas from residents on how to reduce taxes. She’s posted flyers, knocked on doors and otherwise spread the word to garner input. She said she’s gotten about 30 responses so far, but she hopes to hear from many more taxpayers before she’s done.

Tomorrow night, she’s planning to hold a meeting at her house with the people who’ve submitted input to arrange ideas and get started on a document she will take to the council for consideration.

She says that’ll likely happen by the end of the month, “so they’ll have ample time to review it and address it at their budget meetings.”

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