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RED BANK: BBQ KICKS OFF REFERENDUM PUSH

Democratic mayoral candidate Billy Portman flipped burgers at the event. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The outcome of the public question on the ballot in Red Bank’s November election – whether to change the forms of both government and elections – appears an easy call.

Voters last year overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Charter Study Commission, which in turn unanimously moved the referendum to the ballot in July. And so far, no organized opposition has emerged.

Still, looking over their shoulders, referendum advocates held a Labor Day campaign launch event with the aim of drumming up support at the polls.

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RED BANK: REFERENDUM ON CHANGE SET

Chairwoman Nancy Facey-Blackwood at the Charter Study Commission’s final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents will decide whether to give the town’s governmental structure an historic overhaul following action by the Charter Study Commission Tuesday night.

Adopting its final report en route to dissolving itself, the commission made one last tweak to the November referendum, calling for run-off elections in cases where no candidate wins a majority of votes.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REFERENDUM ADVANCES

A view of Wednesday’s Charter Study Commission meeting. (Photo from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents would vote on whether a “council-manager” form of municipal government should be implemented under an agreement by the Charter Study Commission last week.

If approved by voters in a referendum expected in November, the change would would replace the management structure in place since the borough’s creation in 1908.

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RED BANK: ELECTION RESULTS FINAL

It’s official: Democrats Jacqueline Sturdivant, left, and Kate Triggiano are the winners of this year’s race for seats on the Red Bank council.

The five winners in the race for charter study commission were also unchanged from the preliminary results posted on election night, November 2.

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RED BANK: CHARTER QUESTION PUT ON TRACK

Mayor Pasquale Menna, upper left, addressing the council during its meeting via Zoom Wednesday night.(Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA push for a possible change in Red Bank’s form of government cleared its first formal hurdle Wednesday night.

The borough council, sharply split on other issues, unanimously agreed to the introduction of an ordinance that would put a two-part public question on the November ballot: whether a commission should be created to review the borough’s 113-year-old form of government, and if so, who should serve on it.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO HIRE SEARCH FIRM

Borough hall remains closed due to the pandemic, so the council will meet again via Zoom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council will officially start the search for a new borough administrator when it meets this week.

Not on the agenda: a measure to authorize a charter study to review the form of government in place here since 1908.

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RED BANK: DEMS’ INFIGHTING ESCALATES

Ed Zipprich, left, with husband J.P. Nicolaides holding a Bible, recites the oath of office in January, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

With nine weeks to go in a rare primary race for Red Bank council, a civil war within the Democratic party intensified this week. More →

RED BANK: DEMS CALL FOR CHARTER STUDY

Kathy Horgan with fellow Democrats and council members Ed Zipprich, center, and Michael Ballard in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Again taking aim at their own party’s chairman, four Red Bank council members and Mayor Pasquale Menna have called for a charter study to review the borough’s form of government – and possibly, change the electoral process.

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RED BANK: STILL NO MOVEMENT ON REFORM

Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking with activist Ben Forest in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Nearly three years after they briefly moved to the fore, calls to reform Red Bank’s government and electoral process have yet to yield noticeable results.

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS? NOT YET

red bank scott broschart 083120.jpgRed Bank First leader Scott Broschart at home on Hudson Avenue in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Scott Broschart is on a one-man quest to reform both Red Bank’s government and how people get elected to it.

Neither will happen this year. A referendum Broschart has been pushing for since July is not on the November 3 ballot. But Broschart says he’s perfectly fine with that.

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FAIR HAVEN: VOTERS APPROVE SCHOOLS PLAN

fair haven viola sickles school 052219.An addition to the Sickles School will create room for all-day kindergarten. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven voters overwhelmingly approved a $15.6 million plan to create classrooms and improve security at the borough’s two schools in a special election Tuesday.

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FAIR HAVEN: VOTERS TO DECIDE $15.6M PLAN

fair haven knollwood school 052219.Architectural renderings of the proposed additions to the Knollwood School (above) and Sickles School. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fair haven schools sickles plan 052219Fair Haven residents are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $15.6 million plan to create classrooms and improve security at the borough’s two schools.

But first, they’ve got to go to the right polling station.

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RED BANK: REFERENDUM Q&A SCHEDULED

RED BANK MIDDLE SCHOOLred bank jared rumage Red Bank voters, faced with a $6.75 million ballot question in November, will get their first chance to grill Superintendent Jared Rumage on the issue Thursday night. 

 

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RED BANK: $6.75M REFERENDUM PLANNED

RED BANK primary school Red Bank Primary School, with a newly completed fire access road at left, would get a new roof if the November 5 measure passes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A referendum on $6.75 million worth of school improvements will be on the ballot for Red Bank voters in November, under a plan approved by the board of education Tuesday night.

The project won’t increase property tax bills, officials said.

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FAIR HAVEN: $15.6M SCHOOLS PLAN UNVEILED

fair haven schools sickles planNew classroom space and other facilities, shown in blue, would be built on a vacant lot adjoining the Sickles School, said Superintendent Sean McNeil, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fair haven schools sean mcneil Fair Haven residents would get classrooms to allow for full-day kindergarten as well as improved security under a $15.6 million plan officials unveiled Wednesday.

The typical homeowner would also get a tax increase of as much as $566 per year if a public referendum on the plan passes muster with voters in September.

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FAIR HAVEN: SCHOOL REFERENDUM ON TABLE

Sean McNeil, center, with fellow superintendents Brent MacConnell of Shrewsbury, left, and Red Bank’s Jared Rumage at a school funding discussion in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s two-school district plans to hold a facilities bond referendum in September, Superintendent Sean McNeil announced earlier this week.

How much spending does the board hope to win approval for? How will the funds be used? Stay tuned, says McNeil.

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LITTLE SILVER: SPORTS CUTS SPARK OUTRAGE

RED BANK REGIONAL BOE 032019Heavy turnout forced the relocation of the RBR board meeting to the media center, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Regional students and parents packed a board of ed meeting Wednesday night in a bid to save the ice hockey and golf programs from a budgetary axe.

With a preliminary spending plan calling for a 6.5-percent tax increase, board members defended the cuts as necessary before parents appeared to coalesce around a plan to save the sports through outside fundraisers.

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LITTLE SIVER: RBR TEACHERS BLAST MOORE

RED BANK REGIONAL LOU MOORESuperintendent Lou Moore at Wednesday’s RBR board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe union representing teachers at Red Bank Regional accused Superintendent Lou Moore Wednesday night of running the three-town high school district with an “authoritarian” approach and a “general lack of integrity.”

The bombshell accusations were made at a board of ed meeting hours after the Red Bank Regional Education Association’s members “overwhelmingly” cast a no-confidence vote against Moore, said math teacher Sunny Lenhard.

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RED BANK REGIONAL: REFERENDUM PASSES

Referendum supporters cheer the results at the RBR board of ed office Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njVoters in three towns gave overwhelming support Tuesday to a referendum on $17.3 million worth of capital improvements to Red Bank Regional High School.

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RED BANK REGIONAL: $17.3M PLAN ON BALLOT

The referendum includes $2.3 million for the installation of artificial turf and other improvements at the RBR football field. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njVoters in Little Silver, Red Bank and Shrewsbury will decide a referendum on $17.3 million worth of capital improvements to Red Bank Regional High School Tuesday.

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RBR: REFERENDUM INFO PUSH LAUNCHED

RED BANK REGIONAL RBRRed Bank Regional would get 10 new classrooms, a new roof, a turf field and other upgrades under the $17.3 million proposal. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank Regional High board of ed kicked off an information campaign Wednesday night with a dire message: if a proposed $17.3 million capital plan fails at the ballot box in December, taxpayers in three towns may be in for a tax shock. More →