RUMSONITES BARK AT TREE TAKEDOWN

doug-spencerShade Tree Commission Chairman Doug Spencer shows residents a piece of a tree Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials aren’t quite out of the woods yet when it comes to adapting to changes to the borough’s tree preservation ordinance. And now, they have a little company.

On Tuesday night, Rumson’s council suddenly found itself in the middle of a thorny debate over the efficacy of its tree preservation law after a Navesink Avenue property’s tree population was decimated last week, residents said.

Change to the ordinance and bolstered enforcement are likely, council members said.

Read More »

RUMSON BIZ OWNERS TRASH GARBAGE PLAN

dumpsterStarting in July, Rumson will no longer collect trash from Dumpsters, leaving some businesses to hire outside contractors to do the job. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After howling from residents and business owners last year over a plan to lay off a handful of employees and  privatize trash collection in Rumson, the borough council scrapped the idea — for this year, at least — and instead came up with cost-saving measures within the public works department.

Now, as the borough prepares to implement one of those measures, some local merchants are bristling at the plan that they say digs further into their pockets.

Read More »

HATS THROWN INTO AND HELD FROM RACES

castlemanLittle Silver Mayor Suzanne Castleman is calling it quits. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file for November’s elections, and in the sleepy towns of Rumson, Little Silver and Fair Haven, where Republicans dominate and election outcomes are all but foregone conclusions, the big news is who’s not running for re-election.

Here’s a rundown of who’s in and who’s out in those towns.

Read More »

RUMSON SNUFFING OUT SMOKING IN PARKS

victory-parkRumson intends to ban smoking in all of its public parks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Smoke ’em if you got ’em. Just not in Rumson’s parks.

The council, in what it sees as a ‘duh’ move for public health, intends to ban smoking in all the borough’s public parks.

“We just felt it was a good example for the kids,” Mayor John Ekdahl said.

Read More »

RUMSON’S SPENDING DOWN, TAXES UP

rumson-councilFor the second year in a row, Rumson’s tax rate will increase. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials told department heads earlier this year to hold the line on expenses, and they did. The council, too, reined in spending for 2011, costing a police department employee a job.

But despite a budget shrinkage of about $250,000, taxes, for the second straight year, are going up in Rumson.

Read More »

RUMSON: NO DAWGS ALLOWED ON THE LAWN

dawgs

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You can show school spirit all you want in Rumson. Just keep it off the lawn.

A request that had sailed through in Fair Haven didn’t make the cut in Rumson Tuesday night, when the borough council rejected a request from a couple of moms to sell lawn signs to raise money for the Rumson-Fair Haven boys lacrosse program.

The reasons, council members said: one, it’s against local ordinance, and two, if they lifted the ban, it could set a precedent for cluttered frontyards throughout town. And that, you know, is not how Rumson rolls.

Read More »

PARENTS, STUDENTS PUSH FOR CREW AT R-FH

crew-councilRumson resident Jenny Baumer makes a case to the borough council Tuesday night to keep spring crew at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Rumson shifted its recreation spring crew program over to Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in 2009, Mayor John Ekdahl called it “an experiment.”

Whether that experiment has been a success depends on who you ask.

In Ekdahl and his council’s view: no. But the perception among the approximately 50 residents and students who packed the council meeting room Tuesday night: clearly a success, and they want to keep the program at R-FH.

The two sides collided on opinion and facts about the crew program, as well as the council’s recent decision to move it out of the high school and fold it back into the borough’s rec department.

Read More »

RUMSON OUTSOURCING SCRAPPED FOR NOW

trashTrash collection will remain a borough operation in 2011. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials have canned the idea of outsourcing trash collection in 2011.

That doesn’t necessarily mean jobs are safe in future years, though.

Read More »

RUMSON NEARS POLICE CONTRACT THRU 2013

rumson-pdThe borough and its police union are poised to finalize a seven-year contract, ending a three-year deadlock in negotiations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials and police are expected to finally come to a new contract agreement, ending a three-year impasse while avoiding a potentially budget-crushing decision by a state arbitrator, Mayor John Ekdahl said.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s a done deal,” he said.

Read More »

RUMSON WON’T AXE FAIR HAVEN FROM SPORTS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The breakup of Rumson and Fair Haven’s recreation alliance may turn out to have been brief.

After a few sit-downs, the neighbors have come to an agreement to keep two of its three sports partnerships intact, and are potentially on track to work out a sports trifecta, Mayor John Ekdahl said.

Read More »

A ROOM FULL OF GARBAGE IDEAS

rumson-dpwA public works employee picks up recycling in Rumson last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If you ask the residents who filled borough hall Tuesday night, there are plenty of ways to keep Rumson’s half-dozen trash collectors employed in the face of tight budgets.

Make cuts across every department, hold annual fundraisers, reduce collections to once a week, work out a deal to pick up trash in Fair Haven, which plans to outsource its collection.

Or, instead of soliciting bids to demolish the old police headquarters, sell the property as-is and use the money to bankroll public works, said “Uncle” Bob Fazzone.

“Then you get the $200,000 for the boys,” he said.

The input residents gave the council will be part of the borough’s research on whether to privatize its garbage collection, a move that’s anticipated to save between $200,00 and $350,000 a year, Council President Shaun Broderick said.

Read More »

LOCALS TRASH RUMSON GARBAGE PLAN

rumson-garbageMore than 30 people turned out at borough hall Tuesday to speak out against an idea to privatize garbage pickup in Rumson. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The guys who pick up trash on Mondays and Thursdays in Rumson aren’t your average garbagemen, apparently. In fact, the term ‘garbageman’ is one that Lennox Avenue resident Teresa Connor finds unfit for the group of “smart young men” assigned cleanup duty of the borough’s 2,500 or so properties.

They provide security, they know most people by their first name, she said. One woman said they give her dog biscuits in the morning.

After hearing that the six-man crew was on the employment chopping block, about three dozen residents filed into borough hall Tuesday afternoon to give an earful to the council.

Read More »

POND DREDGING DELAYS RILE RUMSONITES

pomphreys-pondState officials say Pomphrey’s Pond, across East River Road from borough hall, will get its long-awaited dredging later this year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After a series of near-misses and a mechanical breakdown that pushed neighbors over the edge of patience, a pond across the street from Rumson Borough Hall will get a dredging that has been planned for four years later this summer, officials said Tuesday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has guaranteed that Pomphrey’s Pond is a top priority to get permission for the maintenance — but not just yet.

To residents’ chagrin, DEP representative Cindy Randazzo said that the pond cannot be dredged before September because the warm weather will have negative effects on the wildlife. A survey taken Monday showed that there are sunfish living in the pond, she said.

“Come September, you’ll be first on the list to be dredged,” Randazzo said. “That’s a promise from me.”

Read More »

AFTER TWO DROPS, RUMSON TAX RISES

rumson-councilThe Rumson Borough Council met at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to finalize the budget. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Unlike its neighbors to the west, Little Silver and Fair Haven, Rumson won’t be able to pull off one of those improbable shrinking New Jersey budgets in 2010.

After two years of holding the line on taxes, Rumson officials, faced with declines in revenues and increased costs, moved forward on passing a $15.2 million budget that includes a 6.9-percent spike in property tax bills.

Read More »