RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA?

red bank primary access roadWork on the primary school emergency access road, seen here from Locust Avenue, is nearly complete. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWhile most of America is cracking open its first cold beverages of the July 4 holiday Wednesday evening, the Red Bank council plans to hold a workshop session.

Yep.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE COUNCIL AGENDA?

red bank basie trackThe track at Count Basie Fields would be replaced under a plan up for adoption by the council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposed alternate-side parking ordinance is up for consideration at the Red Bank council’s only regular session this month.

Also on the agenda as the council moves into its summer meeting schedule: taxes, a new track for Count Basie Fields, the settlement of a disputed records request and more. Read More »

RED BANK: TAXES ON WORKSHOP AGENDA

red bank, michael ballardCouncilman Michael Ballard, with borough CFO Peter O’Reilly in foreground. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesIntroduced two weeks ago without a word of comment by elected officials, the 2019 Red Bank budget is scheduled for discussion Wednesday night.

Also on the borough council’s workshop agenda: the resolution of a lawsuit,  and a discussion about food trucks.

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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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RED BANK: COUNCIL DROPS REVERSE APPEALS

red bank nj oceanfirst hqThe OceanFirst Bank headquarters was the subject of a reverse appeal case settled Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njBombarded by criticism from the business community, the Red Bank council on Wednesday dropped a plan to pursue a new round of  “reverse appeals” against commercial properties it believed to be undertaxed.

But first, the council approved the settlement of an older reverse appeal that will boost the taxable value of a downtown building by 69 percent over three years. And battles over cases filed in 2018 continue.

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RED BANK: ‘REVERSE’ TAX APPEALS ON AGENDA

8 east front st. red bank njA law firm hired by the borough says 8 East Front Street, which sold last year for $5.68 million, is improperly assessed at just under $3 million. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesA year after authorizing a law firm to go after owners of properties believed to be undertaxed, the Red Bank council is expected to renew its “aggressive” approach this week.
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RED BANK: THREE NEW HOMES APPROVED

81 west westside red bank njThe new owner of a corner lot at West Westside Avenue and Clifford Place plans to demolish the existing house and build three new homes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to build three new homes on an existing one-house lot won approval from the Red Bank planning board Monday night.

But not without some pushback over whether the builder was “squeezing in” too much development.

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RED BANK: PARKING REVENUE STILL ON TABLE

pasquale menna, michael ballard, red bank njCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, and Mayor Pasquale Menna on election night 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s mayor and council say they’re “hopeful and optimistic” about implementing the recommendations of a bombshell parking study delivered this month.

The assertion was made Tuesday in an unusual press release that appeared to walk back comments made by Mayor Pasquale Menna and Councilman Michael Ballard to redbankgreen last week, when they termed a key recommendation in the report potentially “catastrophic” and a “terrible hit” for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: VICTORIAN IN CROSSHAIRS

red bank 95 east front st.A prominent Victorian structure on East Front Street is on the agenda for the next Red Bank planning board meeting. 

What’s Going On Here? Click ‘read more’ for the answer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: ‘WEANING’ FROM METERS UNLIKELY

Using meters to fund town operations leaves the parking utility “without adequate financial resources” for maintenance and upgrades, the report found. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesOne of the key recommendations of a bombshell study of Red Bank parking appears unlikely to be adopted by borough officials anytime soon, redbankgreen has learned.

At issue: the council’s annual siphoning of the surplus generated by parking meters and kiosks in order to slow property tax increases. Ending the practice, says Mayor Pasquale Menna, would be “catastrophic” for taxpayers.

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RED BANK: REPORT DOMINATES FACE-OFF

red bank nj council candidates 2018From left, council candidates Kate Triggiano, Hazim Yassin, Sue Viscomi, Michael Clancy and Allison Gregory at the West Side Community Group’s forum Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank, nj, election 2018A management study that found widespread “dysfunction” in Red Bank’s government provided fodder for contenders at the annual Candidates’ Night hosted by the West Side Community Group Tuesday night.

In the case of Pearl Lee, the first Republican to challenge Mayor Pasquale Menna since 2006, it provided the spark for her to run, she said. For Menna, it’s a document he accepts “ownership” of. And all five council candidates alluded to it.

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RED BANK: BOARD RESISTS DENSITY BONUSES

red bank, nj, vna, 176 riverside, saxumThe former VNA building sits on 2.7 acres at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA recommended new overlay zone that would allow generous density bonuses won’t be on the Red Bank council’s agenda for its next meeting Wednesday night.

That’s because members of the planning board, which was tasked with reviewing the proposal, think it gives too much away to the affected site’s new owner.

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RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT MOVES ADVANCE

red bank nj vna saxum 176 riverside The former VNA headquarters, at Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place, is on track to designation for special redevelopment rights. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s elected officials were in redevelopment mode Wednesday night, advancing two measures that could reshape the landscape.

One tapped a consulting firm to set up a redevelopment agency to oversee downtown projects. The other initiated a process under which the former VNA Health Group headquarters could be replaced with high-density housing.

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RED BANK: DISTRICT GETS FUNDING BOOST

Jobs and after-school programs that were cut this spring are being restored, said Superintendent Jared Rumage, seen at left with board president Fred Stone before a lobbying trip to Trenton in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school officials have been busy in recent days restoring jobs, programs and contracts eliminated just four months ago.

Under Governor Phil Murphy’s first budget, the borough’s 1,422-student pre-K-8 district saw a 55-percent jump in state aid, which board members said Tuesday night was a cause for both celebration and frustration.

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RED BANK: AFTER SCATHING REPORT, WHAT?

Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in front of the large-screen monitor he uses in staff meetings to track projects. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that a scathing review of municipal operations has landed on their desks, what will Red Bank’s leaders do with it?

It won’t go into a drawer to be forgotten, says the newly hired official charged with implementing most of its recommendations. In fact, he says, change is already underway.

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RED BANK: VNA SITE UP FOR NEW HOUSING

The former VNA headquarters building on Riverside Avenue, with the Colony House apartments at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The massive former VNA Health Group headquarters in Red Bank would be demolished and replaced with multifamily residential housing under a plan in the works, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES & MORE

A consultant was hired to conduct a long-awaited parking study following the failure last year of plans to redevelop the White Street lot, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Red Bank council, these things happened:

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RED BANK: SCHOOL TAX HIKE, JOB CUTS LOOM

Jobs and after-school programs are on the cutting block unless the state comes through with an additional $750,000, said Superintendent Jared Rumage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The average Red Bank homeowner would pay about $117 more in taxes to support borough schools this year if New Jersey legislators don’t come through with more funding, Superintendent Jared Rumage said Tuesday night.

Even with the levy increase, the local primary and middle schools could see cuts in staffing and extracurricular programs such as jazz band and the fledgling cross-country track team, he said.

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RED BANK: STATE UPHOLDS CHARTER RENEWAL

The charter school’s main building, on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank Charter School does not engage in “segregative” enrollment practices, the New Jersey Department of Education ruled last week in upholding the school’s latest five-year operating charter.

In letter dated April 16 to the charter school, Acting Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet rejected assertions of bias by Fair Schools Red Bank and the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, and found instead that the charter school “is seeking, ‘to the maximum extent practicable,’ to enroll a cross-section of Red Bank Borough’s school-age population.”

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS ‘REVERSE’ APPEALS

Mayor Pasquale Menna shows off the 1925 and 1926 tax bills for a Red Bank property during Wednesday’s council meeting. How much were they? Read on. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The borough of Red Bank, hammered in recent years by tax appeals, is going “aggressive” at the urging of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved hiring a law firm to sue commercial property owners whose assessments appear to be low relative to the real estate market.

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RED BANK: CHARTER AID BOOST SLAMMED

District officials say they may have to eliminate a new cross-country program in order to balance the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank school board members and parents reacted with outrage Monday night to an effective reduction in state aid under funding announced by the administration of Governor Phil Murphy last week.

Though nominally a $178,503 increase for the district, more than that sum is to be relayed to the Red Bank Charter School, Superintendent Jared Rumage said at a board meeting at the primary school.

With the district seeing an effective decline in aid while state funding to the charter school’s rises $1,025 per student, “I think the time has come to have the discussion about running two public schools in Red Bank,” Rumage told redbankgreen.

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