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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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LITTLE SILVER: LAWMAKERS ADDRESS FUNDING

Local residents and school officials, including state Senator Declan O’Scanlon, below, turned out for the event at the Markham Place School. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Dozens of taxpayers and school administrators from the Greater Red Bank Green packed a Little Silver auditorium Wednesday night to press legislators for help with education costs.

 

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RED BANK: SALE PUTS BUILDING ON TAX ROLLS

The former VNA headquarters building on Riverside Avenue has been acquired by an office developer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s municipal coffers are about to be bolstered by the addition to the tax rolls of a major office building.

“It is now taxable,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said Wednesday about the former VNA Health Group headquarters, following a report by app.com that the property had been acquired by a private developer for $7.4 million.

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RED BANK: CHARTER RESCHEDULES LOTTERY

[UPDATE, January 8, 2018: The enrollment lottery addressed in the announcement below has been rescheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, February 10, with the application deadline now set at 4 p.m. February 9.]

(Press release from the Red Bank Charter Schoo)

Red Bank Charter School (RBCS), a high-achieving, racially and ethnically integrated, tuition-free preK-8 public school, has announced that the deadline for Red Bank families to submit an application for the 2018-19 school year is 4 p.m. on January 10, 2018.

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RED BANK: NOW TAKING TAX PREPAYMENTS

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank has joined Belmar, Jersey City and other New Jersey municipalities in encouraging residents to consider reducing the impact of the newly adopted federal tax plan on their wallets.

How? By prepaying local property taxes before the end of 2018.

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RED BANK: BALLARD Q&A

Michael Ballard. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Ballard’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

 

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RED BANK: McARTHUR Q&A

Dana McArthur. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are McArthur’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER Q&A

Linda Schwabenbauer. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Schwabenbauer’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH Q&A

Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Zipprich’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES DOMINATE DEBATE

Council candidates, from left, Dana McArthur, Ed Zipprich, Michael Ballard and Linda Schwabenbauer at Monday’s event at River Street Commons. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank council faced off Monday night in a debate-like forum that focused in large part on parking and tax issues.

The polite exchanges gave residents in attendance a chance to compare a three-term incumbent, a political newcomer, and two candidates who work with numbers all day.

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RED BANK: INKY PROBES SEGREGATION CLAIMS

The Red Bank Charter School on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is the Red bank school district segregated? And if so, is the Red Bank Charter School at fault?

An article published Thursday on philly.com, the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer, probes that question, and whether others among New Jersey’s 88 charter schools are also segregated.

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RED BANK: CHARTER SCHOOL WINS GYM OK

A rendering of the proposed charter school gym, which wouldn’t have room for bleachers, an architect said. (Rendering by Erick Wagner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank Charter School won approval Thursday night to create a gym in part of a commercial building it plans to buy on Monmouth Street.

In the process, the zoning board hearing on the plan re-exposed some long-simmering resentments harbored by parents who contend the charter school’s existence is a drain on the local school district.

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RED BANK: CHARTER, RAYRAP ON AGENDA

A view of 135-137 Monmouth Street as seen through windows at the Red Bank Charter School, its prospective next owner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank zoning board this week takes up two projects that have generated heat in the past, one involving the Red Bank Charter School and the other a townhouse plan by builder Ray Rapcavage.

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RED BANK: CHARTER DATA RELEASE ORDERED

Judy DeHaven, below, claims the Red Bank Charter School “continues to operate without transparency or accountability.” (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The New Jersey Government Records Council earlier this week ordered the Red Bank Charter School to release demographic data it failed to provide to a borough resident under an Open Public Records Act request.

The state agency, acting on a complaint filed by Judy DeHaven, found on Tuesday that the school had unlawfully withheld data showing the breakdown of the student population by grade, gender, race, ethnicity and other factors.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

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