RUMSON: EKDAHL RETIRES AS MAYOR

 John Ekdahl, right, with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna at the groundbreaking last September for an addition to the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where they serve on an advisory board.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 14 years at the helm of Rumson’s municipal government, John Ekdahl retired as mayor last week.

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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.

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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.

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PROBLEM RUMSON INTERSECTION GETS A LIFT

rumsonRecent changes to the intersection of Rumson Road and Bingham Avenue are expected to reduce accidents and increase sight lines. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The first sign, added about two years ago on Bingham Avenue in Rumson to warn of a stop sign farther ahead, didn’t seem to get the point across to drivers heading south toward Rumson Road.

A second warning, saying there is a stop 1,000 feet ahead, didn’t quite do the trick, either.

“We were still getting accidents,” Mayor John Ekdahl said.

That intersection, he said, has seen the most accidents in town in the last five years.

With the recent completion of improvements made by Monmouth County, Ekdahl hopes the number of accidents will decrease. It’ll be a game of wait-and-see, though.

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IN R-FH CREW DEAL, R-FH IS OUT

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Rumson-Fair Haven sports triplet is back intact.

Two weeks after locking up a deal with Fair Haven to keep lacrosse and flag football as part of Rumson recreation, the Rumson council decided last week that crew, the third sport that was on the chopping block, will stay as well.

Keeping the alliance alive, though, means Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School‘s crew program will be dropped.

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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.”

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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.

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