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: SICKELS SENDOFF, H2O ON AGENDA

Stanley Sickels at a planning board meeting in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s most powerful unelected official is slated to get an official sendoff at the semimonthly council meeting Wednesday night.

Also on the agenda: the town’s heaviest water users would be subject to higher minimum charges under a measure slated for introduction.

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RED BANK: EATERIES SPOTLIGHT STRAWS

Kitch Organic on Leighton Avenue, above, is one of eight Red Bank restaurants participating in a monthlong effort to reduce the number of plastic drinking straws that don’t make it into the recycling stream.

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RED BANK: SECOND-METER ISSUE RETURNS

 Action has been delayed on water meters that would allow Red Bankers to avoid sewerage charges for watering lawns and washing cars, according to the borough administrator. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Where are the water meters that would let Red Bank homeowners irrigate their lawns without incurring sewer charges?

The secondary meters were a hot topic leading up to the borough council’s approval 18 months ago of $3.7 million in bonds to install new primary meters in every home and business, and to cover other upgrades to the municipal water utility.

Since then, though, there’s been little said about the meters — until last week, when the issue sputtered back to life.

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RED BANK: LAUNDROMAT & APARTMENTS OK’D

The new structure would be built between a six-unit apartment building, at left, and Juanito’s Market, at right, with all three properties sharing parking in back. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank zoning board approved the creation of a new laundromat and four apartments on a vacant Shrewsbury Avenue lot Thursday night.

But before the project can get underway, grocer and restaurateur Juan Torres will have to reduce a possible tab for water and sewer hookups that could total $562,000.

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RED BANK: NO LEAD IN WATER, OFFICIAL SAYS

al larotonda 011117Alberto Larotonda brought his ruptured water line, complete with a connector made of lead, to the council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Extensive testing of Red Bank water has found no evidence of lead contamination, despite the presence of lead pipes serving some homes, a borough official said Wednesday night.

The remarks by public utilities Director Cliff Keen, made during the council’s first semimonthly meeting of 2017, came after a resident showed off  a water service line with a lead connector that was recently excavated outside his Spring Street home.

“For more than 20 years, I’ve been drinking out of a lead straw,” Alberto Larotonda told the council.

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RED BANK: UPDATES ON WATER

rb-meter-swap-110216-1An installer with National Metering Services installing a new wireless meter in a Red Bank home earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Some quick updates on Red Bank water…

The stinky, dirty water that affected some customers earlier this month has been corrected, borough officials tell redbankgreen. But they’re being cautious about turning on the tap too quickly.

And with the townwide water-meter replacement project underway, users should be alert to a change in their billing.

Details on both below.

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RED BANK: STINKY WATER PROMPTS CHANGE

water faucet dripRed Bank reversed its seasonal water supply arrangement after complaints about taste and odor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

After a burst of complaints about stinky, foul-tasting water, Red Bank officials reverted to the municipal water supply earlier this week, redbankgreen has learned.

Now, those officials are waiting for New Jersey American Water Company, which supplies the borough’s water for six months of the year, to clear up an algae problem at the Swimming River Reservoir before resuming the flow, they said.

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RED BANK: GOP PAIR SETS “ACTION PLAN”

obosky-colwell-hanlon-101816Republican council candidates Kellie O’Bosky Colwell and Brian Hanlon listen as Councilwoman Cindy Burnham speaks at Candidate’s Night on October 18. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Election_2016_Plain

By JOHN T. WARD

“Tired of hearing politicians make vague promises at election time” only to ignore them afterward, the two Republican candidates for Red Bank council unveiled a “six-month action plan” Monday that calls for a freeze on department heads’ salaries and a study of the water utility.

In their plan, first-time candidates Brian Hanlon and Kellie O’Bosky Colwell pledge they won’t seek re-election if they “do not deliver on their promises.”

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RED BANK: WATER METER SWAPS BEGIN

rb-water-meter-092816The Navesink Hose firehouse on Mechanic Street got its first-ever water meter Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s townwide water-meter replacement project has begun, with homeowners about to get involved starting in mid-October, redbankgreen has learned.

The heavily debated program mandates that every address served by the municipal water utility get a new, remotely read meter, a process that began in recent days with the metering of borough hall, firehouses and other public structures that never had any. Read More »

RED BANK: LEAK CLOSES MONMOUTH ST.

rb leak 032916 1A block of Monmouth Street in Red Bank was closed in the eastbound direction Tuesday afternoon as workers sought the source of an unsurfaced water leak discovered when the street was opened for scheduled sewer repairs Monday night.

Public utilities Director Cliff Keen told redbankgreen that a contractor was “chasing the leak” to find its source and could not immediately estimate when the street would be fully reopened between Maple Avenue and Drummond Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COUNCIL TAPS METER INSTALLER

rb water meter 120815 1Existing water meters are to be replaced with new technology that includes radio transmitters for remote reading, like one already in use on this new house on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s townwide water-meter replacement project, an effort that prompted complaints about unnecessary spending, went from proposal to reality without so much as a peep Wednesday night.

At a semimonthly meeting, the borough council awarded a contract for the work, which calls for replacing some 3,800 residential meters, and hundreds more non-residential devices, with technology that will enable borough officials to get a read on usage without leaving their desks.

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RED BANK: GOP HOSED ON WATER VOTES

cindy burnham 021016Council President Cindy Burnham, sitting in for the absent mayor for the first time, recused herself from the meter bond vote on advice from borough Attorney Jean Cipriani, right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Amid criticism by taxpayers, the new Republican-led Red Bank council approved two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for a municipal well and water meters for every property in town Wednesday night.

Both bonds won unanimous approval, though Council President Cindy Burnham, who recused herself over what was described as a potential conflict of interest, said she would have voted no on the meter issue.

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RED BANK: WATER BONDS UP FOR VOTE

rb water 102215Two bonds totaling $3.7 million in debt for a new well and water meters are up for possible adoption vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Two bond ordinances and a plan to buy new water meters for nearly all Red Bank properties dominate the agenda for Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Facing a deadline for action, the council is expected to hold an adotion vote on two bonds totaling $3.7 million to pay for upgrades they say will help the town avoid  restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

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RED BANK: TWO WATER BONDS ON AGENDA

rb water meter 120815 2A wireless water meter installed on a newly constructed home on Oakland Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

With two clocks ticking down to the same deadline, Red Bank officials expect to introduce a pair of bond ordinances Wednesday night in hopes of avoiding restrictions on water usage and new connections to the water system.

One would authorize $1.9 million in new debt to replace nearly every water meter in town. The other would bond $1.83 million pay for a new water well to supply the borough-owned water utility.

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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RED BANK: WELL ADVANCES; T&M MAY NOT

rb water plant 102215Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, and DPU supervisor Bob Holiday check out construction on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Working against a ticking clock, Red Bank’s engineering consultant got the go-ahead Monday night to design a new backup supply well for the borough-owned water utility at the Chestnut Street public works complex.

But the $82,500 contract was authorized amid rumblings that it may be among the last granted to T&M Associates under the Democratic majority that has controlled the borough council for a generation.

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RED BANK: BACKUP WATER SUPPLY ON TABLE

rb water well 102215 1Construction underway last month on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street. The new well would be to located at the building’s far corner. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank may soon be getting a new water source, though officials hope not to need it.

The borough council has scheduled a single-issue special meeting Monday night to consider whether to authorize its engineering consultant, T&M Associates, to draw up plans for a new, 750-foot well at the Chestnut Street public utilities complex.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP-UP

rbcs 061015Seventh-graders from the Red Bank Charter School presented a report on “serving a healthy town,” and Mayor Pasquale Menna, below, returned to the dais after heart surgery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 061015Here’s some of what went on at the semimonthly meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night:

• Mayor Pasqule Menna presided over his first meeting following a month away following open-heart surgery. He thanked Council President Art Murphy for filling in for him at various events, and for “chauffering me around – ‘Driving Mr. Daisy,’ I suppose,” he said.

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RED BANK: WATER METERS TO GO WIRELESS

rb water meter 120414 1The borough-owned water utility would replace every meter in town – more than 3,800 of them – under the proposal.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

water faucet dripA plan for a wholesale modernization of Red Bank’s water-metering technology is back, as promised, after getting tabled late last year.

A $2.2 million bond to pay for the replacement of every water meter in town is slated for introduction next week.

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RED BANK: PREMATURE ON PAID PARKING?

bridge ave 012915Visitors to Bridge Avenue shops, above, and the western stretch of Monmouth Street may soon have to pay to park. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After the Red Bank borough council passed a resolution last month authorizing the purchase of pay stations for parking along Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue, redbankgreen asked: Why? Parking is free there.

No ordinance amendment had ever been passed or even introduced allowing the town to charge for parking outside the central business district. There had been no public debate on whether it should even happen.

That’s all coming, says business Administrator Stanley Sickels.

So why spend $135,308 for 13 kiosks that haven’t been authorized?

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RED BANK: WATER METER FAQ POSTED

rb water meter 120414 1The project would replace more than 3,800 residential water meters by the end of 2015, officials have said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials have responded to a demand for transparency into a proposed $2.2 million water meter replacement program by posting a list of frequently-asked-questions on the borough website.

At the December 3 meeting of the council, Mayor Pasquale Menna instructed Administrator Stanley Sickels to post “whatever information” he had on the topic by noon Friday after complaints that the borough was rushing the matter through to a vote.

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