RED BANK: MORE SPARKS OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center offers a rare vantage for Red Bankers to view the Navesink and Swimming rivers, speakers said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s elected officials got an earful from the public about the borough’s disabled Senior Center Wednesday night.

But even as the all-Democratic council unanimously approved a new lease on interim space, sparks continued to fly between its members over the center’s near-term future.

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RED BANK: DEMS ERUPT OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years following a pipe leak. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTension among Red Bank Democrats over the future of the borough’s Senior Center erupted in public over the weekend.

Joined by Mayor Pasquale Menna, four of the council’s six Democrats lit into the other two, one of whom is the party chairman, as having “placed their own popularity over what’s best for our residents and taxpayers.”

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER STILL ON ICE

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Red Bank’s Senior Center is not for sale, Mayor Pasquale Menna insists.

But two years after extensive damage caused by a burst pipe, multiple questions surround the still-closed Shrewsbury Avenue facility. Among them: will it reopen anytime soon, and will it stay where it is?

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RED BANK: YASSIN MOVES TO COUNCIL FORE

Councilman Hazim Yassin at a council meeting in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a year of butting heads with most of his fellow Democrats, Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard lost his seat on the budget-shaping finance committee Friday.

He was displaced by first-term Councilman Hazim Yassin at the borough government’s annual New Year’s Day reorganization meeting. Read More »

RED BANK: TRASH PACT, LEAK REPORT OK’D

DeLisa Demolition won the bidding to haul the borough’s trash and recycling for another five years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicMonths later than expected, Red Bank officials agreed this week to enter a new five-year contract for private trash hauling, one that will increase the frequency of recycling pickups.

They also agreed to hire an outside attorney to look into disputed emails about the bid specifications.

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RED BANK: ‘PRECAUTION’ CLOSES TOWN HALL

red bank borough hallBorough facilities will reopen Tuesday, Shehady said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s borough hall was closed Monday without public notice.

In response to redbankgreen inquiry Monday afternoon, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said the shutdown was effective “just today” and imposed “as an added safety precaution after the holidays.”

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RED BANK: THREE-WEEK DETOUR PLANNED

Yes, the flashing sign shown above has a typo. But starting Friday, the eastbound lane of East Bergen Place from Broad Street to South Street in Red Bank will be closed for utility work, the borough announced Wednesday.

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RED BANK: TRASH SURVEY SPLITS COUNCIL

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA trash-and-recycling survey became the latest wedge between two factions of Red Bank’s one-party council Wednesday night.

The dispute included innuendo that Councilman Ed Zipprich could not be trusted to keep information secret from bidders in the pending award of a trash hauling contract.

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RED BANK: DEAL OVER LEAK PROBES POSSIBLE

ballard zipprich 102217Michael Ballard, left, and Ed Zipprich with an unidentified woman at the 2017 Halloween parade. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA stalemate over dueling demands for probes stemming from a Red Bank government email leak may be headed toward resolution.

At the urging of Mayor Pasquale Menna, council members informally agreed Wednesday night to seek a legal opinion regarding their options on how to proceed.

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RED BANK: SPLIT COUNCIL OKS ENGINE DEAL

red bank fire engine 93 102217The Independent Engine Company’s 1994 Seagrave pumper, seen in the 2017 Halloween parade, would be traded in with a second engine. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA recurring split within Red Bank’s all-Democratic council was on display again Wednesday night, when a majority approved the purchase of two new fire engines. Read More »

RED BANK: TWO NEW PUMPERS PLANNED

The new apparatus would be stationed at the Independent Engine house, shared with the First Aid Squad on Spring Street at left, and the Westside Hose firehouse on Leighton Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s volunteer fire department will replace two trucks in the coming year under a plan discussed at last Wednesday’s council workshop session.

“It’s been a long-awaited purchase,” fire Chief Scott Calabrese told the council.

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RED BANK: SPLIT OVER LEAK PROBE CONTINUES

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night, with councilmembers Erik Yngstrom at center left and Michael Ballard at center right. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicA dispute over leaked emails entered its third month when the Red Bank council met for a workshop session via Zoom Wednesday night.

The issue has pitted two Democrats who are running for re-election against four who aren’t.

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RED BANK: SNACK BAR TO BE PARKING OFFICE

The former concession stand at Riverside Gardens Park has been vacant for the past year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

park it 2020Red Bank officials plan to turn the Riverside Gardens Park snack bar into a parking utility satellite office.

Rarely used for two decades before short runs as an ice cream stand and a gourmet takeout restaurant, the vacant structure will be reopened as an office and public interface for the borough’s parking enforcement unit, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: LITTLE PROGRESS ON GARDEN

red bank what's going on hereThirteen months after it was abruptly closed over contamination concerns, Red Bank’s only community garden heads into autumn with a crop of periodically mown grass.

But what happened to the neighborhood soil testing that was supposed to be conducted? And will the garden reopen?

redbankgreen’s What’s Going On Here? has an update.

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RED BANK: CHANGES EYED AT BASIE FIELDS

Under the proposal, most of Henry Street would be eliminated and a new playground built alongside Mohawk Pond. (CME Associates graphic. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A street that effectively serves as shortcut past the main entrance to Count Basie Fields would be closed to traffic under a concept plan discussed by the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON AGENDA… AND NOT

Councilman Ed Zipprich in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMissing from the agenda for the Red Bank council session scheduled for Wednesday night: clashing demands for investigations.

But the probes – one focused on the source of an email leak, and the other on alleged conduct exposed by the emails – may still get an airing.

Here’s a look-ahead at the agenda for the session.

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RED BANK: DEMS CLASH OVER BUDGET, PROBE

A screengrab of the council’s session Wednesday night. (Zoom screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRifts among Democrats were on almost nonstop display during a three-hour meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

While Councilman Ed Zipprich pressed for a probe into an email leak he said had smeared his reputation, at least two of his colleagues were more concerned about his intervention in the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.

But first, the all-Democratic body split over proposed budget cuts pushed by Councilman Michael Ballard that others saw as unwise.

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RED BANK: DELISA TO GET ‘EMERGENCY’ PACT

DeLisa Demolition would continue to pick up waste and recycling under an interim contract that boosts its existing rate by $10,000 per month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

this just in redbankgreenRed Bank’s elected officials will be asked to authorize an “emergency” trash contract this week after no bids were received for a longterm pact, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: NEW LOT, HOURS ON AGENDA

The plan calls for a new parking lot on the former site of the Marine Park tennis courts. (Image by CME Associates. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

park it 2020A new parking lot in Red Bank’s Marine Park is among the topics slated for discussion by the council Wednesday night.

So is an issue put on hold five months ago: increasing the hours of paid parking downtown.

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RED BANK: BUDGET Q&A SLATED AFTER ALL

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyCouncilman Michael Ballard, center, with Councilman Ed Zipprich, left, and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost two months later than promised, Red Bank residents will get a detailed explanation next week of a borough budget that would increase property taxes by 2.8 percent.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE AT 2.8 PERCENT

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, with Councilman Michael Ballard at top center and Business Administrator Ziad Shehady at center right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

Red Bank property owners would pay 2.8 percent more in municipal taxes this year, under a budget advanced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The still-evolving $22.4 million spending plan was the centerpiece of a nearly three-hour online council meeting that left viewers with a lot to unpack.

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RED BANK: TAX INCREASE ON AGENDA

michael ballard 051320Councilman Michael Ballard during an online meeting in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesDelayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s proposed budget for 2020 would boost the amount to be raised from local property owners by 5.4 percent.

But heading into the final stretch, it’s not clear that the chairman of the finance committee will support the spending plan if it goes to a vote Wednesday night.

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