We all know that Red Bank has the Count Basie and the Two River theaters and many other A&E venues, but sometimes the best show in town is the bi-monthly town council meeting.
A portion of each meeting is always opened to public comments. And by far the most interesting part of the evening. It is the right of any U.S. citizen to publicly raise an issue and praise or condemn their elected representatives.
We've attached three videos for your viewing pleasure:
Janice Fischer, Animal Rights/Welfare activists imploring the council to pass the so-called "Puppy Mill" law citing various references of cruelty and pointing out specific violations of Red Banks Bark Avenue Puppies, the only business in town that would be affected by the law.
Sean DiSomma, a combative borough resident and the town's former GOP Chairman responding to Fischer and blasting the town council on various perceived shortcomings, and...
Borough resident Jeff Welker giving an impassioned plea to alleviate the rat infestation problem near his home and neighborhood.
Again, the best show in town!
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The Red Bank council meeting started out with a positive buzz providing Proclamations to: the Celestial Lodge Number 36 for their 135 years of community service, Red Bank Middle School students recognized by the NJ State Board of Education and their Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, and Red Bank Recreation's 10 and under Little Leaguers who won the Two River Minors Division Championship. That's why we love this town!
And then it got hot.
Puppy Mill Ordinance
In a highly emotional and passionate presentations, several animal welfare/rights advocates including Janice Fischer of Manasquan, NJ and the coordinator of the Puppy Mill Awareness Campaign for Friends of Animals United New Jersey Fischer stated that “Sub-prime pet leases are used to enhance sales…, just as an illustration, Bark Avenue Puppies has used this lease,…and New Jersey has just introduced a ban.” Fischer spoke about the significant fines that Bark Avenue incurred and that they “Continue to violate the Pet Purchase Protection Act.”
Five other activists spoke about the abuse of animals in puppy mills and the conditions that they live in. One activist attorney offered free legal services for any litigation the borough might face.
Borough resident Sean DiSomma said that “…we have paid activists (coming from out of town), and they are advocating directly for the closure of a single business in town. One has to wonder what is our legal exposure and our liability?..., and as a taxpayer, I don’t want some random attorney, just because she’ll (represent us) for free to defend us. When you’ve got a $2m judgment a free lawyer doesn't matter.”
The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure that pet store owners purchase their puppies and kittens from reputable dealers and not puppy or kitten mills.
No final action was taken by the council and a public hearing was re-scheduled for July 18th.
Gary Hagan, owner of Bark Avenue Puppies was unavailable for comment as we went to press.
Borough resident Jeff Welker stood at the podium with family, neighbors and legal counsel and vividly spoke about how a neighbor, with obvious mental health issues stated that “A few years ago, after noticing rats in my back yard, this gentleman was caught and admitted to feeding rats in his yard”. Welker said that his neighbor is withdrawn, a recluse and that the holes in fence were getting larger and he is afraid for his kids. Welker said “…his wife recorded a disgusting video that shows at least a dozen, probably closer to twenty rats frolicking, fighting and mating just feet away from my property.” Welker implored that Senior Services step in to help find his neighbor a better environment. Welker also noted that the response from Monmouth County and Red Bank has been extremely positive and proactive. The mayor invited Welker and his neighbors to meet after they adjourned to gather more information and strategize with the borough’s Business Administrator and Chief of Police to find a solution to this problem.
Other actions the Borough took:
Parking on Private Property – First Reading
At a first reading of an ordinance, Borough property owners will be allowed to lease or rent their property for parking spaces by meeting the following requirements: obtain a Development Permit, provide a survey indicating the location and time of each parking space to be leased or rented and a statement indicating the availability of parking spaces during the lease time. No stacked parking will be allowed. Mayor Meena said that he wants two clauses inserted: that no there will be no parking in the fire lanes which will be enforced by the police and that handicapped parking be used by only those with the proper documents.
Borough Employees Salary & Wages
A motion was made to amend this ordinance establishing a range salaries and wages of Borough officials and employees and another public hearing was re-scheduled for July 18th. To see the document, click here.
To see what liquor licenses were approved, click on the following:
The Borough settled a tax appeal filed by Verizon on their properties resulting in credit to the company for $18,425.
In other Borough business the following were appointed: Frederick Corcione as Construction Official and Thomas J. Welsh as Fire Marshal.
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