Dear Neighbors -

I want to thank everyone who spent the time and energy sending emails and attending the Zoom council meetings regarding Red Bank’s budget and garbage collection.

As you may know, the “Z-Pack” (Horgan, Yngstrom, Yassin and Triggiano) voted as expected at Wednesday night’s council meeting to impose an onerous 3% municipal tax increase on us while continuing to support reduced town services.  

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This figure does not include the library assessment and of course, is just one of the tax increases (school, county, open space, state and federal) we can expect in 2021.

Residents were shown once again that when it comes to our current council, there is a locked-down majority of four who will do exactly as they are instructed by Business Administrator Ziad Shahady, going so far as to read statements from their computers that certainly sound pre-approved.  

The Mayor, it is clear, has no interest or control in how the meetings play out.  

It is Mr. Shahady’s show and was plain to any who watched via Zoom, he allows no criticism of his work and shoots down any comment, idea, initiative or view he does not personally support.  

The “Z-Pack” not only allow this, they encourage it.

Only Councilmen Ed Zipprich and Michael Ballard continue to vote for the best interests of our town (continued services, lower taxes, transparent government), and against the other council members blind allegiance to a non-elected town employee who does not live here, is guaranteed his pay raises and along with his “confidential executive assistant,” cost us over a quarter million dollars a year. 

Moving forward, I have OPRA’d (Open Public Records Act) the garbage survey results, as we paid for the study and I believe we deserve to know the outcome.  

I am also advocating the overturning of the 2018 ordinance that gives Mr. Shahady the power to essentially be the sole voice and control-center of our town government.  

I’m not sure what will happen next with garbage collection.  The RFP produced by Mr. Shahady was so poorly written it received zero responses, forcing Red Bank to extend our current sanitation contract with Delisa Waste Services, the only vendor currently willing to work with the town.

Mr. Shahady’s inept handling of the garbage contract will now cost Red Bank another $10k a month until January, and who will handle Red Bank Sanitation, and at what cost, remains to be seen.

While I’m sorry our efforts to reign in costs and our rogue business administrator did not produce the outcome we sought, I thank everyone who has been engaged in this process.

The work continues, and I will reach out with news and updates as I receive them.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and please don’t hesitate to be in touch if something comes up in town you think needs sharing!

Editors Note: to read the TAPino Red Bank article on Wednesday's council meeting, including a video link of the entire meeting, click HERE.