RED BANK, NJ: The council met last night for their Workshop Meeting and discussed a number of issues.  Councilwoman Kathy Horgan was absent.

These meetings are to talk about subjects that will be brought up on the next council meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th.

Typically mundane, they can get interesting.

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Take for example the Balloon Release Regulation.  It’s a draft ordinance on the releasing of balloons outside that was brought forth by councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who also chair’s the borough’s Environmental Commission.  

Borough attorney Greg Cannon related that the releasing of less than ten balloons could result in a fine of $250, and “If you could prove that someone released hundreds of balloons, the fine would increase to $1500,” said Cannon.  

“Many towns have passed this ordinance, and we felt an urgency to do it before somebody created this as a tradition.  It’s important that our environmental stance is clear and concise, and currently we don’t have one in the town, said Triggiano.

Attorney Cannon summed it up by saying, “You would not be able to release balloons in the borough of Red Bank.”

Deliberations on the balloon controversy went on for almost ten minutes.

To watch the video of at the start of this discussion, click HERE.

And then council member deliberated about holding council meetings on religious holidays. 

On January 1st, the council sets their yearly meeting schedule.  The next council meeting is schedule for October 9th.  Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days of the year in Judaism, begins at sundown on October 8th.

The council members parried back and forth on the moving of dates for other religions, what constitutes a “major religion,” with councilman Yassin Hazim, asking, “Are we opening up this to other religions as well?”  Which drew a response from councilman Ed Zipprich saying that, “I think we are opening this up to all religions.”

Councilwoman Kat Triggiano said “I think it’s the respectful thing to do.  I think that when we’re having a public meeting and somebody’s religion is going to prevent them from being present, I do not believe that we should ever have a meeting.  And I’m saying that as somebody who doesn’t even worship.”

“Are we setting precedent here” asked councilman Michael Ballard.

Mayor Pat Menna polled the members and the council voted 3 -2 to hold the next council meeting on Yom Kippur.  Council President Erik Yngstrom and Triggiano voted against meeting on October 9th.

To watch the video of at the start of this discussion, click HERE.

The Workshop discussed a draft ordinance for murals that was brought forefront from an application made to the borough.  “Some towns consider them a sign, and they almost never conform to your sign ordinance, so they’re forced to go to the Board of Adjustment,” said Glenn Carter, Director of Planning and Zoning

To watch the video of at the start of this discussion, click HERE.

In other business, several Resolutions were on the agenda: a formal agreement with NJDEP to accept a $6,000 grant for the borough’s electric vehicle charging stations, a tax deduction for veterans living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and the resignation of the boroughs Director of Information Technology (IT) who will be leaving in a weeks’ time.

Ziad “Z” Shehady, Business Administer said on his IT report that they are exploring several options including.  “One of the options is looking at shared services with the county, a fulltime employee, privatization which the borough did have and look to outsource to a private company and another option is to hire in-house, either a hybrid of a part-timer and a backup consultant.”

To watch the video of at the start of Z’s IT discussion and his preference, click HERE.

The Engineering Department reported that they rejected the bids for fire suppression system to be installed at the Senior Center they were not in line with the borough’s cost estimates.  New bids are expected to be received by October 16th

The Finance Department reported on two Resolution topics; the authorization of the Length of Service Award Program, known as LOSAP.  The Length of Service Award Program are payments made to members of the town’s volunteer fire departments and First Aid Squad that are eligible.  

To read the code on the LOSAP program, click HERE.

Other business included the hiring of a new police officer, a curfew for the nights of October 30th and October 31st, authorization and the acceptance of a $1,000 grant from the Monmouth Arts, and ordinance on the painting of murals.

For the public comment portion of the meeting, Mike Vintzilos of South Amboy, NJ and Lefty Grimes of Bayonne thanked the council for voting to approve medical cannabis stores in the borough.

Vintzilos spoke about his addiction to opiates and heroin and how medical marijuana helped him to kick the habit, which earned him a round of applause. 

To watch this heartfelt video of both men, click HERE

To watch the entire video of the Workshop Meeting, courtesy of Sue Viscomi, click HERE.

To read the draft agenda of the Workshop Meeting, click HERE

The next Workshop Meeting will take place on November 6th, at 6:30pm, council chambers, 90 Monmouth Street.

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