Red Bank council to issue bonds for $3 million in capital improvements

RED BANK – A bond ordinance appropriating $3 million for capital improvements in Red Bank has been introduced by members of the Borough Council.

On May 8, council members introduced an ordinance that would, if adopted, appropriate funds to finance property improvements, street projects and redevelopment.

Bonds or notes totaling $2.68 million would be issued and the borough would use a $290,000 Department of Transportation grant as the down payment, according to the ordinance.

The capital improvements noted in the ordinance are as follows:

  • Preliminary expenses and costs in connection with the evaluation of buildings and properties available for redevelopment, $300,000;
  • Improvements to various roads, which are file in the Borough Engineer’s office, $2.5 million;
  • Improvements and upgrades to various municipal buildings, including, the Department of Public Works Facility, the Municipal Building and the Senior Center, $200,000.

Prior to voting, councilman Michael Ballard asked the council to table the ordinance for further clarification. Ballard explained that he was “uncomfortable” introducing appropriations for some of the capital improvements.

“As everyone knows, I have never been supportive of the redevelopment agency,” Ballard said. ”It appears that this money for (redevelopment) flows right to the redevelopment agency … The road improvement program states there is a list available in the engineer’s office. There’s no list available because we have not decided on the roads we want to use this $2.5 million on.”

Councilman Edward Zipprich, who is the liaison to the Red Bank Department of Public Works, said roads have been identified for the 2019-20 road program.

Councilman Hazim Yassin then asked Business Administrator Ziad Shehady if the council could vote separately on the capital improvement items. Shehady said it would cost money to prepare the bond package again.

“What I advise and what is traditionally done is that municipalities appropriate the money and work within the budget,” Shehady said. “You define for yourself parameters … So yes, we do have an idea of the roads.

“The engineer at the next workshop meeting will provide a memo after consulting with (the Department of Public Works) a recommendation of the roads that will fit in the budget. Then, we can go from there,” he said.

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon sought to clarify the nature of $2.5 million appropriation for members of the governing body. He said, “We are not spending $2.5 million on the roads. This is a credit authorization the town could issue up to $2.5 million in bonds.”

“We have a giant Excel spreadsheet with all the roads,” Shehady said.

On a roll call, Councilwoman Kathleen Horgan, Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, Councilman Erik Yngstrom, Zipprich and Yassin voted “yes” to introduce the spending plan.

Ballard abstained from the vote, citing his discomfort with the $300,000 redevelopment appropriation.

The public hearing on that ordinance is scheduled for May 22. Residents may ask questions and make comments on the ordinance at that time.