Red Bank Commissioner Rick Causer, though he has two years left on his District 2 term, said he has decided to challenge Mayor John Roberts in the at-large race in November.
Commissioner Causer said, "I don't like his leadership. It seems to me he is too compulsive and doesn't think things through. He makes poor choices."
He said steps the mayor has taken on animal control, codes enforcement and zoning "are going to hurt a lot of citizens."
Commissioner Causer said, "My idea on economic development is bringing in companies from outside. His is more environmental. That's good to a point, but you can go too far. When you create green space the land goes off the tax rolls. You have to hire people to maintain it, and all that can lead to a tax increase."
He said he has checked with election officials and been told that the unusual move "is perfectly legal." He said he consulted with City Attorney Arnie Stulce as well as forwarding a letter to state election officials via Rep. Richard Floyd.
Commissioner Causer said his wife is interested in moving to a house in another part of Red Bank, and winning the at-large seat would allow the move.
Commissioner Causer said if he loses to Mayor Roberts he still gets to finish out the two years of his District 2 term.
Mayor Roberts, calling the surprise move "unfortunate," said, "I guess he wants to make this personal against me. We'll see in November."
He denied that actions he has taken are hurting citizens, saying, "I am trying to protect the homeowners."
Mayor Roberts said, "The sales tax in Red Bank has gone up for two years in a row off the small businesses that are coming in."
He said the city's codes and zoning "needed to be completely updated. We brought in people like Barry Bennett, the former Planning Agency director, to update it."
Mayor Roberts added, "There is nothing in them that hurts anyone."