By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders continues to support and promote the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program. The program makes grant funds available to help improve the look of privately held commercial buildings throughout Monmouth County. The façade improvement program which is the newest initiative under our Grow Monmouth program uses HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Community Development Block Grant funds that were de-obligated by grantees to help privately held commercial buildings, located in HUD eligible areas, improve their business façades. Representatives from the county’s department of economic/development recently assisted me during a presentation for the façade improvement program that was given to the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce. In the next few days there will be a check presentation to Jim Smith, owner of Smittex Sportswear in Keansburg who will be utilizing the funds towards the purchase of a new awning. Mr. Smith will be receiving $1,845.00 for the purchase of the awning. For more information about the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program please contact the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com.
In keeping with the momentum of reaching as many small businesses within Monmouth County as possible The Board of Chosen Freeholders has initiated and begun putting into action the pairing up with our local municipalities for the purpose of conducting Business Roundtables. These roundtables will give Monmouth County small business owners the opportunity to sit, discuss and voice their concerns with their local legislators. In turn we are given an opportunity to bring back whatever feedback is received and utilize that valuable information to help us continue to seek new ways to allow our local businesses to not only maintain their businesses in Monmouth County but to continue to succeed, grow and thrive in the county. Additionally, the feedback received will further aid The Board as we continue to demonstrate alternate ways to attract new small businesses to Monmouth County. As of this writing there are business roundtables scheduled to take place in the municipalities of Matawan, Hazlet, Manalapan, Colts Neck, Wall Township, Atlantic Highlands, Howell and Aberdeen. Each municipal mayor will have the responsibility of reaching out to the business owners within their town and providing them with the details of the roundtable. As liaison to the department of Economic Development, I will personally be attending each of these round tables. Moreover, I intend to reach out to the legislators representing each prospective district and offering them an opportunity to participate. Several representatives from the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development will also be participating.
Additionally, Asbury Park has requested to have our original Grow Monmouth presentation given for the Mayor and Council, and that is slotted to take place sometime in April.
Lastly, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders continues to work diligently on the 2014 budget, keeping in mind at all times the best interest of the tax payers. It is my belief the collaborative efforts set forth by The Board with regard to this year’s budget will result in a positive response from our county taxpayers.