By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
I hope everyone had a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. Let us not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day – remembering those who have served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice. It is because of our servicemen and women that we can continue to live in a safe nation where we can enjoy our freedoms.
Prior to the holiday weekend, my fellow Freeholders and I held our annual summer season kick-off press conference in Manasquan. We host this event each year in a different town and I would like to thank Mayor Ed Donovan for hosting our County event this year. It was truly a great morning spent with members of the public, as well as members of the business and tourism communities. As liaison to the department of tourism, I know just how important a role the tourism industry has on our local economy. Last year alone, tourists spent $2.5 billion in the County.
I would also like to thank Manasquan Elementary School for participating in our annual poster contest open to students in the town where the kickoff is being held. This year, third-grade students were able to enter into the contest by drawing a picture that represented their favorite activity at Manasquan Beach. All of entries were great and it was very difficult to pick just three winners. Congratulations again to all who participated!
I would also like to congratulate the Wall Business and Finance Academy graduates at Wall Township High School. I recently had the honor to serve as the keynote speaker at their graduation ceremony and it was truly a pleasure to learn about what these students have already achieved before their high school graduation. I wish them and all of our high school graduates the best in their future endeavors!
Congratulations also to the recent police graduates from the Monmouth County Police Academy. It is always an honor to speak with the recruits and attend their graduation ceremony. I’d like to thank them for their service and wish them the best.
On a separate note, I am proud to announce a few exciting events I have attended over the last couple of weeks, including two bridge re-opening ceremonies and a unique intergovernmental support agreement signing.
The East End Avenue Bridge, between Neptune and Neptune City, recently re-opened ahead of schedule earlier this month after several repairs and upgrades were made to the structure. I would like to thank our professionals, county staff and all parties involved in making this bridge beautiful. My fellow Freeholders and I selected this Monmouth County project to be one of the many bridge projects financed with funding the County lobbied to obtain from the State’s Transportation Trust Fund.
We also recently celebrated the re-opening of MA-14 on County Route 6 over the Matawan Creek between Aberdeen and Keyport. This project included roadway improvements, widening of the existing bridge deck and new retaining walls, among other items. Again, I would like to thank all parties involved in the repair and upgrade of this bridge.
I am also very proud to announce that Monmouth County has entered into a new shared services partnership with Naval Weapons Station Earle. This unique intergovernmental support agreement is one of the first shared services agreements in the state between a county government and a military installation and the first of its kind between the United States Navy and a county government. Through the agreement, the County will be able to provide services including traffic signal maintenance, unimproved road maintenance, snow and ice control, and storm drainage repairs, among other services.
I am proud to serve as liaison to one of the most successful shared services programs in the state and honored to partner with such a vital institution charged with protecting the safety of our nation. To commemorate this agreement, I was joined by Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry, Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger and Captain Pierre A. Fuller, Commanding Officer, NWS Earle, last week at Naval Weapons Station Earle.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce for selecting me to receive the Asbury Park Public Official Award during their recent Carousel Awards ceremony. It’s a privilege to serve as a Freeholder in Monmouth County and I commend each of our municipalities and their leaders for all of the work they do. Congratulations again to all of the other honorees who were also recognized by the Chamber.