Happy summer! I hope everyone has been enjoying the warmer weather and all the county has to offer! There are so many events and activities throughout the county that there is sure to be something for everyone.
With that being said, I am happy to announce the launch of our new and improved tourism website, which can be viewed by visiting www.tourism.visitmonmouth.com. As the liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Public Information and Tourism, I am truly pleased with this new website and how much information is available. From indoor attractions to outdoor activities, this new website should keep everyone busy all summer long. Please check it out!
In keeping with the topic of making summer plans, don’t forget to check out our Grown in Monmouth website, which can be viewed by visiting www.growninmonmouth.com. Not only can visitors search for restaurants that use products grown in Monmouth County, they can also find pick-your-own destinations and farmers markets, among other events.
Should one’s summer plans bring them to Monmouth Park, they will now be able to participate in sports betting. I was pleased to see sports betting become legal in New Jersey just a few short weeks ago. Allowing sports betting at venues such as Monmouth Park will help generate much-needed revenue for these businesses. I know legalizing sports betting will certainly help Monmouth Park and create more jobs.
While the State did the right thing in legalizing sports betting, I joined Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry, Freeholders Gerry Scharfenberger and Patrick Impreveduto, as well as many municipal leaders last week to call on the State to do the right when it comes to properly allocating funds from the 9-1-1 System and Emergency Response Trust Fund.
Monmouth County residents having been paying into the trust fund since its inception in 2005 through a 90 cent 9-1-1 system and emergency response fee imposed on monthly landline and cell phone bills. The fees, which are estimated to generate $134 million statewide in 2018, are allocated to a trust fund to upgrade state, county and local 9-1-1 systems. However, Monmouth County has not received any funding back from the State since 2010 and has only received $1.14 million for 9-1-1 services since the trust fund was established.
Receiving these fees would allow public safety telecommunicators to receive digital information in the form of emergency text messages, photos and videos. These funds are vital, as the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center answer 9-1-1 calls for 50 agencies. It is my hope State officials will appropriately allocate the funding this year.
On a separate note, I would like to congratulate all the law enforcement officers who were recognized for their efforts during the recent 200 Club luncheon. For those who do not know about the 200 Club, it is an organization that provides financial assistance to the families of public safety and rescue personnel who have been killed in the line of duty. Additionally, the 200 Club also presents scholarships annually to graduating high school students. I am proud to be a trustee of this organization.
I would also like to congratulate all of our high school graduates. I had the honor of attending several graduation ceremonies, including MAST, Communications High School and Biotechnology High School. It’s always nice to hear about their achievements before they even graduate. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
I would also like to congratulate the graduates from Firefighter I classes 119 and 120 from the Monmouth County Fire Academy. I had the opportunity to attend one of the graduation ceremonies earlier this month and it is always a nice time. I’d like to thank them for their service and commitment to keeping their communities safe.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as Freeholder Director for Monmouth County.