By Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
I hope everyone is staying warm, happy and healthy this winter season. It sure has been a cold one the last few days but there is only a little more than 100 days until the unofficial start to the summer season!
In the meantime, I would like to provide an update of different projects and initiatives taking place throughout Monmouth County.
As of yesterday, Monday January 20th, the Ocean Avenue Shark River Bridge (W-43) has been closed for emergency repairs. During a routine inspection of the Bridge, deterioration of the steel pinions, which support the bridge when it opens and closes, was found. The contract for the project was awarded to Cornell & Company, Inc. of Woodbury, NJ in the amount of $494,000.
I understand the inconvenience a closure of this duration represents to those who travel in and around the impacted communities, but the safety of our residents and visitors remains my top priority. I appreciate the patience of those who travel on the Bridge, as this reconstruction is completed, and we will work to get it done as quickly as possible to ensure that the Bridge is fully operational in advance of the summer season.
Additionally, I am happy to announce that Monmouth County recently received a $523,118 grant through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Recycling Enhancement Act (REA). The REA permits a $3 per-ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities to fund recycling efforts throughout the State. NJDEP assigns the money collected from the additional payment back to the 21 counties and their municipalities in the form of grant dollars.
I am pleased that the State is recognizing our excellent recycling performance and awarding this grant to further advance our recycling efforts here in Monmouth County. As liaison to the County’s Recycling Division, I would like to thank our dedicated staff of the Recycling Division for their hard work and dedication to ensure that Monmouth County and its municipalities are receiving adequate grant funding for our recycling initiatives. I would also like to acknowledge the municipal leaders who have embraced recycling in their respective communities.
On a separate note, I will once again be traveling to different municipalities throughout Monmouth County on a Shared Services Tour starting in the coming weeks. My goal is to update and inform these towns on the shared services programs that the County provides. As liaison to the County’s Shared Services Department, I want to ensure that Monmouth County is and will remain the leading Shared Services County in the State. I look forward to continuing to work together with our partners.
In addition, Freeholder Sue Kiley will be joining me at some of these meetings to talk about the Monmouth ACTS initiative, which brings together the County’s Department of Human Services and community nonprofit leaders to better life in Monmouth County by improving access to services in mental health, addiction, aging, housing and much more.
Lastly, I have continued to visit school districts throughout the county – something I enjoy doing each school year. It’s always nice to meet with students and explain the importance of government and civics. It is my hope that these students become involved in their own communities.
So far this school year, I have visited with students at Matawan Regional High School and Spring Lake Heights Elementary School. I have many more visits scheduled in the coming weeks and months that I am looking forward to!
As always, it’s a pleasure to serve as your Freeholder Director.