Monmouth County Freeholders Adopt Budget With Zero Tax Increase

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry

For the fourth straight year, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a county budget with no tax increase.

At their meeting April 10 meeting the Freeholder Board, comprised of 5 Republicans, adopted $480.9 million budget, a $100,000 spending reduction from last year’s budget.  The amount raised through property taxes is $302,475,000, the same amount raised every year since 2010.

“It is a challenge every year to try to cut spending without impacting the level of services our taxpayers have come to expect,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “This process is not something that is done in haste. This budget reflects the months of work that has gotten us to a flat tax rate for the fourth year in a row.”

“This year, an internal budget subcommittee met with each department to look for duplicative services and identify areas for consolidation and savings,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the Finance Department. “This process has yielded savings in the areas of information technology, finance, human resources, building maintenance and legal services.”

Monmouth County relies less on taxes than most other New Jersey counties. As a percentage of the overall budget, Monmouth County’s taxes comprise 62 percent of the total budget, historically behind Union, Hudson and Essex counties.

“The department heads deserve a lot of credit for their hard work in paring down the budget,” said Rich. “This is the fifth year in which we asked for concessions from the departments and, as a result, this is the fourth year in which the tax levy has remained the same.”

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Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Flo’s Happy Clipper joins Facade Improvement Program

Groomer receives $1,727 check

EATONTOWN, NJ – The Grow Monmouth Facade Improvement Program recognized Flo’s Happy Clipper for recent upgrades today.

FlosHappy_Clipper_4-8-14“Flo’s is receiving a check for $1,727 for a new awning,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “Every Facade Improvement Program check helps make a needed improvement to a local business. This is the seventh check presented so far.”

Flo’s Happy Clipper is located at 20 Main Street in Eatontown. Owner Robert Ferrara accepted the reimbursement check from Arnone.

The program is part of the successful Grow Monmouth initiative that is utilizing HUD Community Development Block Grant funds to help improve the look of privately held commercial buildings located in HUD eligible areas of Monmouth County. No County funds are being used for the program.

HUD eligible areas include all or part of 26 of the County’s municipalities. Eligible municipalities are: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck (Naval station only), Deal, Eatontown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Highlands, Howell, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune City, Neptune Twp., Ocean Twp., Red Bank, Shrewsbury Twp., Tinton Falls (naval station only), Union Beach and West Long Branch.

Asbury Park, Long Branch and Middletown businesses are not eligible for this program because those municipalities receive designated HUD Community Development Block Grants directly.

“No matching funds are required from the business,” Arnone said. “To date, $12,178 has been dispersed out of a total of $85,000 that has been set aside for this program, so businesses should apply now.”

For more information about the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program please contact the Division of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Press Release, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Monmouth County retains rare AAA credit rating, saves taxpayers millions

Monmouth County retains rare AAA credit rating, saves taxpayers millions (via NJ.com)

FREEHOLD BOROUGH – Monmouth County’s fiscal strength means more than flat tax levies and trim budgets – it also directly translates into big savings for taxpayers and municipalities. The county received the highest possible credit rating for 2014…

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Posted: March 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

The Arnone Report

By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

We continue to promote small businesses within Monmouth County. The Façade Improvement Program initiative not only took off but was a huge success for many local businesses. As liaison to the department of Economic Development, and on behalf of the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders, I had the pleasure of presenting another façade improvement grant to the owners of the Freehold Borough Subway this week. They used the funds to put gooseneck lighting over their sign on Main Street in Freehold.  As of this writing, all funds in the Façade Improvement program have been awarded. We are encouraging businesses to submit applications for our waiting list. If the businesses that have been approved decide not to move forward with the grant, we will take the next business off the waiting list.

The second Grow Monmouth Roundtable took place this past week in Hazlet. We had a large number of businesses attend and the discussion was helpful to the municipality, county and the businesses. I want to thank the governing body of Hazlet for partnering with us on this meeting. Our next roundtable is scheduled to be held in Manalapan on March 19th.

 

Additionally, on March 31st, as liaison to the Department of Tourism, I will be meeting with the mayors and tourism leaders of our coastal communities who are members of the Monmouth County Tourism Advisory Group. The group will discuss tourism promotion and plans for the upcoming season. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the County Connection in Neptune.

Lastly, after further study and investigation it has recently been determined that Shark River Park is no longer an economically viable option to be a temporary Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) for drying the Shark River’s dredge materials. The New Jersey Department of Transportation conducted a preliminary internal engineering and fiscal opinion of probable costs (OPC) of the potential project. The results of the OPC demonstrate the construction of the CDF at Shark River Park and the dredging and placement of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material from Shark River far exceeds the State’s monetary allotment for the project. Consequently, the use of Shark River Park as a temporary CDF is not economically feasible. Although this new development is unfortunate, we will continue to work with all interested parties to dredge the Shark River and ensure its survival as a regional source for recreational activity, economic growth and ecological attraction.

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Freeholders Introduce Budget With No Tax Increase For 4th Consecutive Year

Spending is reduced to 2008 Level

Freeholder Gary Rich, Liaison to the County Finance Department

Freeholder Gary Rich, Liaison to the County Finance Department

The all Republican Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced their budget for the coming year on Thursday evening at the Eastern Branch of the County Library system in Shrewsbury.  The $480.9 million budget is $100,000 lower than the current year’s spending and, for the fourth consecutive year includes no tax increase on Monmouth County property owners.

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal did not issue a statement congratulating the freeholders. When last we heard from Gopal, he was threatening legal action against the owner and publisher of this site for ridiculing his false statements about Republicans.

The budget plan reflects a continuing effort by the freeholder board to reduce County spending while dealing with increased costs and reduced revenue.

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Posted: March 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Budget | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Burry and Curley tangle at Freeholders’ meeting

curlyandburry

Freeholders John Curley and Lillian Burry

The ongoing feud between Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Freeholder John Curley , both Republicans, became public again Thursday afternoon at the beginning of the board’s work session meeting at the Hall of Records in Freeholder.

Click here to listen to Curley’s remarks and the ensuing exchange between him and Burry.  Curley’s remarks start at the 1:27 mark of the audio.  The exchange concludes at the 5:24 mark.

Curley announced that he had proposed a resolution that would have called on the State Legislature to prohibit elected or appointed officials, on any level, from participating  in New Jersey’s Farm Land Preservation Program.   He likened such participation to Wall Street insider trading.  Curley said that Freeholder Tom Arnone, a Republican,  was his second for the resolution and that Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a Republican, was going to sponsor such legislation.  Curley said he was disappointed that “the freeholders” pulled his resolution from the work session agenda.

Burry said that Curley’s remarks were inappropriate in that that he did not go through “the chair” or follow proper procedures.  She said the resolution was going to be discussed in Executive Session and had been put off because it needed to be tweaked and properly vetted.

Listen to the exchange.    It’s much more colorful than summarized above.

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Posted: March 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: John Curley, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments »

The Arnone Report

By Freeholder Tom Arnone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

As reported last week, The Board of Chosen Freeholders have begun pairing up with the local municipalities and conducting Business Roundtables as a means of helping small businesses promote themselves within Monmouth County. As liaison to the Department of Economic Development, I attended the first of these roundtables which took place in the Borough of Matawan. I partnered with Matawan Mayor Paul Buccellato to host the first Grow Monmouth Business Roundtable event. The department of economic development identified and invited businesses from Matawan to join us to discuss what makes doing business in Matawan great and what can be improved. The mayor and I were joined by Assemblyman Rob Clifton and Senator Sam Thompson. I am very pleased to report that 35 people were in attendance representing some 27 businesses. In the next couple of weeks we will be hosting roundtables in the Township of Hazlet and also in the Borough of Manalapan.

In keeping with promoting small businesses within MonmouthCounty, our third annual Made in Monmouth event has been scheduled for Saturday, April 12th. We are again partnering with MonmouthUniversity for the event. We encourage all businesses that make a consumer product in the county to show and sell their products, free of charge, at the event. Made in Monmouth is open to the public free of charge. We invite everyone to attend and to take advantage of the opportunity to buy the multitude of great products that will be available.

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Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bob Walsh: “The Monmouth GOP’s Brand Is Tarnished”

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination.  Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination. Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, a candidate for one of two available nominations for freeholder at the Monmouth Republican Convention on March 22, said that the Monmouth Republican Party’s brand has been tarnished by the Burke Farm deal with Andrew Lucas and by the Brookdale Community College scandal that resulted in former Brookdale President’s Peter Burnham’s conviction for official misconduct and theft.

Incumbent freeholders, Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich are seeking to be nominated for reelection at the convention.

Speaking on the record, Walsh said that many “neutral people, people who know nothing” that he encounters think that the Lucas farm deal and the Brookdale scandal are examples of Republican corruption.  Walsh said that he talks to these people and tries to correct their perception, “but it is out there and a lot of people think that way, it’s a common thread.”

Walsh was very careful not to speak negatively about Burry and Rich specifically while discussing his own candidacy.  ”I don’t consider that I am challenging them,” he said, “I am seeking an office according to the rules.  No one is elected forever.  People complain and complain about government, yet keep electing the same people.  That’s what’s wrong with this country.”

“People say that government should be run as a business.  I have a very good record in business, as a licensed banker,  and a very good record as mayor of Howell that I am proud of.  I think I am an asset and will be an asset to the freeholder board. I have energy, passion and the flexibility to do the job.”

While not specifically accusing anyone of complacency, Walsh said that his candidacy and his service, if elected, would be a battle against complacency in county government.

“Complacency has no place if public service,” he said, “I am very pleased with some of the things I see happening since I started running.” He declined to elaborate.

Walsh said he expected that this November’s election will be more contentious that usual.

Posted: February 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments »

The Arnone Report

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Tom Arone

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.

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Posted: February 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A Teachable Moment

By Lillian G. Burry, Monmouth County Freeholder Director

Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

When Vin Gopal launched his latest attack, I heard from friends with two different types of advice.  Some said I should fight back immediately because silence would suggest I had no defense.  Others said I should do nothing because to respond to bullying would make me just look defensive.  I thanked them all for their kind thoughts but told them all the same thing.  I see this as a teachable moment to be shared with everyone who may be thinking of someday entering public life.

You may see public office as I do – a way of giving back to society and being thankful for the success you’ve had in your professional life.  In an ideal democracy opponents would challenge you by putting forth a competing vision of the future they would work for and offer up their record of accomplishments so people could judge whether or not they had as good a record as yours when it comes to getting things done.  Unfortunately, that’s not how our democracy has evolved.

Instead of thoughtful, accomplished candidates we are too often faced with political attack dogs whose sole purpose is to try to destroy the reputation of people in the opposing party.  Lies, distortions and bullying are their stock in trade.  If anyone you have ever dealt with in your public life is ever accused of wrong doing in their private affairs, rest assured that the partisan hounds will come barking after you even though you are in no way involved.  That’s just the way it’s done on every level be it federal, state, county or local.  So what are you to do?  The answer is simple.  Whether you are a little league coach or a first responder, whether you feed the hungry, lead a troop of girl scouts or serve on a school board you have a record on which you can stand.  Every person you have helped, every dollar you have saved or raised, every public asset you have fought to preserve, everything you have done in your public life speaks for you.  We are all entitled to be judged by our true record.  All the barking of all the hounds cannot drown out the truth.  At the end of the day the weight of solid accomplishments will balance well against empty accusations from a poisoned pen.

Stand strong with high standards.  Keep firm in your commitments.  Speak dearly of the brighter future you are working to create.  Do this all resolutely and leave those attack dogs to do their howling at the moon.

Posted: February 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments »