What an incredible fall season we have experienced thus far. The weather has been extremely kind, allowing us to enjoy the amazing landscapes Monmouth County has to offer. I hope that you attended some of the fall events and festivals held in our beautiful county parks and at our beaches, and also those coordinated in your hometowns. The leaves have changed and that means after leaf collection is completed, the county will begin to prep for the upcoming winter season. We are already collecting salt and materials to safeguard our over 1000 miles of roadways when the inclement weather presents itself. The county will be ready as always.
In the meantime, you may have noticed our red trucks mobilized throughout the county as the Public Works and Engineering staff have been busy the past few months, working hard to enhance the infrastructure and efficiency of our roadways, bridge and culvert structures, traffic signals and natural resources.
Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik and Councilwoman Randi Marder at a campaign event last month. photo via facebook
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik called for the immediate suspension of the controversial tax assessment program, Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program(ADP), in a press release issued Tuesday evening.
Responding to an “investigate report” in the Asbury Park Pressthat alleges cronyism, nepotism and ethics violations on the part of Monmouth County Tax Administrator Matt Clark, former Tax Commissioner Daniel Kelly and the companies that won the contracts to provide the inspections and appraisals of all Monmouth County properties that are assessed through ADP, Hornik said, “I am heartened by the recent call by the Asbury Park Press for an investigation of the Monmouth County Tax Assessment Demonstration Pilot Program,” said Mayor Hornik. “I have been a vocal critic of this program since its inception, and I expressed, in no uncertain terms, that the program did not fairly and accurately reflect market value, that it inappropriately interfered with local tax assessors and that it had a disproportionate adverse effect on residential and senior citizen property taxpayers.”
Hornik joins Freeholder John Curley in calling for ADP to be suspended and investigated.
Prosecutor Mum On Whether He Will Investigate Anonymous Allegations
Freeholder John P. Curley
The Monmouth County Board of Taxation voted unanimously on Friday to reject Freeholder John Curley’s call that they suspend their new method of assessing values on properties in the county for property tax purposes.
Curley’s call to suspend the program came last week after he said received an anonymous letter from a group of realtors, appraisers, tax assessors and former tax assessors alleging that the program, “Tax Assessment Demonstration Program,” is not being implemented in accordance with the law that created it and implying that Matthew Clark, the Tax Board Administrator, has inappropriate dealings with the program vendors.
Curley referred the anonymous letter to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, declaring in his own letter to the prosecutor that it is “omnipotent (sic) that all government business be conducted with full transparency, ethical and legal standards.” Curley also wrote Tax Board President James Stuart to request the tax assessment program be suspended while Gramiccioni investigates. He then released the anonymous letter and his letters to Gramiccioni and Stuart to the Asbury Park Press.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but summer has slipped away before our eyes. While the calendar does not officially declare autumn until September 23, the unofficial end of the season is Labor Day, when our beaches officially close, lifeguard towers are put away and the school doors open. As most of us locals know, some of the best beach and park days are still ahead of us, as September and October provide us with the perfect weather to continue to enjoy these gems we are lucky enough to call home.
The 2015 summer tourism season went extremely well, as we were blessed with great weather – modest temperatures and very little rain; in addition both the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays provided us with an extra two weeks of the season.
I am extremely happy to hear that most beach towns are providing initial reports that badge sales were up over last year, with some reporting the 2015 season as a record year. Asbury Park has already reported that beach badge sales were up 21% over last year and Belmar has already exceeded their final total number from 2014. Spring Lake officials have reported that beaches have been crowded all season and the shops on 3rd Avenue are doing record business. Long Branch not only reported record crowds at Ocean Fest, but has continued to experience a packed beach and boardwalk all summer, with all Pier Village shops and restaurants doing very well.
As we approach the next phase in the process of privatizing of the long embattled Monmouth County Care Centers, the following items were submitted to the Freeholders, on behalf of the residents and family members of John L. Montgomery, to be included in the Request for Proposal and the Conditions of the Sale of their home:
NHL Star Trevor VanRiemsdyk, a CBA graduate, brought the Stanley Club to Middletown on July 30th
What an exciting few weeks for Monmouth County! We are making history and people around the region are taking notice. The weather has been incredible – which means our beaches, restaurants and attractions are packed and in turn, economic rewards for the community.
We even got a visit from the Stanley Cup. Trevor VanRiemsdyk, a defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks and Middletown native, attended a ceremony in his honor at Middletown Arts Center on July 30. Hundreds of fans from the area turned out for this exciting event, where Mayor Stephanie Murray awarded Trevor a key to the city, and myself, along with my fellow Freeholders, dedicated the day in his honor, marking Thursday, July 30, 2015, as Trevor VanRiemsdyk Day.
And let’s not forget history making at the William Haskell Invitational. With a record setting crowd at Monmouth Racetrack, nearly 61,000 people came out to see triple crown winner, American Pharaoh. Officials said that is was the largest crowd in the 145-year-old racetrack’s history, with the previous single day attendance record, 53,638, set at the Haskell in 2013. We can now say that Monmouth Park, rich in its own traditions, is part of national horse racing history as well.
The newly constructed West Front Street Bridge, also known as the Hubbard Bridge, will be closed to motor vehicle traffic from 6 a.m. on Wednesday August 12 through Wednesday August 26, according to a statement by Freeholder Tom Arnone.
The bridge connects Middletown and Red Bank over the Swimming River. It will be open to pedestrian traffic during the two week period.
The purpose of the closure is to allow utility workers to move overhead power lines off of the old bridge to newly constructed underground facilities, and to the contractor to reconstruct intersections on both the Red Bank and Middletown sides of the span.
Arnone said the other option was to have the contractors work in stages, over a twelve week period, which would have kept the bridge open but slowed traffic considerably for three months. The chosen schedule, made in consultation with elected and administrative officials in both Red Bank and Middletown, will allow the bridge to reopen prior to the Labor Day Weekend and before the start of school.
“This schedule allows motorists to make adjustments to their travel plans for two weeks,” Arnone said.
Summer is in full swing and I hope everyone is out there enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having. An annual tradition here in Monmouth County is the County Fair. The 41st Monmouth County Fair was a huge success with thousands of residents attending over the five days it was held at the East Freehold Fairgrounds on Kozloski Road.
Monmouth County is the gateway to the Jersey Shore, and you will find more than 50 miles of beaches, revolutionary history sites, nationally recognized parks and golf courses, outdoor dining experiences for all tastes and plenty of places to spend the night. The Monmouth Park System offers over 30 park areas to explore, please go out and enjoy all our beautiful county has to offer.
While we are on the topic of outdoor activities you can enjoy throughout our County, I would like to take a moment to address several concerns within different regions, including the Shark River dredging and the two-river area bike path.
Freeholder Lillian G. Burry photo by Art Gallagher
Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry is resting comfortably at home after being released from Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank where she spent most of last week after sustaining injuries resulting from a fall outside of her Colts Neck Realty office.
During a phone interview this morning, Burry told MMM that she sustained a mild concussion, injured her left knee and crushed her right elbow. Her elbow joint was replaced.
“There’s still a lot of life in this old broad,” Burry said, “that’s it. When I do something, I really do it.”
Burry’s knee is being treated with an ice pack. Her right arm is in a cast that feels like it weighs 50 lbs., she said.