Monmouth County Freeholders Gary Rich, Lillian Burry, Director Tom Arnone, Deputy Director Serena DiMaso and John Curley
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced a budget on Thursday that reduces County spending by $18.2 million and reduces the property tax levy on County residents and businesses by $4.5 million. The tax decrease is the first in 21 years and maybe ever, according to County Finance Director Craig Marshall.
The budget for the next fiscal year rolls County taxes back to 2008 levels and reduces spending to less than the 2007 budget. The tax cut reverses an increase, the only one since 2007, that the County imposed in the current year.
“This is a real cut,” said Freeholder Director Tom Arnone. “There is no fiscal gimmickry or raiding of trust funds or utility balances in this budget.”
I think Mother Nature is surely playing tricks on us. Last week at this time we were still digging out from one of the biggest blizzards in years. Some of our towns reported nearly two feet accumulation and more in certain areas with snowdrifts piling on several additional inches. Fast forward to this week, and we are enjoying spring like temperatures. Whatever weather Mother Nature brings us, Monmouth County is always prepared to handle it. Our crews were out round the clock, preparing ahead of Jonas by pretreating and brining all of the county roads, and of course keeping up throughout the storm with plowing and snow removal. We even assisted several municipalities in keeping up with the accumulations as we are always partners in providing services when requested.
Happy New Year Everyone. I am extremely pleased to have been selected as Freeholder Director for 2016. It is an honor once again to represent the board in this capacity. Last week at our annual county re-organization meeting I had an opportunity to briefly review my department’s accomplishments; ones that I believe have provided significant income to our county as well as savings to the taxpayers.
First I would like to thank my family for their support along the way as well as my, fellow Freeholders for their continued dedication to our county. In addition, I would like to wish all our Mayors best of luck as we begin the New Year.
Freehold– Freehold Director Thomas A. Arnone called on his colleagues to reverse $4.9 million County property tax increase, 1.5%, imposed last year, now that Monmouth County is no longer subsidizing the nursing homes that had cost Monmouth taxpayers almost $50 million over the last ten years.
Speaking at the annual reorganization of the County government on Wednesday afternoon, Arnone, who was elected as Director for 2016 by his fellow freeholders, announced that the auction of the nursing homes was completed this week and generated $32.4 million, $12.4 million more than expected. Arnone said that as a result of no longer having to carry the nursing homes, that taxes should be reduced back to the level that the board had held steady from 2008 through 2014. The Director told MoreMonmouthMusings that he would urge the Board to use the $32.4 million proceeds of the sale to reduce the County’s AAA rated debt.
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: