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.
I know there is much speculation recently on the integrity of the Assessment Demonstration Project and I want everyone to know that we hear you and we will support your inquiries. Earlier this year, I along with my fellow members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders asked Matt Clark, Monmouth County’s Tax Administrator, to hold a meeting for all the municipalities to explain the details of the Assessment Demonstration Project. It was our understanding that attendees left feeling more comfortable with what they heard and understood the benefits of the program. As a result of the close working relationships we have throughout the County, numerous Mayors have contacted the Freeholders with concerns over the uncertainty of this program and the recent negative media coverage surrounding it. While we all did our best to alleviate those concerns, we also understand the difficult position it puts most of them in. After the events the past few weeks, without making judgements on the program, its administrator or county tax board members, we believe it may be best to put this program on hold until all questions are answered and the Mayors can explain the long term tax benefit to the residents of Monmouth County . It is our hope that the timeline of January 1 will remain intact while these issues are vetted, as it gives the municipalities the ability to budget for the following year’s tax appeals. It is our hope that you continue to stay informed and aware of the tax assessment program through your municipality or at the County level.
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.
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.
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.
Setting the record straight on proposed Two Rivers bike lanes
By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder
Freeholder Tom Arone
Now that summer is here, the kids are out of school and the beaches are open. We know a few things are certain while living in our beautiful Monmouth County – sand will find its way into the house, barbeques will be plentiful and many of us will give in to ice cream cravings on the boardwalk. As residents we will also witness a significant increase to our population as our tourism season gets into full swing. With this population surge, we will also see an increase in cyclists and pedestrians sharing the roads with motorists throughout the county.
I urge you to be aware of the statewide “rules of the road” and other specific rules in your municipality for whatever mode of transportation you choose. This is especially important when traveling on primary and secondary roads that are highly used, like those without designated bike lanes or sidewalks. It is extremely important for all of us to be diligent when sharing roads so they are safe for all users– pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists – as safe travel for all is of the utmost importance.
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual–or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. ” – Samuel Adams
By Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone
Freeholder Tom Arone
The primary election is over and I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to all the candidates that won. Now as you prepare for November, I look forward to seeing positive campaigning over the next couple of months – let’s keep the focus on the issues concerning our constituents.
Voter turnout in Monmouth County was 2.9%, based on the number of eligible voters in the county. We need to improve this number! Your vote is your voice as an American citizen – you need to show up at the polls to have that voice heard. If you are unhappy with how things are being run in your municipality, our county and throughout the state of New Jersey, it is your duty to make a difference by voting. Our right to vote in the United States is a privilege that was granted to us hundreds of years ago by the founders of our great country. If we do not exercise our civic duty to vote, then we fail to create a government that epitomizes the voice of the people, and therefore we will not have representatives that reflect our opinions. So each vote is important, each vote counts.
It’s “unofficially” here and personally, I could not be happier – the boots are replaced with flip flops, t-shirts to wear instead of parkas, and the big snow shovels have been stored and replaced with sand shovels!
This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day, the unofficial kick-off to summer. I hope that while you were celebrating and barbequing with family and friends, you took a moment to reflect on the true reason for this holiday – those soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. On Memorial Day, we remember those that came before us and fought for the freedoms and protection we enjoy each and every day. Thank you to all those who served in the past, those that protect us in the present and those who will continue the legacy in the future.
The Monmouth County bridge that crosses Havens Bridge Road in Howell Township collapsed on Saturday, May 9. The bridge had been closed for weeks prior to the failure due to damage discovered during an inspection by employees of the County Public Works and Engineering Department.
News of the collapse was first reported on the Our Howell NJ facebook community page.
“Thank God we closed the bridge before this happened and no one got hurt,” said Freeholder Tom Arnone, liaison to the Public Works Department, when confirming the collapse.
Gov Chris Christie and Sen Bob Menendez kibitz at the reopening of the Belmar boardwalk as Freeholder Tom Arnone reads the names on the boards, NJ.com photo
Despite the facts that U.S. Senator Bob Menendez was indicted by federal prosecutors last month and Chris Christie says he’s in the clear after he wasn’t indicted in the Bridgegate scandal, Menendez has a higher job approval rating the Christie, according to Monmouth University Poll releases.
In a poll release issued this morning, Menendez’s job approval rating is 42% positive to 38% negative and 20% unsure among registered voters.
In a release last week based upon the same 500 person survey, Christie’s approval rating is 35% approve, 56% disapprove, and 9% unsure among voters.