Freehold Director Tom Arnone told MoreMonmouthMusings that the NJ Department of Transportation has agreed to restart the Shark River dredging project despite the fact that the Transportation Trust Fund has yet to be renewed and funded. The news came to Arnone from a DOT official via phone after business hours on Wednesday.
NJ DOT spokesman Kevin Israel confirmed that the project will restart in an email to MMM.
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone said he will announce a plan to restart the Shark River dredging project Wednesday morning at the Shark River Marina in Neptune Township.
The project, which had restarted on schedule on July 1 was halted at midnight on July 8 when Governor Christie’s executive order halting projects funded by the Transportation Trust Fund took effect.
The legislature failed to pass TTF funding with a $.23 per gallon gas tax on June 30th. The Senate’s plan was to increase the gas tax while phasing out the estate tax and reducing income taxes on retirees. Christie and the Assembly agreed on a bill that would have raised the gas tax and reduced the sales tax from 7% to 6%. Senate President Steve Sweeny and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto agreed to pass a revised version of the Senate’s original bill last week. Yesterday, Christie said the Democrats plan is “dead on arrival.”
Summer is in full swing and the weather is extraordinary! I’ve been all over the place the past few weeks with my fellow Freeholders, visiting towns, festivals and businesses throughout our beautiful Monmouth County, and nothing makes me happier than to see businesses thriving and residents and tourists enjoying all that we have to offer here. Speaking of festivals, many of these summer events would not be possible without the support of our law enforcement officers, first responders and volunteers. I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our first responders, especially our law enforcement officers during this sad and tragic time in our country. Thank you all for serving and protecting us every day and making our communities a safe place to live. The officers here in Monmouth County are among the best in the country and I pray you stay safe each and every day.
Arnone in talks to keep Monmouth County projects going uninterupted
Governor Chris Christie issued an Executive Order last night shutting down all projects funded by the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. The fund’s authorization expired at midnight though published reports indicated that there is enough money in the fund to continue work through mid-August.
Christie’s dramatics came as a result of the Legislature failing to reauthorize the fund. The Senate was considering a bi-partisan plan to reauthorize the fund with a $.23 per gallon gas tax increase while also phasing out the estate tax and income tax on retirement income. The Assembly passed legislation negotiated by Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in the wee hours of Tuesday morning that would increase the gas tax $.23 and phase in a reduction in the state sales tax from 7% to 6%. Christie said the last minute sales tax reduction was his idea.
The Christie/Prieto plan was widely panned from both the left an right and had little support in the Senate.
No plan under consideration addressed New Jersey’s highest in the nation cost of road construction: an estimated $2 million per mile on average.
It’s finally here …summer has returned! I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having lately, and enjoying all that our beautiful Monmouth County has to offer – beaches, parks, lakes, rivers, boardwalks, lighthouses, museums, theaters, historical sites, restaurants and much more. Our tourist season is in full swing, and according to early estimates, we are paced to match or exceed last year’s numbers, providing economic stability here in our region.
Speaking of tourist season, I am happy to report that the dredging of the Shark River is set to restart in the next few weeks, getting us closer to increasing the recreational side of the Shark River corridor as well as restoring the channels for our commercial fishing industry. As you may know, the dredging had started late last fall and was halted on January 1, 2016, due to state regulations in place to protect spawning and the early life stages of winter flounder and anadromous fish. The dredging project is moving along nicely due to a coalition of State, County and local leaders that effectively advocated for the project, including Senator Jen Beck, Committeeman Randy Bishop, County of Monmouth, Board of Chosen Freeholders, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) Office of Maritime Resources, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP), and the governing bodies of the participating municipalities including Neptune City, Neptune, Belmar, and Wall.
Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso with County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon and Sheriff Shaun Golden at the Farmingdale Memorial Day Parade
What an incredible Memorial Day weekend! It was the perfect setting to remember and honor those that have served our country, and those that continue to protect us today. We recognize those individuals who sacrificed to provide us with the freedoms we enjoy every day – we are the land of the free, because of the brave.
I would have loved to have attended all of the parades throughout the county, but unfortunately I could not do so as several of them are at the same time, so I attended as many as I could. I had the honor of walking in the Bradley Beach and Union Beach parades on Saturday, as well as the Matawan parade on Sunday. Monday was a very busy day, as I attended the memorial ceremonies for the Freehold, Oceanport, and Ocean Township; and then walked in the jammed packed Farmingdale parade. The attendance and welcome received this weekend at all the events was overwhelming.
This week we are finally experiencing some warmer temperatures and the sun has returned to us! Let’s hope the weather continues to improve as we head towards our “unofficial” start to summer, Memorial Day Weekend.
We’ve been pretty busy at the County the past several weeks. I am extremely pleased to say that despite all the rain we have had, the paving portion of the Ocean Avenue project is finished, with striping and some handicap accessible ramps yet to be completed. We are well paced to finish this project before the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Great job by our Public Works and Engineering staff in overseeing the logistics of the project, as well as the contractor, Stavola Contracting Company based in Tinton Falls.
You would not believe some of the items that are made right here in Monmouth County. From coffee to wine, from dry aged beef snacks to handcrafted wooden pens, from homemade natural soaps to cosmetics…and much more! A record number of vendors and visitors participated in Monmouth County’s fifth ‘Made in Monmouth’ (MIM) expo on Saturday, April 9 in the MAC at Monmouth University. Approximately 240 county-based companies displayed their goods or services with more than 5,000 people sampling and purchasing.
It’s officially spring and here in Monmouth County the signs of the changing season are all around us. Flowers are blooming, the baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields are bustling with excitement, and the big yard clean ups have begun in all our neighborhoods.
Here in Monmouth County, our calendar is filled with activities for all ages. As we enter our spring tourism season, I hope our residents and visitors will take advantage of all the events our beautiful county has to offer. The winter is over and it is time for everyone to get outside and to enjoy the abundant events in the beautiful parks located here in our County, from the beautiful shores to the woodland trails in western most part of Monmouth. With the weather warming up, many events will begin to take place in the great outdoors. At Historic Allaire Village, the Early Spring Flea Market at Historic Allaire Village takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 9 and the Spring Festival is on April 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso at the Asbury Park St. Pat’s Parade
The past two weekends have been filled with fun festivities throughout the county and the list of activities throughout the rest of March includes parades, plays and performances. March is the month to celebrate the end of winter by getting outside and with two holidays happening this month, there are plenty of great events to choose from.
There’s nothing like a parade to usher in the month and the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Belmar on Sunday, March 6 was the perfect place to do it. Those of you who were in attendance may have seen me, along with my colleagues, on our 2016 float – it was a great way to participate in the parade – we had the best view! I also had a great time at the Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13 walking with Freeholder Serena DiMaso, along with Mayor Moor and members of the Council and look forward to keeping the festive spirit alive in the Highlands by walking in their parade on March 19. March 20 marks the first day of spring, so take the kids outside (if weather permits) and join the Monmouth County Park System for a nature walk at 10 a.m. at the Manasquan Reservoir to look for signs of the new season. Log onto www.visitmonmouth.comfor a full list of activities throughout the County.