Monmouth County Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry
Amidst a summer awash in bad news, there is a very good news story I’m pleased to share regarding the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth; a topic I am asked about frequently. Since the fort was closed by the U.S. Army in 2005, I have been a member of both public-private agencies, led by the state, that first planned, and is now executing plans to transform the fort into a hub of recreation, commerce, technology, innovation, education, residential and retail use. Tangible results emerged last year and continue to increase this year. More are on the near horizon, bringing jobs, ratables and opportunities for the public to enjoy new open spaces and recreational options within the borders of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls.
As the county’s representative, first on the Fort Monmouth Economic Redevelopment Planning Authority (FMERPA) and currently on the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), I identified certain facilities and spaces for county use early on. Last year, the Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering took over, refurbished and is now utilizing the fort’s former motor pool, bringing critical services including snow and storm damage removal closer to that region. The county Park System now runs the former teen center and pool, a beautiful facility. Programs initiated there last year have been well-attended and growing. This year, we opened the pool for classes. The reception and attendance have been outstanding. We hope to increase programs at the pool next summer. That’s just the beginning…
The honorees will be recognized as Vanguards on Friday evening, August 22 at the theater. Tickets to the event, which will include Rockit! the Basie’s annual summer concert, a Tribute to Woodstock & The Age of Aquarius are available here.
Tickets are only $20. Proceeds will go towards future Rockit! scholarships, the theatre’s bus-in program offering area districts and students a low-cost option to experience the theatre’s cultural programming, and for professional development sessions associated with Mr. Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll: An American Story program.
Asbury Park – An overflow crowd of Asbury Park residents attended the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting in the city last evening to rally the county’s governing body to save the north end beachfront property known as Bradley Cove.
iStar Financial, the city’s master developer, owns the development rights to the site and has a proposal to build 15 town homes on the property. The Asbury Park Council passed a resolution earlier this month to apply for Green Acres funding to preserve the property.
The freeholders were sympathetic to the public outcry to prevent the development, but made it clear that the ball is in Asbury Park’s court. Prior Asbury Park administrations sold the development rights to the property and approved a tax abatement to support the development. Community members are now trying to undue that deal, and seem be hoping that Freeholder Board has the power to make that happen.
In a column in the current issue of the triCityNews, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry said that one of her opponents in the coming election was right when he accused Burry of not supporting “agricultural and farmland preservation in “coastal” towns. “It’s for the same reason I don’t support beach replenishment in Upper Freehold and Millstone. There aren’t any beaches there, just as there aren’t a lot of farms in Red Bank or Long Branch or Asbury Park.”
Burry points out that there in only one parcel in the region qualified for the farmland preservation program, in Long Branch, and that the owner of the property has not applied to sell the development rights to the program which is funded by municipal, county and state dollars.
At issue is beachfront property at the north end of Asbury Park that is slated for residential development. There is some vocal opposition to the proposed development and Democratic Freeholder candidate Joe Grillo is trying to jump on that band wagon to get traction in his fledgling campaign against Burry and Deputy Freeholder Director Gary Rich.
Pictured left to right: OSJL Regional L.P. Manager Bill Thompson, OSJL Director of Store Operations Paul Cox, OSJL Sales Manager Edmund Lynn, OSJL Regional Director Pat Nevue, Mayor Donald Burden, Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, OSJL Assistant Manager Hakeem Reynolds, Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder John P. Curley.
Ocean State Job Lot, the New England discount retailer, held the Grand Opening of their first New Jersey location on Saturday in Shrewsbury.
Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Freeholders Tom Arnone and John Curley, as well as Mayor Donald Burden were on hand to welcome the company to Monmouth County.
OSJL sells brand name, first quality products at close out prices. The company says their merchandise selection not only consists of a variety of manufacturer’s overruns, overstocks and packaging changes, but also includes many areas where our buyers have determined that “holes” exist in the marketplace. We are constantly on the hunt for special deals, which allow us to offer quality brand name merchandise at closeout prices.
While they are known as a closeout company, Ocean State Job Lots prefers to think of themselves as opportunistic merchants.
The Shrewsbury location is at 179 Newman Springs Rd East, which is near the corner of Shrewsbury Ave and across the street from Butch’s Lube and Wash.
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.”
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.
The regular meeting on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders will immediately follow the Freeholders’ workshop meeting tomorrow afternoon. The workshop meeting will start at 1PM. The workshop meeting was originally scheduled for 2PM and the regular meeting for 7PM. The change is due to the anticipated snowstorm.
“The Freeholder public meetings are essential for the operation of the County, but public safety is paramount,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “Given the weather predictions, the Board will hold both meetings during the day allowing for everyone to head home during the daylight hours.”
Both meetings will be held in the Hall of Records located at One East Main Street in Freehold Borough.