Recently a Mayor’s Luncheon was held in Belmar for the purpose of giving Belmar businesses a forum to meet and discuss tourism and how it benefits businesses at the Jersey Shore. I was happy to attend and join Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty in greeting the local business owners and to share with them what the County Tourism Division does to promote the industry. The luncheon was held at Ollie Klein’s Waterside Café located on River Road in Belmar.
Additionally, we are currently working toward entering into a shared services agreement with Hightstown to utilize the Monmouth County Vehicle Wash facilities. This is yet another approach to help reduce costs and redundancies in the delivery of public services, while adding some additional revenue for the county to help offset our operational costs. Because Hightstown already has a shared services agreement with Roosevelt Borough for trash collection which is hauled to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, it makes good sense for them to utilize the county vehicle wash facilities as a value added shared services while they are in the area. Howell Township has just been added to our MODIV property tax assessment shared services system. This system has been recognized for innovation and excellence in public service by the Harvard Kennedy School and Moody’s Investor’s Service for its role in streamlining the delivery and implementation of the tax assessment process. Certain municipalities have seen savings of up to 65% through this shared service.
Beck: Federal and State Agencies Haven’t Approved Drying Sites
Governor Chris Christie told his Town Hall gathering in Belmar yesterday afternoon that the dredging of Shark River is being held up because the municipalities along the river and Monmouth County can not agree on a destination for the dredge spoils to be dumped.
The issue has gathered increased public attention in recent months due to a massive fish kill in the river last May. 310 tons of dead fish were removed from the shoreline of the estuary that feeds into the Atlantic through the inlet between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea and extents 11 miles through Neptune and Wall Townships.
In answering a question from a man who identified himself as Bob from Wall, Christie said that he supports the dredging, fought for money from FEMA to pay for the dredging and would impose a solution on the county and municipalities if he had the authority to do so. He said he had been briefed on the issue three weeks ago.
Maybe the Governor remembered a briefing from a different dredging project when answering Bob’s question.
Both the Monmouth County and Neptune landfills are willing to take the dredge spoils, according to Senator Jennifer Beck. The river hasn’t been dredged, Beck said in a phone interview last night, because over the last two decades various federal and state agencies have rejected every proposed location for the dredged materials to dry before being moved to their final disposal site.
Progess in Tourism, Share Services, Infrastructure and Economic Development
By Freeholder Tom Arnone
Freeholder Tom Arone
The Belmar Seafood Festival was a huge success and the County enjoyed having the opportunity to show its presence over the three day weekend. It was estimated that crowds exceeded 150,000 over the three day weekend and as liaison to the Department of Tourism, I was happy to have had the opportunity to speak with so many individuals. On July 4th, Monmouth County Public Information and Tourism will have a booth at Oceanfest on the boardwalk in Long Branch. The booth will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. All are encouraged to attend and join in the celebration that will end at 10 p.m. with an evening of spectacular fireworks.
The most recent meeting of The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders was hosted and held in Asbury Park. Monmouth County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering has been performing vehicle preventative maintenance and repairs for Asbury Park’s fire trucks and emergency vehicles at a cost savings of 40% to the City’s taxpayers. While the Division of Highway has been assisting the local municipalities with sediment removal projects to enhance water quality and reduce flooding.
Additionally, as the Freeholder representative to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and Freeholder Liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering, I am pleased to report that in the next few weeks, the County expects to receive a federal grant for $10.5 million for the reconstruction of Bridge O-10 on Sunset Avenue over Deal Lake between the City of Asbury Park and the Township of Ocean.
TRAFFIC SIGNALS are of great significance in that they help to control the flow of traffic as well as helping to ensure the safety of our residents. Recently, there was a traffic signal activation ceremony held on the corner of Locust Avenue and Parker Roadin the Borough of West Long Branch. This project came about as a result of Mayor Tucci requesting that the County study this intersection to allow better traffic flow from Parker Road onto County Route 15 (Locust Avenue) and to improve safety and access for the Frank Antonides Middle School and the West Long Branch Community Center. Based on the County’s study our in-house County engineers designed this state of the art traffic signal which has dedicated turn lanes, improved crosswalks and push-button control pedestrian signals. The traffic signal uses LED lights that costs less to operate and is eco-friendly.
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.
On May 12, 2014, a massive fish kill began in the Shark River. Over the next 10 days, 310 tons of fish would die and wash ashore. According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the cause of the fish kill was due to a large number of bait fish entering the river to seek refuge from bluefish and bass. The concentration of fish, coupled with warm and shallow waters, depleted the dissolved oxygen levels, resulting in the die-off. Despite that this event appeared to be a naturally occurring phenomenon, the die-off was a wake-up call that we should not take the health of the River for granted. While a number of factors working together may have contributed to the event, there are some people that believe this devastating ecological event could have been avoided with preventative maintenance, or more specifically, the long-overdue dredging of the Shark River.
With summer right around the corner The Monmouth Ocean Development Council is preparing for the 2014 Summer Kickoff to the Jersey Shore. It will be Wednesday, May 21, 2014 on the boardwalk in Asbury outside McLoone’s Supper Club. I will be joining Grace Hanlon, Executive Director of Travel & Tourism State of NJ and Freeholder Joe Vicari of Ocean County as the guest speakers.
Monmouth County 2014 Tourism Season/Arts Partnership are true partners in that they both support businesses large and small in Monmouth County. They play an important role in building and sustaining our economic vibrancy. The Arts and Tourism partnership helps to enhance the quality of life throughout Monmouth County. Monmouth County is home to 2,080 arts related businesses. These businesses employ 5,803 people.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders supports the MOCO Arts and Tourism partnership. We encourage our visitors and residents to visit our museums, theaters and our film, architecture and design companies as well as our beaches, boardwalks, historic sites, parks and attractions.
Visitors to Monmouth County spent $2.2 billion in 2013, up 5% over visitor spending in 2012, with Monmouth County seeing about 5 million visitors a year. There are over 32,000 people employed in tourism related jobs in Monmouth County.
For the fourth straight year in a row The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has had a 0% tax increase. I am pleased that I have been able to be a part of this budget especially in the hard economic times we are faced with. It has been and always will be a priority of mine as well as the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders to continue this trend of savings to our Monmouth County residents.
Additionally, The Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to report we have collected over $1 Million (Actual is $1,022,976.56) in revenues at this early stage in the year from our 911 communications shared service. This amount is based on revenue received from 21 towns. This is a vast increase from prior years where the invoice and revenue collection process typically began in April. This year, the Freeholders in conjunction with the Sheriff through the Office of Shared Services began the process at a much earlier date. The result has been beneficial to all parties as the county has earlier use of funds to help offset our expenses which allows for efficient budgeting for the county as well as for our municipalities. The Board of Chosen Freeholders is extremely pleased with these figures and anticipates the numbers to continue to increase as we receive revenue from the remaining municipalities. The revenue the County receives that is generated through shared services offers relief to the municipalities that translates to lower costs for the services being performed.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and at the last meeting of The Board of Chosen Freeholders a Proclamation was presented to Dr. David Abbott, Superintendent of Schools, for The Shore Center for Students with Autism located in Tinton Falls,. The Proclamation was presented to commemorate Autism Awareness Month in hopes of raising awareness of Autism.
EATONTOWN, NJ – The Grow Monmouth Facade Improvement Program recognized Flo’s Happy Clipper for recent upgrades today.
“Flo’s is receiving a check for $1,727 for a new awning,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “Every Facade Improvement Program check helps make a needed improvement to a local business. This is the seventh check presented so far.”
Flo’s Happy Clipper is located at 20 Main Street in Eatontown. Owner Robert Ferrara accepted the reimbursement check from Arnone.
The program is part of the successful Grow Monmouth initiative that is utilizing HUD Community Development Block Grant funds to help improve the look of privately held commercial buildings located in HUD eligible areas of Monmouth County. No County funds are being used for the program.
HUD eligible areas include all or part of 26 of the County’s municipalities. Eligible municipalities are: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck (Naval station only), Deal, Eatontown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Highlands, Howell, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune City, Neptune Twp., Ocean Twp., Red Bank, Shrewsbury Twp., Tinton Falls (naval station only), Union Beach and West Long Branch.
Asbury Park, Long Branch and Middletown businesses are not eligible for this program because those municipalities receive designated HUD Community Development Block Grants directly.
“No matching funds are required from the business,” Arnone said. “To date, $12,178 has been dispersed out of a total of $85,000 that has been set aside for this program, so businesses should apply now.”
For more information about the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program please contact the Division of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com