Flo’s Happy Clipper joins Facade Improvement Program

Groomer receives $1,727 check

EATONTOWN, NJ – The Grow Monmouth Facade Improvement Program recognized Flo’s Happy Clipper for recent upgrades today.

FlosHappy_Clipper_4-8-14“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

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Press Release, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

O’Scanlon: Time to make Interest Arbitration Law permanent

Task force study on arbitration reform confirms law works – and is essential

declan-oscanlon-budgetFollowing up on his comments last week that allowing the interest arbitration law to expire on April 1st would have disastrous consequences on towns and property taxpayers, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon will introduce legislation on Thursday that would make the law permanent.

From January 2011, when the law took effect, to September 2013, average raises in contracts, whether through arbitration or negotiations, were 1.86 percent — the lowest in at least 20 years. O’Scanlon was a member of the task force charged with studying the effects of the law since its inception and said there is no doubt the cap has been the single most significant tool responsible for the stabilization of municipal budgets.

“The data contained in the task force report is irrefutable that the interest arbitration law works and is an essential element in helping towns control costs,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “The cap on arbitration awards was a critical part of our 2010 reforms and was the most important tool ever enacted to bring under control the never-ending, upward pressure on property taxes and the gradual strangling of local government services.  One simply cannot logically argue that we can maintain a cap on property taxes without providing this tool for municipal officials to control their largest expense categories.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Press Release, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

House Passes ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’

Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.

“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said.  “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”

The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Joint Super Bowl Operation Targeting Commercial Child Sex Trafficking Rescue 25 Minors, Apprehends 45 Suspects

seated_on_setWASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of U.S. and New Jersey law enforcement agencies who took part in a Joint Super Bowl Operation deserve tremendous credit for rescuing 25 children ages 13-17 from lives of misery and sexual abuse, and for arresting 45 suspects who allegedly exploited the children for commercial sex, said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global human rights, and author of the landmark law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-386).

 

According to the FBI, which announced the arrests yesterday, some suspects claimed to have traveled to New Jersey from other states specifically for the purpose of prostituting women and children at the Super Bowl. High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises, the FBI said.

This unprecedented effort by federal agencies in collaboration with local law enforcement from New Jersey aggressively focused on combating commercial child sex trafficking,” said Smith. “The joint efforts and the extraordinary leadership shown by Governor Christie and the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task force is to be applauded for working effectively to help save lives. 

“Young victims now have a chance for a new start thanks to these arrests and rescuesThose who took advantage of young runaways and women forced or mislead into a life of sex trafficking and abuse must now face justiceHopefully this effective effort will become a prototype and have a chilling effect on perpetrators across the nation and around the globe.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: February 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Human Trafficking, Press Release, Super Bowl | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Super Bowl More Than a Game to Highlands, New Jersey Kids

The Robert D. Wilson Memorial Community Center and the Snug Harbor Park will be having repairs to damage from Hurricane Sandy thanks to

NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, Jets owner Woody Johnson, and Douglas Eagles, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County at November 2 announcement of NY/NJ Snowflake Foundation Grant for Highlands

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, Jets owner Woody Johnson, and Douglas Eagles, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County at November 2, 2013 announcement of NY/NJ Snowflake Foundation Grant for Highlands

Highlands, NJ (January 30) – Long after this year’s Super Bowl Most Valuable Player is named, the game will continue to have an impact on youngsters throughout the State of New Jersey. The NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation (SYF), the charitable arm of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, is refurbishing run-down or damaged youth-serving organizations throughout the Garden State. Today, the Borough of Highlands announced that it is one of at least 23 sites benefiting from a $1.5 million grant for repairs and renovations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to SYF through the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Although some of these sites were in need of repairs and upgrades long before Hurricane Sandy came along, the superstorm had a huge impact. Many facilities were forced to shut their doors entirely, and more than a year after Sandy made landfall, the repair work continues. The funds provided will assist with the Community Center main room flooring replacement, installation of a new playground and renovations to the basketball and tennis courts that were undermined during the storm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Highlands, Press Release, Super Bowl | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

FEMA Agrees to Levee Study that Could Ease Homeowners’ Flood Insurance Premiums

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Federal officials are taking steps which may help residents of the hard-hit neighborhood of North Middletown as they face potential flood insurance increases as a result of new flood maps expected to be unveiled this week.

 

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) said that as a result of congressional inquiry and meetings with local officials from Middletown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other state and federal agencies, FEMA has agreed to implement a comprehensive study and evaluation of the East Keansburg Levee system which FEMA had previously “de-certified” for flood protection, resulting in proposed steep flood insurance hikes for homeowners.  If the study recognizes the levee system as flood protection that may prevent devastating flooding as it did during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, it could lead to reduced risk assessment and lower insurance costs.

“Thousands of residents of North Middletown are looking at the very real possibility of their flood insurance premiums skyrocketing because FEMA no longer views some levee systems as adequate flood protection,” said Smith. “But as residents there know, for more than 40 years this neighborhood has been well served by a flood management system of levees, dunes, and pumps. This unique system has been effective since its installation in the 1970s. Even during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, when much of the coast was badly flooded, the roughly 1,400 homes in North Middletown remained protected. To omit an evaluation of this levy system and a substantive analysis of any form of protection it might offer would be unfair to the residents.”

 

Smith sent a letter to FEMA Region II chief Jerome Hatfield on November 8 requesting the agency do a study, to which Hatfield replied that FEMA did not at the time have adequate funding.

 

“We are thankful that FEMA has now identified funding to undertake this important study, particularly after correspondence in which Administrator Hatfield stated that FEMA was looking to explore this option and work together with local stakeholders,” said Smith.  “We hope this new study will enable FEMA to determine the effectiveness of the East Keansburg Levee system and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information as they conclude analysis of the region’s flood maps.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth County Ready To Battle Snow Storm

Public Works crews have pre-treated county roads in advance of storm

FREEHOLD, NJ – Meteorologists predict more than eight inches of snow could fall in Monmouth County in the next 24 hours, and the County’s Public Works crews have been busy today applying liquid salt brine and rock salt to the County roads.

 

“Pre-treating the roads is key,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “The County’s snow room is open and we are monitoring the storm’s progress and we have 135 trucks outfitted with spreading and plowing capabilities.”

 

Road crews from the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering have applied liquid salt brine to the County’s roads; they are now following up with an application of salt treated with magnesium chloride. The pre-treatment prevents the snow and ice from bonding to the road surface, making it easier for the plows to clear the snow. The County maintains about 1,000 lane miles of roads.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christie Administration Hires Former Federal Prosecutor To Conduct Internal Review And Cooperate with U.S. Attorney’s Bridgegate Inquiry

Trenton, NJ – Today, the Christie Administration announced the retention of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to assist with the internal review announced by Governor Christie last week and to further cooperate with the U.S. Attorney inquiry. As part of the review process, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production.

 

“Governor Christie made clear last week that he will conduct an internal review to uncover the facts surrounding the lane closures in Fort Lee. His Administration is fully cooperating with the U.S. Attorney inquiry and other appropriate inquiries and requests for information. To assist in conducting that internal review and furthering that cooperation, the Christie Administration is announcing today that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has been retained as outside counsel. Their presence will bring an outside, third-party perspective to the situation, and they will be a valuable asset as we move forward. This Administration is committed to ensuring that what happened here never happens again. That’s what the people of New Jersey deserve.”

 

Heading up the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP team is former federal prosecutor Randy Mastro. Mastro is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he specialized in organized crime cases and spearheaded the federal government’s landmark racketeering suit that compelled the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to hold democratic elections and to undergo court supervision. Mastro also served as former Deputy Mayor of New York City.

Posted: January 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Port Authority | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Burry and Rich take leadership roles on Freeholder Board

Arnone, DiMaso sworn in as freeholders

Shaun Golden sworn in as County Sheriff

 

Freeholder Tom Arnone, the 2013 Director, turns over the gavel to 2014 Freeholder Director Lillian Burry. Don Burry, the director's husband, and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande look on with approval.

Freeholder Tom Arnone, the 2013 Director, turns over the gavel to 2014 Freeholder Director Lillian Burry. Don Burry, the director’s husband, and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande look on with approval.

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County freeholders Lillian G. Burry and Gary J. Rich, Sr. became, respectively, freeholder director and deputy director at the Board’s 2014 organization meeting held on Jan. 2 at Biotechnology High School.

 

“In the year ahead, I promise to work tirelessly for changes we desire that will make better lives and a stronger economy for the people of Monmouth County,” said Director Burry. “We have much work to do in transitioning Fort Monmouth into an engine for economic growth while restoring services for our veterans, finding a balance between economic development and historic preservation at Fort Hancock, creating a new County Master Plan and completing the County’s Child Advocacy Center.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »