Monmouth County Freeholders Adopt Budget With Zero Tax Increase

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry

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.”

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Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Meanwhile at the Monmouth Democratic Convention….

….there were no surprises out of the IBEW Local 400 Union Hall in Wall this morning.

Senator Cory Booker was endorsed for the nomination to seek his first full term in the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Frank Pallone was nominated for his 14th term in the House of Representatives.

In the 4th congressional district, criminal defense attorney Ruben Scolavino has agreed to take another one for the Democratic team.  Scolavino lost to Sheriff Shaun Golden, 64%-36% last year.  He will likely face a worse fate against Congressman Chris Smith who running for his 18th term.  Scolavino is probably angling for a Judgeship.

For Monmouth County Freeholder, Larry Luttrell, a Holmdel attorney who came in last against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso in 2013, hopes to do better this year against Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich who were renominated by the Monmouth GOP this morning.  Joining Luttrell on the County Democratic ticket for freeholder is Joe Grillo of Asbury Park.  Grillo is making his first run at elected office.  He is the municipal chairman of the Asbury Park Democrats, the former executive director of the Monmouth Dems, and works for his family’s tile business.

CD-4 Candidate Ruben Scolavino, Larry Luttrell, Senator Cory Booker, Joe Grillo, Congressman Frank Pallone, NJ Democratic Chairman John Currie and Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal.

CD-4 Candidate Ruben Scolavino, Larry Luttrell, Senator Cory Booker, Joe Grillo, Congressman Frank Pallone, NJ Democratic Chairman John Currie and Monmouth Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal. Photo via Pallone’s facebook page.

 

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Congressional Races, 2014 Elections, 2014 U.S. Senate race, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Freeholders Introduce Budget With No Tax Increase For 4th Consecutive Year

Spending is reduced to 2008 Level

Freeholder Gary Rich, Liaison to the County Finance Department

Freeholder Gary Rich, Liaison to the County Finance Department

The all Republican Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced their budget for the coming year on Thursday evening at the Eastern Branch of the County Library system in Shrewsbury.  The $480.9 million budget is $100,000 lower than the current year’s spending and, for the fourth consecutive year includes no tax increase on Monmouth County property owners.

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal did not issue a statement congratulating the freeholders. When last we heard from Gopal, he was threatening legal action against the owner and publisher of this site for ridiculing his false statements about Republicans.

The budget plan reflects a continuing effort by the freeholder board to reduce County spending while dealing with increased costs and reduced revenue.

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Posted: March 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Budget | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Vin Gopal Threatens Legal Action Against MoreMonmouthMusings

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has threatened the owner of this website, Gallco Media, LLC, with “all legal remedies under law” unless the post, Feds Charge Indian National With Abusive Sexual Contact, is removed from the site.  Gopal’s attorney, D. Sam Han, Esq. of Sobel Han, LLP of Englewood Cliffs, further demands that an apology and retraction be posted that clearly denotes the improper usage of Gopal’s picture on this site.  The photo in question is posted to the left.  Han’s letter can be viewed here.

On behalf of Gallco Media, I consulted with two attorneys to find out what these “legal remedies under law” might be. Both said there aren’t any and that Gopal does not have an actionable claim.  Bring it on, Han. Play it again, Sam. You’re not gonna win, Vin.

We really must have gotten under Gopal’s skin.  He didn’t threaten legal action against the campaign of Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini in the the 2011 legislative race when they sent the now infamous Joe Vas mailer out against Gopal who was running against them at the time.  The mailer was widely criticized in the media and even by many Republicans at the time.  MMM didn’t write about the mailer in 2011 because I was in jail on ginned up charges when the controversy broke. I’m particularly sensitive to the consequences of exaggerated allegations made in the media.

Gopal’s gotten a small taste of his own medicine.  We hope he’ll alter his conduct, and lead members of party to do the same.  It’s not looking too good, so far, but that is what we’re after in our “Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett did not issue a statement…” posts and our posts calling Gopal on his duplicity.

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Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Democrats, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Bayshore Tea Party Group Boasts of 1000 Members, Staunch Backers of Anna Little

gonzalez sign blocking

Bayshore Tea Party Group member Frank Gonzalez, husband of the group’s co-founder, Barbara, installs homemade lawn signs on Rt 35 in Middletown during the 2013 Monmouth County Republican primary campaign

Bayshore Tea Party Group co-founder Barbara Gonzalez told HuffPost that her group has nearly 1000 members and that they are staunch supporters of former Highlands Mayor Anna Little’s quest to unseat Congressman Frank Pallone, in an article posted last evening.

“If you don’t get someone in who is totally willing to fight the establishment, it will never change,” Gonzalez told HuffPost.

Little lost to Pallone in 2010 and 2012 with BTPG’s support, but Gonzalez thinks it will be different this year.

Gonzalez said her membership roll has grown by “a couple of dozen new members” since earlier this month when the Bridgegate controversy broke.

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Posted: January 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Anna Little, Barbara Gonzalez, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Monmouth County, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Judge Lawson: Freeholder Lillian Burry had no conflict of interest regarding Lucas farm vote

Judge Lawrence M. Lawson

Judge Lawrence M. Lawson

Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson has ruled that “no rational fact-finder could find a conflict of interest” in Freeholder Lillian Burry’s March 2013 vote to fund the purchase of the development rights to former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas’s Burke Farm.

In an opinion dated January 8, Lawson said that Burry did not have a conflict of interest, “real or apparent,” “potential” or “actual” in the controversial farmland preservation purchase that has been a political football in Monmouth County and Manalapan since 2010.

In a Summary Judgment, Lawson dismissed the suit with prejudice, brought by Holmdel attorney Lawrence Luttrell, a Democratic freeholder candidate at the time that he, his wife and mother-in-law formed R.A.G.E (Residents Against Government Exploitation), a non-profit corporation, for the sole purpose of bringing suit against Monmouth County over Burry’s vote on the Lucas farm deal.

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Posted: January 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 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.”

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

Ryan Green makes Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad A Political Football

Ryan Green. Photo via RyanDGreen.com

Ryan Green. Photo via RyanDGreen.com

The Manalapan Township Committee unanimously approved an agreement with the Englistown-Manalapan First Aid Squad on December 11, 2013 that will permit the previously all volunteer squad that provides first aid and ambulance service for free to Manalapan residents to form an non-profit entity to would hire paid EMTs to supplement the declining ranks of volunteers and bill residents who use the services the amount that their health insurance companies would otherwise pay to private first aid and ambulance companies.

Township Committeeman Ryan Green joined his fellow Republican committee members in voting for the agreement with EMFSA, but then went public with a letter to the editor to the NewsTranscript  in which he criticized Mayor Susan Cohen and Deputy Mayor Jordan Maskowitz for failing to seek input from the public on what Green calls “a major change.”

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Posted: January 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Winners and Losers of 2013, Part One

Winners

January 2013 seems like a long time ago.

The years are supposed to go by faster as we get older.  2013 missed the memo, at least for me. President Obama’s second Inauguration and Freeholder John Curley’s second swearing in seem like a long time ago.

Selikia Joshia Gore started us off in 2013 with a timeless call to renew our humanity; the ongoing struggle of saints and sinners to love one another regardless of standing, status or creed.   It is a winning message that works only by embracing our failures without resigning to them.

The Governor. Governor Chris Christie started the year lambasting House Speaker John Boehner and the Congressional Republicans for playing politics with Superstorm Sandy aid and ended the year as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. In between he built a bi-partisan and multi-cultural coalition that reelected him with over 60% of the vote in Blue Jersey.   Christie had the best year of any politician in America.  Only Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin had better years globally.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  Menendez started the year on the losers list. Embroiled in a sandal of allegations of his cavorting with teenaged girls in the Dominican Republic and using the powers of his office to benefit the businesses of the donor who arranged the party, speculation was that he would resign as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if not his Senate seat.  Menendez seems to have survived an FBI investigation into his relationship with Dr. Saloman Melgan unscathed.

At the end of the year, Menendez’s position seems secure. He is the leading, and most powerful, critic of President Obama’s foreign policy.   His approval ratings are net positive 22 points in the last Monmouth University Poll. He got engaged to be married earlier this month.

Given where he started, Menendez may have had the best 2013 of any New Jersey public figure, other than Christie.

The Gramiccionis.  The Wall Township power couple had a very good year.  In March, Christopher, the Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor and U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, received orders to report for a 9 month tour of active duty in Afghanistan effective in August.  Those orders were canceled in July, keeping Chris on the job fighting crime in Monmouth County and home for the holidays.  Deborah was appointed by Governor Christie to be the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The job pays $289,657.

Monmouth County Republicans.  Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso were always expected to be reelected on the strength of their records and due to the fact that Monmouth County Independent voters usually vote Republican.  They make the winners list by virtue of fact that they ran as if they were behind, not taking any votes for granted.  More importantly, they ran a positive campaign based on reducing spending, holding the line on taxes, and improving services, in the face of yet another negative campaign on the part of the Monmouth County Democrats.

Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation.  Each member of Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation deserves more recognition than space will allow.

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Posted: December 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Walsh To Challenge Freeholder Incumbents

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination.  Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination. Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race. Photo credit Rhoda Chodosh

Freeholder Lillian Burry: “They (her opponents) should say what they would do better. Their negative attacks make them look like asses.  They are asses!”

The By-Laws instituted by Monmouth Republican Chairman John Bennett as the fulfillment of one of his major campaign promises in 2012 will likely result in one of his most ardent supporters, Freeholder Lillian Burry, being challenged at the 2014 Monmouth Republican Nominating Convention in March.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh said he will seek a nomination for freeholder when the Republican County Committee convenes next spring.  Incumbents Burry and Freeholder Gary Rich both said they will seek the nominations for new terms…Burry’s 4th, Rich’s 2nd…and that they are prepared to fight back Walsh’s challenge.

“Tell him to wait his turn,” Burry said of Walsh’s challenge.  “I’m running and I support Gary Rich for another term.”

“I’ve heard the name mentioned as a candidate,” Rich said of Walsh, “but I haven’t heard from him. It is interesting that he would challenge an incumbent like Lillian Burry who has such an exemplary record serving the taxpayers of Monmouth County.  Lillian and I both work very hard to improve the county.”

“Freeholders are not elected for life,” Walsh, a former Howell mayor elected as an Independent, said, “my record speaks for itself.  Lillian and Gary are both vulnerable. The Democrats are looking to take them out are excited about running against them.  I am more electable than either of them and I would be a better freeholder than either of them.”

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Posted: December 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments »