In the pursuit of trimming Monmouth County’s bottom line Freeholders Tom Arnone, Gary Rich and John Curley, Curley who faces the voters in November, are about to turn their back on several handicapped and indigent patients living at the John L. Montgomery Care Center in Freehold, despite a viable, fiscally responsible and compassionate alternative being proposed by Freeholders Lillian Burry and Serena DiMaso. The Burry-DiMaso plan both trims the budget and saves the facility, which serves some of the county’s most needy families.
Life is wondrous, beautiful and vital, until it’s not. Many of us have watched a grandparent, so active and so engaged from the earliest moments of our youth, suddenly decline and descend into illness and death. It’s even harder when it’s a parent or a child. My dad recently fell ill. As I write this he lays in intensive care, holding on to his relatively young life via prayers and the constant attention of family and medical professionals. If he survives this dangerous chapter, he may have a lifetime of respiratory, physical and occupational therapy ahead of him. A wondrous beautiful life is all at once fragile and uncertain.
Monmouth County Deputy Freeholder Director Serena DiMaso
Monmouth County Deputy Freeholder Director Serena Dimaso today called upon the Democratic leadership of the State Legislature to force Assemblywoman Linda Stender out of office.
According to numerous published reports, Stender and her husband Richard concocted a scheme to have their vacation bungalow in Manasquan demolished and replaced with a half million dollar 5 bedroom home with charitable and government funds dedicated to help Monmouth County residents who lost their homes and possessions to Superstorm Sandy rebuild. The charity Coastal Habitat for Humanity claims the Stenders have not repaid the $11,000 the organization spent to demolish the bungalow, as they promised they would.
“SHAME ON HER,” exclaimed DisMaso, “There are thousands of people not back in their homes yet and hundreds of people working hard to find resources to take care of those people. For an elected official to unscrupulously attempt to gain the system is a disgrace.”
Monmouth County Clerk M. Clair French address the Monmouth GOP convention. Chairman Shaun Golden in background. photo by Art Gallagher
An impressive crowd of over 400 Monmouth Republican County Committee members gathered on Saturday morning to nominate their candidates for State Assembly, County Clerk and Freeholder. The size of the crowd was impressive not only because of the weather but because the results of the convention were a foregone conclusion as there were no challengers to the incumbent Assembly Members, Freeholder or Governor Chris Christie’s nominee for County Clerk.
Free of any competitive tensions, the mood at Colts Neck High School was upbeat, friendly and proud among the grassroots leaders who came out for Chairman Shaun Golden first nominating convention. Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso noted both the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. “This crowd is almost as large as last year’s convention when we had a competition for the freeholder nominations,” DiMaso said, “We’re in really great shape and that is a testament to Shaun’s leadership.”
This year’s election season doesn’t carry with it the big ticket names for President or even Governor, but in Monmouth County and Holmdel it certainly does. Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich have worked diligently for the residents of our county. In Holmdel, our Mayor Pat Impreveduto and Committeeman Greg Buontempo mirror that work ethic and continue to deliver the best quality of life for our beautiful community.
Any one who knows me, knows how often I tell the story of why I chose Holmdel and Monmouth County. BUT, in case you haven’t heard, here’s the short version, we wanted a place we could raise our children and they could raise their children. We wanted a community that boasted the best school systems, park systems and quality of life in all of New Jersey. We found it. It’s all right here in Holmdel Township, Monmouth County. Why? Because of the leadership of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders and the Holmdel Township Committee.
UPDATE: August, 27, Curley pulls nursing home sale resolution
Freeholder John Curley called this morning to say that he has pulled his resolution to sell the Monmouth County owned nursing homes from this week’s agenda. County CFO Craig Marshall is on vacation. Curley wants Marshall available to address all of the financial concerns regarding the proposed sale. Curley expects to reintroduce the resolution in September.
Reductions in Medicaid payments for long term care under the Affordable Care Act have led to increasing deficits at Monmouth County’s two government owned nursing homes.
The John L. Montgomery Care Center in Freehold and the Geraldine L. Thompson Care Center in Wall are owned and operated by Monmouth County’s government. Property tax payers have been subsidizing the long term care of the elderly, disabled and infirm residing in these facilities for decades. From 2007 through 2013 the cumulative deficit funded by Monmouth property tax payers was about $40 million. Despite cost cutting measures and union givebacks, the combined deficit this year is on track to exceed $13 million plus the cost of repairs and capital improvements required to keep the facilities in compliance with state and federal regulations, due to cutbacks in the amount that Medicaid pays for patient care under ObamaCare. 98% of the patients at Montgomery and Thompson are insured by Medicaid.
Freeholder John Curley has been pushing his colleagues on the all Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders to sell the nursing homes for years. Every time the issue gets traction or public attention, patients in wheelchairs and staff members of the nursing facilities show up at Freeholder meetings and plead with the Freeholders not to sell the facilities. The patients’ stories are heart wrenching. The declarations of love for their patients by the staff members are moving.
Monmouth County Freeholder Candidate Larry Luttrell partying with a model and squinting like Frank Pallone in Atlantic City in February, 2013. facebook photo
If you’re a Monmouth County Democrat thinking about a career in government, working on Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo’s freeholder campaign could be hazardous to your ambitions.
Luttrell and Grillo told the Asbury Park Press that the fact that Freeholder Director Lillian Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer, Bill Bucco, was given a raise and a promotion after three years in a county administrative job where he streamlined operations and found $200,000 in revenue due the county that was never collected is “politics at its worst.”
I must have missed their press release condemning Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s new job as a “consultant” with ties to South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, which Preito somehow manages to do while collecting six figures from his three government jobs.
Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Rich and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry at the Italian American Festival in Ocean Township last week.
Monmouth County has received a new AAA bond rating from all three major rating agencies for the 16th consecutive year, according to a statement by the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders.
“This is the 16th straight year the County has been awarded AAA status from Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the County’s Finance Department. “Monmouth County continues to be top-rated in how it manages taxpayer money.”
The three rating agencies rated the upcoming Monmouth County Improvement Authority’s (MCIA) governmental refunding bond series and reaffirmed the ratings of the County’s outstanding debt.
“Monmouth County continues its demonstration of sound, fiscal management. The County has been careful in its spending and continues to maintain low debt levels,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “As a result, we are able to have greater flexibility in delivering quality services to our residents. It shows how well the County is managing its resources and planning for the future.”
Monmouth County is the only county in New Jersey and one of less than three dozen counties in the nation that can claim to have received the highest score from all three rating agencies. The AAA rating is higher than that of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America.
The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders will be holding on online auction for a surplus helicopter from the Mosquito Commission from May 17 at 9am through June 17 at 6pm.
The well maintained 1980 Bell 206B III Jet Ranger has only 2560 flight hours.
The helicopter may be inspected by appointment only, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (EDT) from Monday, May 19, 2014 through Monday, June 16, 2014, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and (Memorial Day) Monday, May 26, 2014. Potential bidders may contact the Monmouth County Division of Fleet Services at 732-431-7830 or its representatives, Dennis Szostek at extension 4891 or Paul Grosselfinger at extension 7165, with any questions or to make an appointment to inspect the Helicopter. Inspections will take place at the Monmouth County Mosquito Commission, 1901 Wayside Road, in Tinton Falls.
“The sale of this helicopter is a rare and exciting opportunity for the County and potential buyers,” Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. said. “The County’s online auctions provide a great benefit in terms of revenue and make it easier for bidders as they can monitor the sale though their computers. Another benefit is that we get many more bidders, including some in other states.”
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.”
….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. Photo via Pallone’s facebook page.