This week we are finally experiencing some warmer temperatures and the sun has returned to us! Let’s hope the weather continues to improve as we head towards our “unofficial” start to summer, Memorial Day Weekend.
We’ve been pretty busy at the County the past several weeks. I am extremely pleased to say that despite all the rain we have had, the paving portion of the Ocean Avenue project is finished, with striping and some handicap accessible ramps yet to be completed. We are well paced to finish this project before the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Great job by our Public Works and Engineering staff in overseeing the logistics of the project, as well as the contractor, Stavola Contracting Company based in Tinton Falls.
It’s officially spring and here in Monmouth County the signs of the changing season are all around us. Flowers are blooming, the baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields are bustling with excitement, and the big yard clean ups have begun in all our neighborhoods.
Here in Monmouth County, our calendar is filled with activities for all ages. As we enter our spring tourism season, I hope our residents and visitors will take advantage of all the events our beautiful county has to offer. The winter is over and it is time for everyone to get outside and to enjoy the abundant events in the beautiful parks located here in our County, from the beautiful shores to the woodland trails in western most part of Monmouth. With the weather warming up, many events will begin to take place in the great outdoors. At Historic Allaire Village, the Early Spring Flea Market at Historic Allaire Village takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 9 and the Spring Festival is on April 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mayor Matt Doherty and Governor Chris Christie walk the Belmar boardwalk. Photo Credit: Tim Larson, Governor’s Office
Belmar, April 1- Mayor Matt Doherty will withdraw as a candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder and resign as mayor of the borough to become Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, according to a confidential memo obtained by MoreMonmouthMusings.
For years, Doherty has declined to run for Freeholder because, like his friend Governor Chris Christie, he prefers to be #1 rather than one of group. He agreed to Monmouth Democrat Chairman Vin Gopal’s plea that he run this year because he needs a quick exit from Belmar where he knows the gimmicks and tricks he has employed as mayor will blow up next year and cause massive tax hikes. Doherty calculated that this would be the year for him to win on a county level because Hillary Clinton, he thinks, do very well with Monmouth County voters and he will benefit from her pant suit tails.
Freehold Township- The Monmouth County Republican Committee endorsed Brent Sonnek-Schmelz, a member of the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education, to challenge Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr in the November 8, 2016 election last night during their annual nominating convention at iPlay America.
Sonneck-Schmelz, 39, is an Eagle Scout, attorney, Wharton educated MBA and entrepreneur who announced to the world that he likes to wear short shorts in the summer when he won $100,000 as a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He currently works as the General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of The Soccer Post, a family owned franchise system of soccer stores with 33 locations nationally, and as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of City Sports, a Boston based sports apparel retailer that he is working to relaunch.
Sheriff Shaun Golden and Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
Before an enthusiastic crowd of over 600 Monmouth County supporters at the Eagle Oaks Country Club in Farmingdale, Sheriff (and County GOP Chairman) Shaun Golden announced that he, Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso, and Surrogate Rosemarie Peters are all running for reelection in November.
“We don’t need to make Monmouth County great again,” Golden declared with a reference to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Monmouth County is great!”
Funding for projects in Middletown, Millstone and Upper Freehold
Freeholder Director Tom Arone
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone announced this afternoon that Monmouth County has been awarded $714,000 in federal funds to make safety improvements on County roads in Middletown, Millstone and Upper Freehold.
The improvements will be completed as part of two separate projects:
Upgraded traffic signals, installation of dedicated left turn lanes, pedestrian countdown signals and highly visible crosswalks at the intersection of Leonardville Road (CR 516) and East Road in Middletown, $339,000
Application of high friction surface treatment, safety edging (to minimize vertical drop-off and allow motorists to safely reenter the paved road) and signage to warn of curves along Stagecoach Road (CR 524) from Cherry Lane in Millstone to the intersection with Chambers Road and Roosevelt Road in Upper Freehold, $375,000.
I know there is much speculation recently on the integrity of the Assessment Demonstration Project and I want everyone to know that we hear you and we will support your inquiries. Earlier this year, I along with my fellow members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders asked Matt Clark, Monmouth County’s Tax Administrator, to hold a meeting for all the municipalities to explain the details of the Assessment Demonstration Project. It was our understanding that attendees left feeling more comfortable with what they heard and understood the benefits of the program. As a result of the close working relationships we have throughout the County, numerous Mayors have contacted the Freeholders with concerns over the uncertainty of this program and the recent negative media coverage surrounding it. While we all did our best to alleviate those concerns, we also understand the difficult position it puts most of them in. After the events the past few weeks, without making judgements on the program, its administrator or county tax board members, we believe it may be best to put this program on hold until all questions are answered and the Mayors can explain the long term tax benefit to the residents of Monmouth County . It is our hope that the timeline of January 1 will remain intact while these issues are vetted, as it gives the municipalities the ability to budget for the following year’s tax appeals. It is our hope that you continue to stay informed and aware of the tax assessment program through your municipality or at the County level.
After a very long period time and with many notable road blocks and obstacles, I, along with a great team of my colleagues, including Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11), and Neptune Committeeman Randy Bishop, am so happy to announce that the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT’s) Office of Maritime Resources has awarded the bid to complete the Shark River dredging project. The project’s contract was awarded to Mobile Pumping & Dredging Co., of Chester, PA.
This huge step forward is a result of years of work coordinating with the many agencies that have authority over this project. After being involved in this project for more than fifteen years as Mayor of Neptune City and now as a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, I am personally very happy to see this project finally begin. I have worked with other officials throughout the years whom were also very passionate about this project, including Tom Catley, former Mayor of Neptune Township, as well as other past mayors of the surrounding towns and those in office today. The County has long continued to work cooperatively with these local officials, as well as state and government agencies to move this dredging project forward.
This is a large project, with approximately 106,000 cubic yards of material to be dredged. With cooperation from the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, which is able to accept and reuse the dredged material, and the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders providing funding, we have made this project a reality. Not one part of the Shark River project was easy or simple, but we found a way to accomplish this.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but summer has slipped away before our eyes. While the calendar does not officially declare autumn until September 23, the unofficial end of the season is Labor Day, when our beaches officially close, lifeguard towers are put away and the school doors open. As most of us locals know, some of the best beach and park days are still ahead of us, as September and October provide us with the perfect weather to continue to enjoy these gems we are lucky enough to call home.
The 2015 summer tourism season went extremely well, as we were blessed with great weather – modest temperatures and very little rain; in addition both the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays provided us with an extra two weeks of the season.
I am extremely happy to hear that most beach towns are providing initial reports that badge sales were up over last year, with some reporting the 2015 season as a record year. Asbury Park has already reported that beach badge sales were up 21% over last year and Belmar has already exceeded their final total number from 2014. Spring Lake officials have reported that beaches have been crowded all season and the shops on 3rd Avenue are doing record business. Long Branch not only reported record crowds at Ocean Fest, but has continued to experience a packed beach and boardwalk all summer, with all Pier Village shops and restaurants doing very well.
NHL Star Trevor VanRiemsdyk, a CBA graduate, brought the Stanley Club to Middletown on July 30th
What an exciting few weeks for Monmouth County! We are making history and people around the region are taking notice. The weather has been incredible – which means our beaches, restaurants and attractions are packed and in turn, economic rewards for the community.
We even got a visit from the Stanley Cup. Trevor VanRiemsdyk, a defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks and Middletown native, attended a ceremony in his honor at Middletown Arts Center on July 30. Hundreds of fans from the area turned out for this exciting event, where Mayor Stephanie Murray awarded Trevor a key to the city, and myself, along with my fellow Freeholders, dedicated the day in his honor, marking Thursday, July 30, 2015, as Trevor VanRiemsdyk Day.
And let’s not forget history making at the William Haskell Invitational. With a record setting crowd at Monmouth Racetrack, nearly 61,000 people came out to see triple crown winner, American Pharaoh. Officials said that is was the largest crowd in the 145-year-old racetrack’s history, with the previous single day attendance record, 53,638, set at the Haskell in 2013. We can now say that Monmouth Park, rich in its own traditions, is part of national horse racing history as well.