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 »

The Arnone Report

By Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Tom Arone

The Monmouth County “Made in Monmouth” Expo is rapidly approaching. It is an annual event showcasing products exclusively produced in Monmouth County. “Made in Monmouth” is a free event for both vendors and visitors; its purpose is to encourage people to shop local. To date 142 vendors are confirmed registered. The products sold at this event, made right here in the county are creative and nothing less than amazing. I am also happy to report that we are partnering with the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean counties this year to conduct a food drive at the event. We are asking our vendors as well as people that are attending to bring a donation of canned or dried food for the Food Bank. The third annual “Made in Monmouth” is Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the MAC Building at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. For more information, please call 732-431-7470.

On March 27, 2014, Verizon recognized the student team from Biotechnology High School, Freehold, one of Monmouth County’s premier high schools, for their achievement of Best in State, Best in Region and National Best Educational Application Concept status in the 2013 Verizon Application Challenge. It was an honor for me to be present at the recent ceremony as the student team received this recognition. The Board of Chosen Freeholders is extremely proud of the students at Biotechnology H.S. on this accomplishment and commends their efforts in achieving such high accolades.MadeInMonmouth

On behalf of The Board of Chosen Freeholders and as liaison to the Department of Shared Services, I recently hosted and participated in a meeting at the Monmouth County Connection in Neptune to assist Middletown in their exploration of creating an animal shelter to service Monmouth County municipalities. Many municipalities are facing serious capacity and public health issues in this area as well as heavy annual increases in service costs which are greatly reducing their ability to meet other service needs in the community. Middletown contacted the county to assist in bringing together as many towns as possible to discuss this issue, engage the towns for their ideas and input and strategize on how to address these common issues together. The meeting went extremely well and the towns that attended were very appreciative of both Middletown’s and the County’s efforts. There was very high interest in moving forward and approximately 30 towns expressed interest in our initial outreach.

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Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , , | No 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 »

The Arnone Report

By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

We continue to promote small businesses within Monmouth County. The Façade Improvement Program initiative not only took off but was a huge success for many local businesses. As liaison to the department of Economic Development, and on behalf of the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders, I had the pleasure of presenting another façade improvement grant to the owners of the Freehold Borough Subway this week. They used the funds to put gooseneck lighting over their sign on Main Street in Freehold.  As of this writing, all funds in the Façade Improvement program have been awarded. We are encouraging businesses to submit applications for our waiting list. If the businesses that have been approved decide not to move forward with the grant, we will take the next business off the waiting list.

The second Grow Monmouth Roundtable took place this past week in Hazlet. We had a large number of businesses attend and the discussion was helpful to the municipality, county and the businesses. I want to thank the governing body of Hazlet for partnering with us on this meeting. Our next roundtable is scheduled to be held in Manalapan on March 19th.

 

Additionally, on March 31st, as liaison to the Department of Tourism, I will be meeting with the mayors and tourism leaders of our coastal communities who are members of the Monmouth County Tourism Advisory Group. The group will discuss tourism promotion and plans for the upcoming season. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the County Connection in Neptune.

Lastly, after further study and investigation it has recently been determined that Shark River Park is no longer an economically viable option to be a temporary Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) for drying the Shark River’s dredge materials. The New Jersey Department of Transportation conducted a preliminary internal engineering and fiscal opinion of probable costs (OPC) of the potential project. The results of the OPC demonstrate the construction of the CDF at Shark River Park and the dredging and placement of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material from Shark River far exceeds the State’s monetary allotment for the project. Consequently, the use of Shark River Park as a temporary CDF is not economically feasible. Although this new development is unfortunate, we will continue to work with all interested parties to dredge the Shark River and ensure its survival as a regional source for recreational activity, economic growth and ecological attraction.

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | 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 »

The Arnone Report

By Freeholder Tom Arnone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

As reported last week, The Board of Chosen Freeholders have begun pairing up with the local municipalities and conducting Business Roundtables as a means of helping small businesses promote themselves within Monmouth County. As liaison to the Department of Economic Development, I attended the first of these roundtables which took place in the Borough of Matawan. I partnered with Matawan Mayor Paul Buccellato to host the first Grow Monmouth Business Roundtable event. The department of economic development identified and invited businesses from Matawan to join us to discuss what makes doing business in Matawan great and what can be improved. The mayor and I were joined by Assemblyman Rob Clifton and Senator Sam Thompson. I am very pleased to report that 35 people were in attendance representing some 27 businesses. In the next couple of weeks we will be hosting roundtables in the Township of Hazlet and also in the Borough of Manalapan.

In keeping with promoting small businesses within MonmouthCounty, our third annual Made in Monmouth event has been scheduled for Saturday, April 12th. We are again partnering with MonmouthUniversity for the event. We encourage all businesses that make a consumer product in the county to show and sell their products, free of charge, at the event. Made in Monmouth is open to the public free of charge. We invite everyone to attend and to take advantage of the opportunity to buy the multitude of great products that will be available.

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Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Arnone Report

Freeholder Director Tom Arone

Freeholder Tom Arone

By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder

 

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders continues to support and promote the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program. The program makes grant funds available to help improve the look of privately held commercial buildings throughout Monmouth County. The façade improvement program which is the newest initiative under our Grow Monmouth program uses HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Community Development Block Grant funds that were de-obligated by grantees to help privately held commercial buildings, located in HUD eligible areas, improve their business façades. Representatives from the county’s department of economic/development recently assisted me during a presentation for the façade improvement program that was given to the Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce. In the next few days there will be a check presentation to Jim Smith, owner of Smittex Sportswear in Keansburg who will be utilizing the funds towards the purchase of a new awning. Mr. Smith will be receiving $1,845.00 for the purchase of the awning. For more information about the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program please contact the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com.

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Posted: February 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , | No 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 »

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.

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