By Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
Happy May! I hope everyone was able to enjoy the outdoors during the warm weather last week. After this rainy and cold spring, I am looking forward to the summer months ahead.
I know I always say that it has been a busy couple of weeks but it truly has been. I’d like to take some time to share with you what I have been up to and a few important dates to come.
First of all, I’d like to thank all of the municipalities that are participating in the annual Paint the Town Pink campaign. For those unfamiliar with the campaign, its mission is to raise awareness of the importance of getting an annual mammography and women’s wellness.
The County participates in this initiative each year and just this week my fellow Freeholders and I were able to honor a breast cancer survivor during our meeting. It is truly inspiring to hear stories from those fighting this disease and from those who are survivors. Not only are they determined to raise awareness, they are also determined to support those who are fighting and their families.
On a separate note but in keeping with County business, we are currently finalizing our 2018 capital budget. I expect it should be approved within the next month. As always, we are continuing to find new ways to cut costs and create an even more efficient government that allows our residents to maintain the same high quality of life they deserve.
I had an opportunity to discuss the County’s successful shared services program recently during the annual New Jersey Conference of Mayors event in Atlantic City. During the conference, I served on a panel with mayors and state legislators where we were able to discuss local, county and state issues. It was during this panel that I explained how our shared services program has served as a cost saving measure for municipalities and, in return, our taxpayers. I look forward to working with other counties around the state that are interested in starting their own shared services program.
I will be discussing our shared services program again, as well as our economic development division’s initiatives, during the New Jersey Association of Counties event this Thursday in Atlantic City. During this presentation, I will be discussing our Grow Monmouth, Grown in Monmouth and Made in Monmouth initiatives that were put in place years ago to help our small business community. I’m proud of these programs and am happy to announce we’re receiving more interest from new businesses every day who wish to partner with our initiatives.
I was able to discuss our Grown in Monmouth initiative, alongside Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry, during a recent Grown in Monmouth meeting with more than 60 participants. This included restaurant owners and chefs, farmers and distributors. I’m pleased to say many new connections were made so that our local restaurants will be able to source more Grown in Monmouth produce to feature on their menus.
On another note, I am pleased to announce the East End Avenue Bridge between Neptune and Neptune City will reopen ahead of schedule at 10 a.m. on May 17th. The Freeholders selected this Monmouth County project to be one of the many bridge projects financed with funding the County lobbied to obtain from the State’s Transportation Trust Fund.
Last Friday, May 4th, the Glimmer Glass Bridge on Brielle Road between Brielle and Manasquan reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The bridge was closed in November 2017 after a scheduled routine maintenance identified the need for structural repairs, which are now completed.
Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone that our annual summer kick-off press conference will be held at 11 a.m. on Main Beach in Manasquan on Monday, May 21. This is always a fun event to kick off the summer season here in Monmouth County.
As always, it’s a pleasure and honor to serve as your Freeholder Director.