By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
I hope everyone had a great weekend here in Monmouth County!
I would like to provide an update of different projects and initiatives taking place throughout Monmouth County.
As you may be aware, a few weeks ago my fellow Freeholders and I announced that the County will allocate $10 million from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act to supplement the Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV).The funding will be utilized to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses with up to 50 employees.
Last Thursday, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted unanimously on a resolution to award a contract to Solix, Inc. to provide professional grant administration and program management services for the small business grant program. Solix possesses the professional experience and qualifications needed for these services and they have guaranteed a 20-day turnaround time to get the application up and running. Meaning, we expect to have the applications ready by Thursday, July 30.
Over the next few weeks, I would suggest that our small business owners gather their paperwork for any COVID-19 related expenses their business has incurred. This includes receipts, utility bills, mortgage interest or rent payments, etc.
Once the applications are live, I will be reaching back out to those who have provided their email address to my office to provide them with the link and any details they will need to begin the process. If you would like to have your email added to the list please email me at [email protected]. I want to thank all our small business owners for being a part of Monmouth County’s small business community, which is the backbone of our economy.
Speaking of grants, Monmouth County has recently been awarded $125,000 through the New Jersey LEAP (Local Efficiency Achievement Program) Challenge Grant to expand its nationally-recognized, award-winning Community Rating System (CRS) Assistance Program. The LEAP Challenge Grant will be applied to develop the first-ever regional shared service in New Jersey between a county and its CRS towns and/or CRS-aspiring communities with new management software.
The County’s proposal was to provide communities of every size and capacity with the technical assistance needed to reduce time, cost and effort in managing CRS programs, which serve to improve flood mitigation and readiness. Although the County has made great strides in helping towns advance CRS programs, participation is voluntary, and the program continues to be an administrative and financial burden for many communities.
I would like to thank the State Department of Community Affairs for their thorough evaluation of the County’s shared services and the grant awarded, which will be used to implement the Monmouth County CRS Management Software pilot program.
On another note, last week my fellow Freeholders and I, along with Sheriff Shaun Golden and County Clerk Christine Hanlon held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of the West Wing Security Vestibule, which will incorporate the latest security innovation to enable the Sheriff’s Office to safely and efficiently screen all building occupants, at the Monmouth County Courthouse.
We are very proud to break ground on this important construction project. Ensuring the safety of everyone who goes in and out of the Monmouth County Courthouse is absolutely essential and the construction of this new security vestibule will help make that possible. I am looking forward to the completion of this building, which is anticipated to be by the winter of 2022.
Lastly, I had a great interview with the Star Ledger for their annual summer travel guide. I discussed how Monmouth County and our shore Mayors prepared for the influx of visitors during this unprecedented time. We’re continuing to work together to ensure social-distancing guidelines are being followed for everyone’s safety. Please remember to “KnowBeforeYouGo” and check out how to buy a beach badge before you leave your home to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to our part of the Jersey Shore.
As always, it is a pleasure to serve as Freeholder Director. I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of residents and businesses!
Thomas A. Arnone