By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
While I could say the last few weeks have been very busy, the truth of the matter is that the County stays busy around the year with ongoing projects and initiatives.
Earlier this month, I had the honor of joining Middletown Mayor Tony Perry and the Middletown Committee, as well as, Congressman Chris Smith at a press conference hosted by Middletown to launch their Economic Relief Program to assist their small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Over the next few weeks, small businesses in Middletown will be able to apply for grants of up to $15,000 to help cover losses due to the pandemic. I want to commend Mayor Perry and the Middletown Committee for launching this vital program which has been modeled after the Monmouth County CARES Act grant program. I am confident that Middletown will see the same success as the County has.
Speaking of the Monmouth County CARES grant program, I want to remind our small business community that there is still Monmouth County CARES Act grant money available! Please visit www.monmouthcountycares.com for more information or to apply for the grant.
The application is relatively simple and all you need is your tax return to get started. To date, we have received more than 2,560 applications and dispersed more than $17 million.
Additionally, last week I hosted a press conference alongside Deputy Director Sue Kiley and County Clerk Christine Hanlon to announce “The Show must go on in Monmouth,” a new initiative created to support the arts, and provided COVID-19.
Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon, along with a commissioner from the Monmouth County Board of Elections, updated Monmouth County voters about the State-mandated General Election process and encouraged voters who have not yet received their mail-in ballot to contact the County Clerk’s Election Office as soon as possible
Throughout this pandemic, the County has done everything in our power to support our small businesses, including advocating for them to the State and created the Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant Program. Now, we want to do everything we can for our performing arts venues in Monmouth County.
Through “The Show must go on in Monmouth” initiative, the 19 performing arts venues in Monmouth County are going to be able to submit for reimbursement for expenses related to expenses they have, or will incur in order to safely open their doors again to patrons.
The County will be reaching out directly to every one of the performing arts venues to coordinate their submissions. The only thing I would ask these venues to do is to make a list, if they haven’t already, of everything that they anticipate they will need—or have already bought—in order to ensure that they can safely reopen their doors and put on the show once again!
Speaking of our arts community, last Thursday I attended Count Basie’s Re-Opening night at their new venue “The Vogel” with a performance by Grace Potter. As stated before, our arts community has taken a big hit during the pandemic and it is important, now more than ever, to support them. I want to commend Count Basie for their efforts and success in complying with the social distancing and other COVID-19 safety guidelines. I am looking forward to many more shows in the future!
On a separate note, last week I attended and participated in an event to announce that the Lakewood Blue Claws have changed their name to the Jersey Shore Blue Claws.We’ll be rooting for the Jersey Shore’s home team once baseball returns! Sheriff Golden and I had the privilege to throw out the first pitch at a game last year and we’re eager to see the team and fans return to the stadium soon.
Lastly, I want to encourage residents to continue to support our restaurants and other small businesses as the colder weather continues to creep in. Fall is one of the best times to visit Monmouth County and our restaurants, downtowns and stores have a lot to offer to our residents and visitors long past the last warm beach day. Please continue to support our small businesses however you can!
To find fun Fall activities in Monmouth County, you can visit www.growninmonmouth.com .
As always, it’s a privilege to serve as your Freeholder.