By Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season! It’s hard to believe the first day of winter is right around the corner when it feels like we just celebrated the end of summer!
As liaison to the department of public works and engineering, I want to ensure everyone that our employees have been preparing for any potential storms during the upcoming winter season. We have the best crews around who all have the same goal in mind – to keep our residents safe during any inclement weather. Our number one priority always has been and always will be safety
Speaking of our public work and engineering departments, I am pleased to report that we will be receiving an additional $10.3 million in State funded grants from the FY2021 Transportation Trust Fund. At our November 24th Freeholder Meeting, my fellow Freeholders and I passed resolutions for two bridge projects; the Reconstruction of Bridge MT-24 on County Route 12A (Navesink River Road) in Middletown Township and the Reconstruction of Bridge R-3(Broadway) over Chingarora Creek which connects the Boroughs of Keyport and Union Beach.
Both of these bridge reconstruction projects, which total over $11 million, are entirely funded by NJDOT grants, with minor program exceptions of approximately $170,000.00 for non-participating items. As you can see, we are putting these State funded grants to good use which help boost our economy by creating jobs and keeping our infrastructure in good repair.
Additionally, the County has been awarded $28 million through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s (NJTPA) Local Safety and High Risk Rural Roads programs for the 2020 Fiscal Year. Monmouth County submitted applications for three County roadway safety improvement projects in January 2020. The County was approved for the award during the NJTPA Board Meeting on Nov. 9.
The NJTPA award will allow Monmouth County to undertake the safety improvements for three County roadway segments, which are highly traveled rural roads by our residents and visitors. Roadway projects will start in 2022 through the NJTPA Design Assistance Program and advance to construction as the design efforts are completed. The three County roadway safety improvement projects awarded funding include: County Route 40A (Memorial Drive) Corridor in Neptune Township and Boroughs of Neptune City, Bradley Beach and Avon-By-The-Sea, County Route 524 (Stage Coach Road) in Millstone and Upper Freehold Township, County Route 527 (Siloam Road) in Freehold Township.
Receiving the federal funding for the County infrastructure improvement projects is tremendous for our communities. The awarded money from the NJTPA will help reduce the overall cost of the projects and save taxpayer dollars, keep property taxes in check and help boost our economy by creating jobs.
On a separate note, on Tuesday, December 8, the County started operating our mobile testing, which will take place twice per week, specifically for healthcare workers and first responders. We are incredibly grateful to all of our frontline workers and all that they do to keep Monmouth County residents safe and healthy and we want to do whatever we can to support them.
The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) will administer the tests and perform contact tracing for anyone who tests positive. MCHD will continue to operate the County’s COVID-19 testing for all County residents four days per week.
The mobile testing will be offered in four towns: Ocean Township, Manalapan, Middletown and Wall. The sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there will be 100 tests available at each site.
The times and locations for all COVID-19 testing sites will be posted on www.visitmonmouth.comas well as the County’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Lastly, I want to give an update on our Monmouth County CARES Act Grant for Small Businesses. Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for up to $20,000 in grant money for COVID-19 expenses.
To date, we have approved more than 3,753 applications and dispersed more than $28 million. I strongly encourage all small businesses and nonprofits to take advantage of this as soon as possible. The CARES Act funding must be used by the end of this month and so there are only a few weeks to submit applications in time to process payments.
Small businesses and nonprofits can apply at www.MonmouthCountyCares.com or call 732-375-2196.
As always, it’s a privilege to serve as your Freeholder.