Our Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program continues to be popular. We are still accepting applications and approving projects to help businesses improve the look of their building. We could not be more pleased with how the program is going. As part of the Grow Monmouth Initiative this past weekend there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of Little Dog Brewing, a microbrewery located on Steiner Avenue in Neptune City. Along with Mayor Brown, I was happy to attend and cut the ribbon at the brewery’s opening. The Grow Monmouth Business Roundtables will be continuing after the holidays. I look forward to getting back out to discuss the needs of Monmouth County’s business community.
We continue to assist our municipalities with ensuring the safety of Monmouth County and its residents. A few ways in which this is accomplished is through the upkeep of county roads as well as the upkeep of traffic signals. There was a traffic signal activation ceremony conducted a few days ago at the intersection of County Route 40A (Memorial Drive) and Evergreen Avenue in the Boroughs of Neptune City and Bradley Beach. The Activation Ceremony marked the completion of this much anticipated project. As liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering, I am happy to have been able to be a part of it from its inception through fruition.
Neptune City and Middletown have completed their shared services agreements for the MOD 4 property tax assessment shared service. With these final two additions, we now have all 53 towns in Monmouth County participating. Monmouth County has taken the lead in reorganizing the tax assessment process which will allow towns to more accurately budget based upon earlier and more frequent evaluations. This will potentially save towns millions in lost revenues as they will now know exactly what their revenues will be before solidifying their budget rather than having to adjust later in the year based upon property tax challenges. Additionally, Middlesex County has joined our Document Summary Management System Shared Service (DSMS). The DSMS is yet another example of Monmouth County’s leadership in shared services. We are now partnering with other county’s allowing them to utilize the state of the art systems we have built in Monmouth County.
The Monmouth County Tourism Advisory Group met recently to give updates and discuss how their summer season went. The NJ Repertoire Company located in Long Branch reported sold out weekends the entire summer. Sea Girt reported that the town experienced an 8% growth in beach badge sales. Both Asbury Park and Long Branch reported beach revenues that were the highest they have ever had. In addition, Asbury Park reported their events were very well attended and as a result the shops and restaurants reported having done well. The new parking meters in Long Branch brought in over $700K. Staybridge Suites reported they were sold out all but one weekend this summer. Highlands added $50,000 of improvements to the town and also stated events were well attended. Lastly, Belmar had an excellent beach season with beach revenues topping last year, and reported that their events were very successful and the downtown businesses did well. Additionally, for the first time ever three Monmouth County Bed and Breakfasts are ranked in the top five Bed and Breakfasts at the Jersey Shore on Trip Advisor. The Saltwater Inn, located in Belmar is ranked #2; The Sea Spray Inn, in Ocean Grove is ranked #3; and the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn is ranked #5. The Trip Advisor site is used by visitors to help them decide where to stay when they are planning their vacation or getaway.
Thomas A. Arnone, Freeholder Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders