FREEHOLD, NJ - After being sworn in by Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry stepped down from the director's position and is entering her tenth year on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders. At the reorganization meeting Tuesday, Jan. 6, Mrs. Burry said:
Today I begin my tenth year of service as a Monmouth County Freeholder. Every year we Freeholders have the opportunity to stand before you and present goals and great expectations for the year ahead. Then reality happens and events that no one planned for shape the true course of our actions. No one planned for a great national recession. No one thought we'd see the closing of Fort Monmouth or imagined the devastation of super storm Sandy. But we have had to deal with all of them and whatever else we may have wanted to do, we have had to make sure that Monmouth County was an island of stability in an increasingly turbulent world.
We made sure our finances were stable to secure our triple A bond rating and the ability to borrow at the most favorable rates that we could share with our towns and school districts. We also preserved County services, recognizing that in difficult times the need for them would only grow. And we did this while controlling County taxes to keep money in the pockets of our taxpayers when they needed it the most. These have been nine challenging years. But they have been years of accomplishment as well. We have built the Child Advocacy Center - a project dear to my heart - and a home for the County Prosecutor as wellThis past year we saw the completion of the "State of the Art" 911 building.W e have increased our open space holdings to almost 17,000 acres and saved almost 14,000 acres of farmland. Our exceptional County Library System has evolved into a true community center. We have been working hard and as we look to 2015 we have more to be accomplished.
From the beginning I have been part of the Fort Monmouth Redevelopment and this is a year when we will see more tangible progress, as Comvault moves ahead with its new headquarters and additional projects are announced, such as the Marina in Oceanport and Acute care opens its doors; the Town Center in Eatontown and the fully operational County Recreation facility in Tinton Falls.
One component that I have pledged myself to "the Homeless Veteran's Community" which has been very slow in coming. Any individual who has worn a uniform to protect our Nation shouldn't be on the street. But they are! I want to see a program that transitions veterans from emergency shelter to permanent housing while receiving physical and mental health care services and job training and employment assistance. This is my unwavering commitment. I have also been part of the Fort Hancock restoration effort and this year we will see more of the Officers Row houses being restored and a new vitality being born with them. This will also be the year of a new comprehensive Master Plan for Monmouth County - only the third in our history - and it will be a uniquely powerful resource for our municipalities, school districts,
businesses and residents. It will both better inform decision making and provide valuable insights into many areas of County Life. With a new dedicated source of funding we will continue and expand our efforts to preserve the increasingly scarce open lands that protect our vital water supplies, provide natural habitats and offer recreational opportunities for our residents. We will also work to save more of our vanishing farmland. We have seen over 100,000 acres - more than a third of the County - consumed over the last 60 years.
As you can see, this is a busy agenda I have set for myself. But these are all important tasks that will make the lives of our people better. Resources will be protected. Jobs will be created. Government will be both strengthened and made more accessible and transparent. These are not dreams or things I hope will happen. These are things that we will do. This is what government is about and the belief in this is why I am standing here today.