PHOTO: 2016 Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone is administered the director’s oath of office by Superior Court Judge Patricia Del Bueno Cleary at Monmouth County’s 2016 Organization Day on Jan. 6, 2016 at Biotechnology High School in Freehold Township. Arnone previously served as freeholder director in 2013.
FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Freeholders Thomas A. Arnone and Serena DiMaso became, respectively, Freeholder Director and Deputy Director at the Board’s 2016 organization meeting held on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Biotechnology High School.
“I look forward to the year ahead and working to make 2016 a successful year in Monmouth County,” said Director Arnone. “I am proud to serve as the Director of a Freeholder Board whose members are truly devoted to making Monmouth County the best county in the State of New Jersey.”
Prior to the selection of the Board leadership, Freeholder John P. Curley and Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon were sworn into office.
Curley was sworn into his third term as freeholder by Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie Peters. Hanlon, who was elected to a five-year term as clerk, was issued the oath of office by Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley. Hanlon was appointed to the constitutional position in April following the retirement of longtime County Clerk M. Claire French.
“I consider it the ultimate privilege to serve as County Clerk in a place I love so dearly, our beautiful Monmouth County,” said Hanlon. “Over the next 5 years, I look forward to continuing the work I started prior to my election – to expand services to our residents, making them more convenient through our Mobile County Connection initiative, to improve and enhance our online presence to make services and historical records more accessible and expand our veteran’s discount ID program.”
Following a business meeting that appointed the freeholder and citizen members to more than a dozen County boards and commissions, each of the freeholders delivered remarks that acknowledged 2015 accomplishments and offered a look at what is ahead for Monmouth County in 2016.
“Dredging of the Shark River will continue in 2016,” said Director Arnone. “It took 17 years of hard work and negotiations, but we are on our way to returning this beautiful waterway into a viable recreation and economic resource. Thank you to our partners at the NJDOT and NJ DEP, Sen. Jen Beck and mayors from the surrounding towns.”
“The Shark River project proves persistence pays off and that we can affect change and get things done in Monmouth County,” said Arnone. “We owe it to our residents and businesses to do the best we can in a financially responsible manner. I support a tax decrease and rewarding our taxpayers for bearing the burden of the care center deficit for years.”
Arnone also spoke about the Grown in Monmouth initiative that will kick-off later this month. Following the success of the Made in Monmouth, events that showcase and help businesses sell products made in the County, Grown in Monmouth will focus on the agricultural industry and provide an opportunity to showcase what’s Jersey Fresh in Monmouth County.
Arnone proposed another way to improve the County’s economy is by lowering the threshold by which Project Labor Agreements (PLA) are triggered. “By lowering the PLA threshold to $3 million, from $5 million, we will put more Monmouth County union trades people to work and keep tax dollars in Monmouth County,” said Arnone.
Director Arnone also discussed a project close to his heart which is providing access to services for adults with special needs. “Many individuals with special needs are ineligible for programs when they turn 21 years of age. We need to provide a facility for them to continue to thrive in a safe environment, close to home. Such a facility would provide programming, services, therapies and life skills training while giving the families who care for them piece of mind.”
Freeholder Deputy Director DiMaso lauded recent improvements at the County’s Reclamation Center that will save approximately $2.2 million a year; the new leachate treatment facility will remove trucks form the roads and improve the operation of the solid waste facility. DiMaso also addressed the changes to the newly named Mosquito Control Advisory Board, formerly known as the mosquito extermination commission.
“The County’s mosquito control efforts marked its 100th year of service last year with a recommitment to their mission and a name change,” said DiMaso. “By integrating the new Mosquito Control division and its Advisory Board into County government, we have combined like services and employee tasks. This busy and important team responded to more than 700 calls and was awarded a $77,000 community block grant to further enhance mosquito surveillance.”
Freeholder Burry spoke about acceleration of the transformation of the former Fort Monmouth site and efforts to restore and preserve Fort Hancock. She also reconfirmed her commitment to creating a homeless Veterans community at Fort Monmouth.
“2016 will also be the year we expand our commitment to the industry of agriculture as we work to build our history and help farmers reinvent their businesses as new opportunities and markets arise,” said Burry. “We will also maintain our strong commitment to the equine industry in which Monmouth County maintains is proud position leadership.”
Freeholder Curley thanked voters for their support and promised to continue his commitment to shared services and privatization as a way to reduce the cost of government on taxpayers. Curley highlighted the accomplishments of the County’s Health Department, Veterans Services Office, SCAT program and the Division of Planning and Contracting in helping residents in need, while also emphasizing that there are still thousands of residents who seek the social services and assistance from the County’s Department of Human Services.
“There are nearly 50,000 active cases being handled by the Division of Social Services,” said Curley. “In the upcoming year, I would like to see further support for our Social Service programs, create more job consolidation and outsource programs where possible to benefit both the residents in need and the taxpayers of Monmouth County.”
All of the Freeholders thanked County staff and administration for their hard work during the past year. They also expressed their thanks to Freeholder Gary J. Rich, Sr. for his leadership as director of the 2015 Freeholder Board.
“I am truly grateful for the talented individuals who work for Monmouth County and know that my year as Director would not have been as successful without all of you,” said Rich. “I look forward to achieving great things in 2016 and bringing some of the projects that we began in 2015 to fruition, including assisting with dredging and seeing construction of a secondary outfall pipe at Wreck Pond to mitigate local flooding—an issue the County has been involved in for well over a decade.”
Among the 2015 County accomplishments listed by the Freeholders were:
- Completion of the Sheriff’s Public Safety Center
- Completion of the second phase and final phase of the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center
- Coastal waterway improvements with dredging at the Shark River and Wreck Pond
- The 2015 tourism season was strong and the Freeholders are committed to promoting all the great places to see, enjoy and stay in 2016
- Shared services were strong especially last winter with the County providing snow removal services, liquid salt brine and salt treated with magnesium chloride to towns through contractual arrangements
- Secured nearly $34 million in grant funding for critical transportation infrastructure improvements
- Maintaining the County’s AAA bond rating with all three major ratings agencies
Set to be completed in 2016 are the completion of the new West Front Street Bridge between Middletown and Red Bank; advancement of the Shark River dredging project; continuing the facade improvement program and completion of the County’s Master Plan.
Director Arnone also discussed another project close to his heart which is providing access to services for adults with special needs. “Many individuals with special needs are ineligible for programs when they turn 21 years of age. We need to provide a facility for them to continue to thrive in a safe environment, close to home. Such a facility would provide programming, services, therapies, and life skills training while giving the families who care for them piece of mind.”
The Freeholders made a number of citizen member appointments to various County boards and commissions that included:
- Addiction Services (three year term) –Therese Hendrickson of Freehold, Fran Miceli of Brielle, Andrij Rudko of Holmdel and Norman Salt of Belford.
- Agriculture Development Board – Regular members (three year term) – Charles Buscaglia of Freehold, Patricia Butch of Millstone, Gary DeFelice of Red Bank and William Potter of Middletown. Alternate members (one year terms – Ross Clayton of Freehold and David Dill of Middletown.
- Construction Board of Appeals – Regular member (four year term) – Richard Hogan of Manalapan; Alternate member (four year term) – Edward Reed of Clarksburg.
- Environmental Council (three year term) – Michael Fedosh of Middletown, Ebru Altinsoy of Asbury Park and Barbara Horl of Red Bank.
- Fair Housing Board – Regular member (five year term) – Reverend Joseph Thelusca of Neptune and Joyce Quarles of Long Branch.
- Board of Health (three year term) – Ann Marie Buontempo of Holmdel.
- Historical Commission (three year term) – Maureen O’Connor-Leach of Freehold and Robert Schoeffling of Atlantic Highlands.
- Human Services Advisory Council – Regular members (three year term) – Gwen Love of Howell and Patricia Carlesimo of Rumson.
- Improvement Authority (five year term) – Gregory Buontempo of Holmdel.
- Library Commission (five year term) – James S. Gray of Manalapan.
- Planning Board – Regular members (three year term) – Charles Casagrande of Spring Lake, Paul Kiernan of Long Branch and John A. Mele of Cream Ridge; Alternate members (one year term) –Marcy McMullen of Holmdel and James C. Schatzle of Colts Neck.
- Board of Recreation Commissioners (five year term) – Michael Harmon of Atlantic Highlands and Violeta Peters of Long Branch.
- Shade Tree Commission (five year term) – Thomas E. Ritchie of Freehold.
- Transportation Council – Regular members (three year term) – Peter Doyle of Atlantic Highlands, Barry Frost of Millstone and Thomas Hennessey of Colts Neck. Alternate member (one year term) – Dina Long of Sea Bright and Edmund Thompson of Ocean Grove.
- Youth Services Commission (three year term) – Trude Arnette of Freehold, William Bucco as Monmouth County Representative, Robert A. Coogan, Esq. of Wall, Victoria E. Dean of Marlboro, Jennifer Hoffer of Freehold, Chanta L. Jackson of Neptune, Sergeant Chris Kucinski of Spring Lake, Rosemarie Marinan-Gabriel as Courthouse Representative and Cee Okuzo of Ocean.
For additional information about Monmouth County and the Board of Chosen Freeholders, visit the County’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com.