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Freeholder Board Introduces $73M in New Bonds

Money would fund land acquisition and improvements to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center and Brookdale Community College, among other projects.

A series of bond ordinances introduced by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders would allocate over $76 million for capital improvements and land acquisition.

The governing body introduced the five ordinances, which include $73 million in new bonds, by a 4-0 vote during a regular meeting at Atlantic Highlands Borough Hall on Thursday, April 26. Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas Arnone was absent from the voting meeting, though he participated in discussion of the ordinances during the afternoon workshop session.

“It will affect the budget but it should minimally affect the budget, because as we’re paying debt off each year, we’re adding debt on and we try to keep it relatively level,” said Craig R. Marshall, finance director for Monmouth County. “With us not selling debt last year, it eliminated a layer in our planning process.”

Monmouth County did not pass any new bond ordinances in 2011.

The proposed ordinances includes $21 million for land acquisition under the county’s Open Space Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund; $8.5 million for infrastructure improvements to Brookdale Community College; $2.5 million for infrastructure improvements to the Monmouth County Vocational School District; $9.7 million for improvements to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center; and $34.3 million for infrastructure improvements throughout the county.

Marshall said the land acquisition bond ordinance will allow the county to take advantage of the current real estate market to purchase land at a lower cost. 

“With the prices on land being very favorable right now because of the economy, it will bring an influx of cash into the fund which will allow us to purchase additional land up front,” Marshall said.

The Brookdale Community College ordinance will help fund nine projects at the college, including the Wall campus expansion, energy efficiency upgrades, and the replacement of windows at the Western Monmouth campus. The state will reimburse the county for $4.25 million of the bond, Marshall said.

The Monmouth County Reclamation Center bond will fund a $6 million facility improvement to connect the center to the Neptune Sewage Authority for leachate treatment, Marshall said. The county currently spends approximately $4 million per year in transporting leachate, he noted. The remainder of the bond will go toward equipment purchases.

The bond ordinance funding $34.4 million for various county infrastructure projects will allot $22.9 million for bridge improvements; $9.5 for building and ground improvements to various county-owned buildings; $1.5 million in park improvements; $205,000 for technology upgrades for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; and $158,000 for equipment purchases for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.

The freeholder board will hold a public hearing on the bond ordinances before voting on the proposals during its regular meeting on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the building in Freehold.

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