For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2012
 

April is National County Government Month

Freeholders promote ‘Healthy Counties, Healthy Families’

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County is celebrating National County Government Month during the month of April and is highlighting county government programs and services to the public. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Health Counties, Healthy Families.”

“County government plays an important role in the life of your family and community – keeping records, building and maintaining roads and providing a human services safety net,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said. “This year the county is putting April’s county government month efforts into a countywide food drive in our offices and branch libraries.”

Non-perishable, protein-rich foods such as peanut butter, granola bars and tuna fish are examples of items suitable for donation in the Food Drive of Monmouth County that will benefit the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. 

The primary collection points are the 13 county library branches, including the Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury and the Library Headquarters in Manalapan. Collection bins are also in the Hall of Records in Freehold and the Agriculture and Human Services buildings in Freehold Township. 

“As an incentive, the libraries are offering to erase fines for overdue materials in exchange for donations of food,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county Library System. “Our hope is that library patrons return their overdue items and settle their late fees with contributions to the county’s food drive.”

Other National County Government Month events and activities in April include: 
  • "My County” poster contest that invites the county’s fourth graders to help showcase what they like best about Monmouth County by creating posters that depict something special and unique to the county, including county government. The contest is sponsored by County Clerk M. Claire French, Sheriff Shaun Golden and Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters, who are all constitutional officers of the county. Entries are due April 25.
  • Monmouth County Health Department is offering free eye screenings for residents that will test eye health, visual acuity, and glaucoma from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 9 in the Freehold office and from 3 to 6 p.m. on April 24 in Hazlet.
  • The Recycling section of the Planning Division will conduct 45-minute backyard composting workshops to show how to reduce yard and household waste and improve your soil. Advance registration sessions are April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Holmdel Municipal Building, April 22 at 10 a.m. at Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown and April 28 at 10 a.m. at the Lake Como Municipal Building. 
  • The Recycling section of the Planning Division is also hosting community paper shredding events to help resident reduce exposure to identity theft by providing secure disposal of old documents and confidential files. The dates are April 15 at Dempsey Park, 16th and Railroad Avenue in Belmar, and April 28 at the Municipal Building parking lot at One Municipal Plaza in Freehold Township.
  • The county Park System will celebrate Earth Day weekend on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 21 at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center in Howell and in many other county parks on April 22. 
  • Health Department is also offering free rabies clinic on April 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. in Neptune Township and form 10 a.m. to noon in Marlboro.

“There are many ways residents can keep up with all Monmouth County government events and information,” Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “The county’s Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com  is the best resource, but everyone should visit the county’s Facebook page and register for our regular news updates.”

Residents can sign up for a county e-news subscriptions and announcements on the county Web site at  www.visitmonmouth.com.

Other information sources include:

“New Jersey’s 21 counties serve as a middle level of government between the state and federal governments and the municipalities,” Freeholder Gary J. Rich Jr. said. “Our responsibility is to provide regional services such as solid waste disposal and mosquito control, and uphold our long-standing responsibilities with the courts, roads, social services and the conduct of elections.”

“Monmouth County can be proud of the variety of services it provides to the community,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso said. “National County Government Month is a great opportunity to remind residents to take advantage of all the great county services. We are very proud of the essential services and programs Monmouth County provides each day and especially the people who deliver them.”

The five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders gets its powers from the state Legislature. The Board sets policy and budget for county government operations. The freeholders meet on a regular basis, usually on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. A complete list of the freeholder meeting dates, times and locations is available on the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com.

Last year the county began posting audio recordings of the Board of Chosen Freeholders meetings on the county Web site. This is another way that residents can keep in touch and up-to-date with county business.

“With a simple click from the county homepage residents who are unable to attend the meetings can now listen to learn what went on,” Curley said. “Both of our meetings are posted – the workshop and  the regular evening meetings.”

In addition to the Board of Chosen Freeholders, residents elect three constitutional officers. One other constitutional officer, that of the county Prosecutor, is appointed by the governor.

  • County Prosecutor Peter Warshaws’s office oversees criminal investigations and prosecutions and educates the public about the criminal justice system, crime prevention and victims' rights.
The other three positions are elected directly by county voters:
  • County Clerk M. Claire French’s office issues real property records, maintains the Open Public Records Search system, oversees the passport office and federal, state, county and local elections. The number for the County Clerk’s Office is 732-431-7324.
  • Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters’ office probates wills, qualifies administrators of estates, and files applications for guardianships and adoptions. The Surrogate’s number is 732-431-7330.
  • County Sheriff Shaun Goldens’s office manages the 9-1-1 communications center, the county corrections facility, the law enforcement division and the Office of Emergency Management. The telephone number for the Sheriff’s Office is 732-431-7139.

For the most current information about county programs, services and facts, log onto the official Monmouth County government Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com.

The county also maintains an information kiosk at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown where residents can pick up literature about county programs and services. The kiosk, located near the mall’s customer service desk, is a cooperative project with the Monmouth Mall management that began with the April 2007 celebration of county government.

A current list of county events, activities and meetings is always available on the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com. Also, regular updates are made to the county’s calendar of events as well as its tourism, health, library and parks calendars. Check back often for updated events, dates, times and locations of county activities.

Since 1991 the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties across the country to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of counties.

NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Of the 3,066 counties in the United States, Monmouth County is among only 39 to boast an AAA bond rating by all three major rating agencies. The county has maintained that unique financial position for each of the last 14 years and is the only county in New Jersey to have a AAA rating.

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