Manalapan residents address freeholders


Two residents of Manalapan addressed the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders on disparate topics during the freeholders’ Feb. 19 meeting in Freehold Borough.

The freeholders set aside time during their meetings when members of the public may offer comments about any topic. The comments do not have to be related to an action the governing body will take during the meeting.

Resident Rhoda Chodosh approached the freeholders and said state legislators and Gov. Phil Murphy appear to be moving closer to enacting legislation that will legalize adult use marijuana, also referred to as recreational marijuana.

Chodosh said the legalization of marijuana is expected to produce tax revenue and asked the freeholders where that revenue is expected to go, and/or if it would go to property tax relief.

Property taxes continue to be a significant issue in New Jersey, where the average residential property tax bill is approaching $9,000 per year.

Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone said, “the revenue (from marijuana sales) will not go to property tax relief. There will be costs associated (with enacting marijuana legalization) that will come to us. The state cannot get out of their (financial) mess and they are digging it deeper every day.”

Following Chodosh’s comments, resident Ray Kalainikas approached the freeholders and discussed the times at which they conduct their meetings.

He said the freeholders generally meet on a weekday afternoon, which he said is not a time that encourages public participation, as many people are working when the meetings take place.

Kalainikas asked the freeholders to consider meeting on a Saturday afternoon, when he said more people who are interested in county government would be able to attend a meeting “to confront you and to offer suggestions.”

Freeholder Deputy Director Patrick Impreveduto said that in regard to being available to the public, “We get calls all the time time and we respond. Just because we meet (on a weekday) afternoon does not mean we are not responsive to our constituency.”

Arnone said, “asking employees who work 40 hours Monday through Friday to come in (for a meeting) on a Saturday would be an additional expense to the county. I would vote ‘no’ to that idea.”