FREEHOLD – As Freehold Borough moves to become a municipality that is certified as being friendly to military veterans, officials are planning to recognize the service of veterans by establishing goals to provide new opportunities and benefits for them.
On Feb. 3, Borough Council members passed a resolution and established goals for contracting with veteran-owned businesses, hiring veterans in the municipal workforce and recognizing the military service of residents in the civic affairs of the borough.
Council members said passing the resolution would allow Freehold Borough to be certified as a veteran-friendly municipality by the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
Jeff Cantor, a U.S. Army veteran and the founder and CEO of the chamber, which launched in late 2018, said, “This resolution empowers municipalities and counties to show good faith to our veterans community and create a pathway for veterans to succeed either in skilled labor positions or through contracting opportunities.”
Cantor, who is also a township councilman in Marlboro, was quoted in a Freehold Borough press release detailing the resolution.
The resolution states that the council recognizes the importance of publicly recognizing veterans for their service in the normal course of carrying out local government duties and functions, and that it is in the best interest of the borough to encourage the participation of veterans in the business of local government, the workforce and in the civic affairs of the community.
Borough officials said they would notify veteran-owned businesses that are registered with the state of each public bid opportunity; that they would award 6% of total contract dollars to veteran business enterprises; and that they would award 6% of a contract to qualified veteran subcontractors when there are not three qualified veteran bidders.
Municipal officials said they would make a good faith effort to achieve the goal of a minimum 5% veteran workforce subject to all applicable New Jersey Civil Service regulations in the hiring of employees, provide a discount for veterans on local license and permit fees, offer preferred parking for veterans in municipally owned lots, promote state fee exemption for local metered parking and have a municipal commuter lot permit fee waiver/reimbursement for Purple Heart recipients.
Freehold Borough’s elected representatives also have the goals of holding at least one “Patriot Day” public celebration honoring the service of veterans on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and/or the anniversary of Sept. 11, and public recognition of the service of a resident who has served in the military on an annual basis, according to the resolution.
“We are delighted to support our veterans, recognize them for the sacrifices they have made and assist in their economic success,” Mayor Kevin Kane said. “Our veterans have defended our freedom with their lives and this is a small effort we can do now to show our support to them.”
According to the press release, the goals for public bids on contracts, hiring employees and preferred parking were required by the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce.
Kane said the other goals were added by borough officials to further assist veterans.
In addition to the goals established by the resolution, borough officials established a Veterans Affairs Committee.
“The establishment of this standing committee of our governing body demonstrates the commitment we all have to supporting and assisting all veterans in our community,” said Councilman George Schnurr, the committee’s chairman.
During the Feb. 3 meeting, Cantor spoke about his organization’s program and municipalities achieving veteran-friendly status.
“Many veterans are disadvantaged in the economy,” he said. “By passing this resolution, it is really important to recognize what veterans have done. It establishes guidelines and goals and recognizes them.”
In appreciation of Freehold Borough’s move toward achieving veteran-friendly status, Cantor presented the governing body with a certificate from the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce which had a picture he took of a military helicopter flying a piece of the World Trade Center over Afghanistan.
Following Cantor’s presentation, the council members unanimously passed the resolution.