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Monmouth freeholders will bond for improvements at reclamation center

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has introduced a bond ordinance that will, if adopted, fund a series of improvements at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, Tinton Falls.

Solid waste from the county’s municipalities is transported to and placed at the landfill.

During a meeting on April 21 in Freehold Borough, the freeholders voted 5-0 to introduce the measure which provides for the issuance of $8 million in bonds or notes to finance the planned upgrades. The ordinance does not required a cash down payment from the county.

A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for the freeholders’ May 14 meeting, at which time the ordinance may be adopted. Four “yes” votes will be needed to adopt the bond ordinance.

The planned improvements at the reclamation center include, but are not limited to the following work: rebuilding of flare C (burns off methane gas that comes from the landfill); leachate seep improvements on the west slope; installation of wells; improvements to the leachate plant; installation of environmental high density polyethylene caps; acquisition of equipment; replacement of a scale; and removal of underground storage tanks.

The period of usefulness for the improvements is 15 years. The estimated cost of the work is $8 million, which represents the initial appropriation made by the county, according to the ordinance.

In reviewing the proposed ordinance, Craig R. Marshall, the county’s director of finance, told the freeholders the two most expensive components of the project are the improvements to the leachate plant ($3.9 million) and the installation of the polyethylene caps ($3.1 million).

In other business, Freeholder Lillian Burry reported that May 15 is the date when a decision will be made regarding the 2020 Monmouth County Fair, which is a joint venture between the Monmouth County Park System and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

The fair is traditionally held in late July at the East Freehold Showgrounds on Kozloski Road in Freehold Township. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put this year’s fair in doubt.

“The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is under lockdown until Aug. 15 and many of the fair’s activities – the 4-H programs, the master gardeners and the FFA – fall under that agency,” Burry told her fellow freeholders.

Burry, who is the county governing body’s liaison to the park system, also discussed the ongoing closure of New Jersey’s state and county parks which was ordered by Gov. Phil Murphy as the pandemic continues.

She said that issue was discussed by the park commissioners during a meeting on April 20.

“The hue and cry from the public and the commissioners is to open the parks, but to do it discretely. People’s mental health is a crucial part of fighting the pandemic and exercise and the outdoors are mental health boosters.

“It is also related to domestic violence, as parks give people a place to go, even if it’s only for an hour, to remove themselves from a domestic violence situation. The message we are getting is one of concern. Can we get through to the governor?” Burry asked.

Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone said Murphy “knows where we stand” on the county’s desire to reopen the parks.

“Everyone has a mental state; this all comes into play,” he said.

Burry said she hoped the situation regarding the parks can be resolved soon.

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