FREEHOLD – As the coronavirus pandemic that began in March 2020 continues into its second year, Freehold Borough officials have reduced the annual fee for sidewalk cafés and extended the cafés use for the remainder of 2021.
During a meeting on March 15, Borough Council members passed a resolution that reduces the annual sidewalk café license fee by 50%. The resolution established the 2021 season for sidewalk cafés from March 15 through Dec. 31.
According to the resolution, licenses for the sidewalk cafés traditionally begin on April 1 and conclude on Nov. 1.
The regular fees, which are based on the size of a café, are $2 per square foot for first-time applicants and $5 per square foot for renewals, according to the application for a sidewalk café license.
As stated in the resolution, the state of emergency caused by the pandemic in New Jersey has impacted Freehold Borough restaurants. Therefore, municipal officials believe it would be beneficial to reduce certain fees by half of their previous cost and extend the season to the end of the year.
The resolution states these modifications are only for 2021.
In other business, council members renewed the borough’s shared services agreement with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office for emergency dispatch services.
Through the agreement, the sheriff’s office will provide emergency dispatch services by serving as the public safety answering point and relaying, transferring or directing emergency dispatch to Freehold Borough and the borough’s emergency responders.
According to a resolution, the agreement will be in effect from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2022, after which it may be renewed by the council.
Freehold Borough paid Monmouth County $197,305 for the first year of the emergency dispatch services. There will be a 1.5% increase ($2,959) during the second year, to $200,264. There will be a 1.5% increase ($3,003) during the third year, to $203,267.
According to the agreement, the county will provide computer related services to support any call-taking and dispatching functions for Freehold Borough, as may be required. Freehold Borough will maintain and support all local hardware, routers and air cards.