$1.5 million in state grants for road redos coming to Union County municipalities

UNION COUNTY, NJ – An average of 13,312 people received benefits every month in 2018 from Work First New Jersey, the state’s welfare reform program. This program is New Jersey’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

TANF and similar programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and General Assistance (GA), provide money or other benefits to anyone below a certain income level. Union County facilitates job training for individuals that receive these types of assistance.

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“There’s a requirement by the state that you have to be in some sort of a job training activity,” said Amy Wagner, deputy county manager and director of economic development, speaking to the Union County Freeholder Board Thursday. Several organizations in the community offer job training programs for county residents, Wagner said, including Union County College, Workforce Advantage, America Works and Arc of Union County.

Wagner explained that every person enrolled in these programs typically goes through soft skills training first, followed by specialty training in a specific field. “There are thousands of opportunities that they can select from,” she said, such as forklift operation and medical billing.

Last July, the freeholder board authorized the county manager to award contracts to six agencies to facilitate the WorkFirst New Jersey Program for the 18-month period from July 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019. Funding for this period was originally set not to exceed $1.1 million.

Wagner asked the freeholder board to approve the awarding of contracts to various additional sub-recipients in the amount of $375,000, bringing the total funding spent on the program in Union County to approximately $1.4 million.

It was one among a series of contracts the freeholders were asked to award this week.

Criminal Identification Database

Sgt. Jim Miller from the Union County Sheriff’s Office discussed the Clearview Data System, the criminal identification system used by the county.

“[The system] allows us to upload and archive all information about a defendant criminally, for the Union County Superior Court,” Miller said. This information includes images, photos, and fingerprints.

The cost for the system is shared equally between the sheriff’s office and the prosecutor’s office, Miller said. The sheriff’s office is requesting about $11,000 from the county to enter into a maintenance contract with Clearview Data Systems for 2019.

Infrastructure and Municipal Aid

Union County is planning to divide a total $1.5 million among 21 municipalities for the 2019 Infrastructure and Municipal Aid Grant Program. As Wagner explained, there is a process in place to determine how much will go to each municipality.

Find out what your municipality is slated to receive and for what streets here.

“A number of different factors go into it,” Wagner said. Those factors include population and the types of projects each municipality is planning. The freeholder board’s fiscal committee will review the awards to each municipality prior to their approval, she said.

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