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Middlesex County Freeholder Director Says 2017 Has Been a Year of Productivity, Progress, and Possibility

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios enumerated the many achievements Middlesex County has made over the last 12 months, including continued investment in infrastructure and technology, and the beginning of one of the largest and most exciting projects in the County during his tenure on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Freeholder Director Rios gave his State of the County Address at the Oct. 12 meeting of the Board. The full text of his speech is below.

Highlights include:

  • Groundbreaking of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. This was the first ground breaking on a project that received funds from the County’s Cultural and Arts Trust Fund, which was established in 2015 after voters overwhelmingly supported the fund in the 2014 General Election. This $172 million dollar project will bring under one roof the George Street Playhouse, the Crossroads Theatre, the American Repertory Ballet, and Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.

 

  • Pre-applications are available for The Residence at Roosevelt Park, an 84-unit affordable senior housing complex. Historic elements of Roosevelt Hospital in Edison were restored, as the building was transformed into independent living apartments with modern amenities. The first residents are expected to move in after the first of the year. 
     
  • Middlesex County has held a Triple A bond rating – the highest rating attainable -- for 16 years. This is an indicator of the County’s fiscal responsibility and enables it to invest about $40 million annually into its Capital Improvement Master Plan.

 

  • One key investment is in technology. The Finance Department began the implementation of new Financial Enterprise Software, which will automate many processes resulting in the elimination of all paper fiscal transactions, increased productivity, enhanced fiscal management, and comprehensive analytical capabilities. It also will improve the process of doing business with the County.

 

  • Investments in other infrastructure included 26 priority bridge and culvert repairs through the Office of Public Works. The Office also milled and paved more than 22 miles of roads in 17 towns. The Office of Engineering completed $28.3 million in projects, from bridge and culvert replacements to new signals and facilities upgrades.

 

  • The County entered into contracts or closed on over 200 acres to be added to the highly successful Open Space and Recreation and Farmland and Historic Preservation Program. These lands, including some with ties to the American Revolution and others that protect wildlife, will be saved from commercial development now that they are in the program.

 

  • The County hosted its first ever Middlesex County Business Summit. The sold-out event introduced the Middlesex County Resource Partnership, a team of economic development professionals, who discussed the resources and services provided by the County and its partners to help new businesses get established or grow existing ones. This is the first of what will become an annual event plus a series of webinars to help boost the local economy and connect the business community.

 

  • The County’s Senior Meal Program provided over 237,000 meals to congregate and home delivered meal clients. More than 600 seniors participated in the Senior Health and Fitness walk, and 300 seniors age 90 or older celebrated at one of four 90s Birthday Bashes.

 

  • The Middlesex County Fire Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary. Hundreds of thousands of individuals, including fire fighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, members of emergency management, and private organizations have been trained on the latest response and recovery techniques.

 

Rios concluded: “The past 12 months have been filled with progress, possibility and innovation. None of the achievements I listed tonight could have been made without the unwavering dedication of this Freeholder Board to serve the people of this great County or without the hard work of the Administration and entire County staff. So I express my gratitude to each of you on jobs well done.”

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