Monmouth County leases space in Neptune
Mar 23, 2012 (Asbury Park Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Monmouth County is to open its first satellite office providing general county government services, possibly as early as this summer, in Neptune.
On Thursday, the county Board of Freeholders authorized a lease agreement with SSS Neptune Associates for about 3,500 square feet of space at Gateway Centre at the corner of Route 66 and Jumping Brook Road in Neptune.
Gateway Centre houses the Home Depot store, McDonald's fast-food restaurant and Walgreens pharmacy. It sits diagonally across Route 66 from the Asbury Park Press building.
The satellite would run under the auspices of County Clerk M. Claire French's office, whose visible functions would be passport and county identification applications, recording real estate records and handling some election issues.
The satellite also would host regular representation by other county offices, such as Aging and Veterans Services, French said. French said she would seek all county departments dealing directly with the public to "offer me a program or staff member" for the satellite.
With most county offices located in the area of the county seat of Freehold, the idea is to create another location with easy access, according to county officials.
"In real estate, location, location, location," French said. "There's magic in that location."
The satellite location is along bus routes and is within about one mile of the Garden State Parkway and Route 33 and about three miles from Route 18.
Also, the satellite would have night hours and weekend hours, something county offices do not normally now have, French said.
"We're going to bring government to the people." French said.
The lease is for $7,823 per month.
The empty office will be retrofitted by county workers, said county spokesman William K. Heine. The retrofitting cost is unknown at this point, French said.
Operating the office will involve one new hire to oversee the location, French said. She said that salary probably would be in the area of $50,000.
French said she hopes the satellite can open over the summer.
"It's very well-located," said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, as French discussed the satellite at Thursday's freeholders meeting. "I think you're doing the right thing. I congratulate you."
Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone added the satellite would be a "very valuable asset to the county in many ways."
Joe Sapia: 732-308-7754, JSapia@njpressmedia.com, Twitter.com/JosephSapia.
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