MIDDLESEX COUNTY – Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano said that in 2013, Middlesex County will continue to enhance its services to senior citizens and veterans, save $1 million dollars in energy costs and, in working with the private sector, explore the possibility of building a minor league ballpark.
Rafano announced the 2013 initiatives as part of his fourth Director’s Message, delivered during the annual Reorganization Meeting of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held Jan. 4 at Middlesex County College in Edison. Also at the meeting, Rafano welcomed back Deputy Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios, Freeholder H. James Polos and Surrogate Kevin J. Hoagland, who were re-elected in November.
Rafano spoke confidently about his colleagues’ abilities to lead a number of programs into the upcoming year.
“We will continue to harness our resources, work with our partners and develop new ideas to serve our residents,” Rafano said. “We will ensure that Middlesex County is not just a place on a map. It is the best place to live, to work and to raise a family.”
Key initiatives include:
- Continuing the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, a workable and sustainable program to provide housing, financial assistance and related services to veterans in Middlesex County who are homeless or at the risk of becoming homeless.
- Answering the need for quality senior housing in the County by restoring the historic Roosevelt Hospital in Edison to accommodate modern apartments for senior citizens.
- Exploring the possibility of a private-public partnership to build a state-of-the-art minor league ballpark at no cost to taxpayers. “This will be an incredible addition to the other recreational opportunities in Middlesex County,” said Rafano, who noted that the facility could accommodate other popular programs, such as concerts and festivals.
- Introducing a web-based business resource tool to help foster municipal and public/private partnerships, attract new business and help existing businesses grow.
Rafano said 2013 will be the first year the county will be able to reap the benefits of its solar panel project at the County’s Apple Orchard Lane complex in North Brunswick, which went live in December. The county expects to save taxpayers $1 million a year over the next 15 years as a result of reduced energy costs.
Also during his message, Rafano reflected on the challenges faced by the county, its residents and business community during and in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. He commended first responders, schools, houses of worship, non-profit organizations, corporations and individuals for their efforts to help the County recover.
“We could not have made it through Super Storm Sandy without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers,” Rafano said.
He also praised the county workforce and its partners: “Middlesex County’s ability to respond rapidly and effectively grew out of the partnerships we have forged with federal and state agencies and our municipalities. Our response is a strong example of how, on a daily basis, our elected officials, administration and staff work collectively to serve our citizens.”