How will Ocean County work with the incoming administration in Trenton?
Following an unpopular two-terms by Governor Chris Christie here in New Jersey, it's the Democrat Phil Murphy getting set to succeed him next month. How is the Republican county of ocean preparing for his arrival?
Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari says they're proceeding with caution as governor elect Murphy gets set to take office.
"We don't know what's going to happen as far as Phil Murphy goes...it's going to take some time," Vicari said.
Even in a republican county, he says there's no love loss for the outgoing governor.
"I'll be honest with you, Governor Chris Christie is not very popular in Ocean County," Vicari said. "There was some push-back and one of the biggest complaints I heard of course was when the state of New Jersey closed down (in July 2017) and he went to his summer home at Island Beach State Park."
Vicari says a lot of families wanted to be there that day and it was the wrong thing for christie to do.
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Vicari is also weighing in on some of the proposals being tossed around by Phiil Murphy.
Regardless of partly affiliation Vicari says his job is to do what's best for Ocean County.
"The people of the State of New Jersey elected Phil Murphy and I will support the will of the people," Vicari said.
He opposes Murphy's plan to legalize recreational marijuana, but at the end of the day wants to be sure Ocean County is treated fairly.
"I know there's a revenue attached to it (legal weed) and that's one of the main things I'm really opposed to," Vicari said. "But if we're treated fairly and they (the state) look at our road system as far as Route 9 goes, they look at our school systems and trying to give us more money and revenue...I'm not going to rebel."
Governor elect Murphy's plan to make New Jersey a sanctuary state has received praise by many and real concern and fear by many others.
If it is enacted, Vicari says they'll acquiesce here.
"I think it's bad for Ocean County and bad for the state of New Jersey," Vicari said. "I don't support it but the law is the law and whatever the law is, I will follow it."
He says it'll be very upsetting if New Jersey becomes a sanctuary state.
A proposed bill by North Jersey Assemblyman Joe Lagana, that's sitting in the state senate would give residents 60 and older, who've lived in their home for at least 15-years, a chance to lower their property taxes up to a thousand dollars by volunteering in the community.
Vicari is intrigued by the idea but has some concerns.
"The main thing is the funding source. Where's the money going to come from?," Vicari said. "We can no longer tax the people of Ocean County on the county tax rate. There's no way we can do it, we have a 2-percent cap."
However if the state wants to fund the program where those residents can volunteer in their departments, Vicari says he would be supportive of that.
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