The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners reflect on achievements and vision for 2024 in State of the County address

The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners reflect on achievements

and vision for 2024 in State of the County address

 

Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios underscores County’s dedication to enhancing quality of life for all residents

 

*For photos, click here*

 

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – The 2024 State of the County address, hosted by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at West Hall in Middlesex College. The event brought together community leaders, government officials, and residents to reflect on the County’s progress over the past year and outlined plans for the future.

Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios delivered the address which reaffirmed the County’s commitment to its residents with programs and initiatives specifically focused on transportation infrastructure, education and workforce development, behavioral health, and more. He also recognized the Board of County Commissioners, municipal leaders, government partners, and volunteers for their unwavering commitment to serving the community.

 

“Our achievements are the product of thoughtful, strategic planning and deliberate actions that drive results improving the quality of life for every resident in Middlesex County, by design,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios.

A key highlight of Commissioner Director Rios’ address was Middlesex County’s continued financial stability, exemplified by its prestigious AAA bond rating from S&P and Moody’s for the 23rd consecutive year. This fiscal strength enables the County to support critical programs and invest in vital infrastructure projects, for the benefit of County residents and beyond.

INVESTING IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Transportation infrastructure emerged as a focal point, with investments making significant headway like the remodeling of the New Brunswick Train Station and the construction of the North Brunswick Train Station, both making significant progress in design. These projects, in partnership with NJ Transit and the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, aim to enhance connectivity and drive economic growth across the region.

Innovative transportation solutions like the RIDE On Demand pilot program in New Brunswick and the upcoming transformation of Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) services into RIDE Routes and RIDE Reservations underscore the County’s commitment to providing accessible and efficient transit options for residents and visitors.

Additionally, with the leadership of Middlesex County Improvement Authority, several parking facilities such as the Carteret Parking facility and the Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center, as well as partnerships with municipalities, are moving forward.

FUTURE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Commissioner Director Rios also emphasized the County’s investments in education and workforce development, including the transformation of Middlesex College into a regional hub for academics, recreation, and the arts under the County’s Community, Innovation, and Opportunity (CIO) Strategic Investment Plan, currently making progress toward the completion of design and groundbreaking of phase one. Partnerships with institutions like Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health are enriching educational opportunities and preparing students for high-demand careers in healthcare and beyond. The RWJBarnabas Health Workforce Partnership offers three distinct educational curricula for Magnet School and Middlesex College students that will prepare them for cutting-edge healthcare jobs and careers. It also provides resources for workforce development to support upskilling current RWJBarnabas Health employees.

“A high-quality education can change lives — not just our economy — so we are creating a solid, sustainable foundation for education and workforce development that will help ensure the people of Middlesex County have access to the robust academic and career training opportunities they need in order to compete at the highest levels,” said Commissioner Director Rios.”

COMMUNITY SERVICES MAKE A REAL IMPACT

Underscoring the County’s dedication to public safety and health, particularly in addressing the behavioral health crisis and supporting veterans, Commissioner Director Rios highlighted key initiatives such as Middlesex County’s Pathways to Recovery program, Services Locator, and Opioid Settlement Advisory Council as examples of the County’s proactive approach to critical issues affecting its residents. In addition to ongoing initiatives, Commissioner Director Rios announced the newly launched Behavioral Health Navigators, which will continue to bring more resources to the community to help navigate real challenges. To learn more about all the support services provided by Middlesex County, please visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/support.

Additionally, in partnership with the County Prosecutor, Middlesex County leaders are continuing to find new and innovative ways to enhance public safety with programs including Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation (ARRIVE) and the new Special Needs Registry program, both of which enable first responders to better assist special needs residents who struggle with behavioral health or other health issues.

Middlesex County’s dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (D.E.I.B.) continues to make progress this year and is incorporated in the County’s operations and its services to the community.

“Through the Arts Institute of Middlesex County, D.E.I.B. is tangible in our work to develop and support Folklife. We proudly serve as a state designated Regional Folklife Center,” said Commissioner Director Rios. “The County’s vision to ensure that arts and culture is accessible to everyone was cemented when we launched www.middlesexcountyculture.com, an online hub featuring free and low-cost cultural events and activities happening throughout the County.”

D.E.I.B. and public safety both show up in the County’s Office of Health Services, through a new initiative to provide free swimming lessons to all second-grade students who live in Middlesex County, giving them access to learn this basic but very important life skill. Launching in May, this pilot program will teach basic water safety skills, improving children’s safety in the water.

Commissioner Director Rios concluded by emphasizing that the County is committed to building a better future for all residents, guided by prudent fiscal management and innovative thinking.

“Our investment in building a better future embraces innovation, enhances operational efficiency, and empowers our decision-making process at every turn, and our cost-efficient budgeting allows us to invest our resources wisely on behalf of everyone in Middlesex County,” said Commissioner Director Rios. “In Middlesex County, we have a proven track record of driving real change, real results, making a real impact. The future is bright and bold in Middlesex County, by design.”

For more information about Middlesex County and its initiatives, please visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov.

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ 

 

Middlesex County is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, three universities, 19 park systems, and world-class healthcare and research facilities making it one of the nation’s most dynamic regions and a leader in technology, transportation, the arts, and food innovation. As one of the most diverse populations in the country, Middlesex County is home to over 860,000 residents living throughout 25 municipalities. The County’s award-winning Middlesex County Magnet Schools system and two-year Middlesex College uphold its position as #1 in the state for best schools, offering secondary and postsecondary education and workforce development programs that create a unique ecosystem where opportunities abound. Conveniently located between New York and Philadelphia, Middlesex County is a leading destination for businesses and residents alike to live, work, and play – and has been since the 17th century. For more information, visit middlesexcountynj.gov and find us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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