The freeholder in the 7th district serves the towns of West New York, Weehawken, and Guttenburg.
"This is my first elected office position," said Munoz, adding, "I had a lot of bumps on the road, but I've been able to do a lot of things in a short time."
Munoz took office as freeholder in November 2007 when he beat out Alberto Cabrera in the general election - filling a seat previously occupied by West New York Mayor "Sal" Vega and Commissioner Gerald Lange.
Munoz is running unopposed this year with plenty of support in the 7th district.
His popularity is largely due to his accessibility.
Said Munoz, "I give my cell phone number out in case residents ever have a problem, they can contact me. In my district, I also visit a lot of the senior citizens' buildings. I get a lot of support in my district. I work a lot and I like what I do - it's important for someone to like what they do."
Munoz took the position as freeholder last year at a salary of $39,000 a year - a job that also came with a car (a 2006 Ford Explorer) and cell phone; perks Munoz declined in order to save taxpayer dollars.
"I take the paycheck because I need it," said Munoz, adding, "I donated my car to the township of Weehawken, and I didn't take the cell phone from the county because I don't [need them]."
Among some of Munoz's proudest accomplishments is a senior citizen mobilization program. Drawing from his knowledge as chairman of the county transportation committee, Munoz introduced a program that would transport Hudson County senior citizens free of charge to medical-related appointments.
Transcend, a transportation company based out of Secaucus, will provide seniors with non-emergency transportation to medical, health, dental, hospital, employment, education, and recreational sites.
To register for this program, contact Hudson County Transcend at (201) 271-4308.
One more chance
Munoz, who used to work for the Hudson County Correctional Department, together with the board of freeholders, also sponsored a new program called the Alternate Sentencing Program - a program aimed to give first-time criminals a chance for rehabilitation.
"If someone catches you with a small amount of drugs and it's your first time, a judge will decide if you're eligible for the program," said Munoz, adding, "If they go into the program, they have the opportunity to stop and help themselves."
Munoz noted that the average cost per inmate per day is anywhere between $88 and $98.
"We're saving taxpayers' money in the end and helping people," said Munoz.
Munoz notes that first-time offenders with common charges against them like drug possession and prostitution, may be able to prevent themselves from "falling into the system" and becoming repeat offenders.
Slated to start up in May, the program is funded by $250,000 in grants and an additional 30 to 40 percent will be funded by the county jail.
Meet the public
In order to draw more attention to freeholder meetings, Munoz suggested some of the meetings be held in the afternoon or at night, rather than their usual noon time.
"In order for democracy to work you have to have people participate and you have to make it accessible to people," said Munoz.
After negotiating with Chairman of the Board of Freeholders Jeffrey Dublin, meetings were rescheduled in order to provide greater attendance.
Munoz's next venture includes relocating meetings throughout the county in order to provide accessibility to all Hudson County residents.
"If people come to the meetings, they can know about more issues," said Munoz.
For more information on the Board of Freeholders, other members, and meeting dates and times, visit: http://www.hudsoncountynj.org/freeholders. To reach Freeholder Munoz regarding county or district issues, call (201) 795-6009, or for more pressing matters, call (201) 320-1273.
Nicolas Millan can be reached at NMillan@hudsonreporter.com.