Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho to ensure that certain statutorily-required municipal officials do not impede shared services agreements between municipalities as a means of controlling property taxes was advanced by the full Senate today.
“We need to give municipalities every opportunity to share services in order to cut costs, eliminate redundancies and most importantly lessen the burden on taxpayers,” said Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Many towns could save significant dollars each year by agreeing to share services for positions they are currently required to have, like an assessor and tax collector.”
The bipartisan legislation, S533, would be adopted as a pilot program in Camden, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren counties. Senator Oroho’s bill would allow municipalities within the pilot counties to satisfy the statutory requirement that every municipality appoint a municipal clerk, chief financial officer, assessor, tax collector, public works manager and municipal engineer by sharing those personnel with another municipality under a shared services agreement.
In order to effectuate a shared services agreement, the bill allows municipalities to relieve these same employees, regardless of their tenure in office, in the interest of efficiency and taxpayer savings. Municipalities would first be required to hold a public meeting to present an estimate of the cost savings expected from the shared services agreement and to also take public comment on the matter.
“In times where municipalities have to make tough choices to reduce costs, we need to give towns the tools they need to help them in their efforts,” Oroho added.
The measure has passed in both houses of the Legislature and now heads to the governor for final approval.