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Mazzeo, Armato, Downey and Houghtaling Bill Including Atlantic County in “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” Advances

Bill Authorizes Shared Municipal Court Administrator

Combining municipalities’ resources in an effort to ease the burden on taxpayers, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vincent Mazzeo, John Armato, Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling that would allow municipalities within Atlantic County to share municipal court administrators under the “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” was advanced by an Assembly Panel Thursday.

Recently, the Governor signed a law that allows Atlantic and Monmouth Counties entry into the “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” for purposes of sharing resources including a municipal clerk, a chief financial officer, an assessor, a tax collector, a municipal treasurer, or a municipal superintendent of public works.

This bill (A-4390) allows, in addition to the positions listed in the new law, the sharing of services provided by a municipal court administrator between municipalities.

“As legislators for the second district, we are always pushing for shared services programs that will improve quality of life and save money for our hard-working families,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “This law will include Atlantic County as a pilot county in the ‘Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act,’ which will increase our towns’ access to government services, in turn, increasing both effectiveness and efficiency in their municipal operations.”

“For a county like Atlantic County that includes several small municipalities, taking advantage of common sense shared services programs is extremely beneficial to our residents,” said Armato (D-Atlantic). “With this bill becoming law, we are taking a step in the right direction towards saving money and optimizing resources for our taxpaying families.”

Under the pilot program, municipalities located in pilot counties may enter into shared services agreements, under current law provisions, for the services of tenured local employees, and provide for the dismissal of any tenured local employees who are not selected to be service providers under the shared service agreement. Camden, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren Counties currently use this program.

“New Jersey residents pay the highest property tax rates in the nation and sharing services is a viable path for municipalities to provide taxpayer relief,” said Downey (D- Monmouth). “Many towns have already begun to discuss sharing opportunities with neighboring towns. Our ‘Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program’ will encourage and better enable municipalities to find new ways to coordinate services and in the long run lessen the property tax burden on our residents.”

“Simply put, shared services programs are something we should always take advantage of here in Monmouth County, especially when it comes to cost -saving measures such as the ‘Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This act will allow our municipalities to work together by combining their resources and expertise in order to increase efficiency and lower costs for our hard-working residents.”

This bill was approved by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.