Mayors Seek More Shared Services & Less Oversight
Mayors from around Ocean County feel like they’re being strangled by the state with two new bills in both the Senate and Assembly.
The Mayors’ Association is vehemently opposed to any legislation that would threaten or deny state aid or mandate a municipalities entry into a shared services agreement, joint meeting or consolidation of services agreement with another town or governmental unit.
At the latest breakfast meeting of the association, the panel issued a resolution opposing the measures S-2 and A-1171 because they feel very strongly that it could lead to problems later on down the line. There is a chance that the very core of what the communities are all about can be negatively affected from such legislation.
While many are open to the idea of doing more with less, the Mayors’ are unanimous in feeling they should have free choice to decide and leave it up to them and the residents themselves without having more government intervention. Assemblyman Ron Dancer says “a little less oversight from Trenton and more help where it really counts. That’s what they’re looking for.”
OCEAN COUNTY “SETS THE BAR HIGH”
Freeholder Joe Vicari says “Ocean County continues to set the bar high. We have shared service agreements left and right. We are fiscally responsible. Just look at the Board of Freeholders, our municipalities and even our school districts.”
The bill would create a commission to study either sharing services, consolidations or even town mergers. Assemblyman Dancer says “bigger is not necessarily better and I worry about the attitude that bigger can get it done better. I know for a fact a town like Plumstead can be just as fiscally smart as a larger one.”
The Mayors’ Association is calling on the Legislature to work to more equitably apportion financial resources by returning to its communities a greater share of the tax revenue derived by the State within a given municipality to that very town. Copies of the opposition have been sent to Governor Christie, Congressman Jon Runyan, Congressman Chris Smith and a host of others.
The New Jersey League of Municipalities also received a copy and according to Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis, the issue is something that they will be meeting with Bill Dressel about in the coming months.