Southern Ocean Officials Discuss Shared Services
Consolidation plans are encouraged by the state, Barnegat Township official says
A meeting is tentatively planned next week where Southern Ocean County officials are expected to discuss the controversial topic of sharing services among municipalities.
Although he declined to share details of the meeting, Stafford Mayor John Spodofora confirmed that there will be a meeting to discuss "all possible options. All towns have been doing shared services, to some extent or another, and this is just to discuss those."
Barnegat Township officials meanwhile, also confirmed the meeting, noting they will likely not be attending.
In an interview with Patch, Barnegat Township Administrator David Breeden said that the township already has a number of shared services with neighboring Waretown, and "our plate is already full with regard to implementing and managing shared services."
Looking toward the future, however, Breeden did not rule out the idea that the town would be doing more shared services, nor would he confirm that others are being researched.
"Shared service agreements are a very sensitive topic, because they involve changes in personnel," Breeden said. Barnegat and Waretown last year agreed to share a tax collector, a zoning officer and a recreation director, in addition to sharing Breeden's services. The township has also arranged shared service agreements for trash collection and maintaining municipal vehicles.
These types of consolidation, are strongly encouraged by the state, Breeden said, and end up in huge savings to both towns.
"There are bills pending in the legislature that promote and encourage the use of shared services by all local governmental entities in New Jersey," Breeden said in a statement to Patch. "There is no question that the state will impose financial penalties, such as withholding state aid, on municipalities not engaged in shared service agreements. That is why it is crucial for [towns] to be proactive in its approach to shared services and enter into agreements that reflect the best interest of the community."