The latest projections show that consolidation savings for 2013 are at least 40 percent greater than what was initially projected by the Joint Shared Services and Consolidation Commission in 2010- at least $2.26 million v. $1.61 million.
There’s also an additional $350,000-$400,000 in savings for next year, achieved by combining old contracts, health benefit plans and signing new contracts, according to Scott Sillars, a member of the Transition Task Force's Finance Subcommittee
The finance subcommittee has both calculated high and low consolidation savings projects from 2013-2016, the period of time it will take Princeton to fully consolidate.
Consolidation savings for 2014 were estimated at $3.1 million. Updated projections show that amount could fluctuate from $2.6 million to $3.6 million.
Consolidation savings for 2015 were estimated at $3.6 million. Updated projections show that amount could fluctuate from $2.6 million to $4 million.
Why the additional savings?
Basically, it’s because the transition task force charged with implementing consolidation came up with slightly different recommendations than the Commission.
Due to attrition, there are only 54 sworn police officers in the Borough and Township, whereas the Consolidation Commission had recommended reducing to 60 officers beginning in 2013. Princeton already is down six officers from that recommendation.
The lower projections assume that Princeton will maintain a combined police force of 56 officers, whereas the commission a joint police force of 60 officers in year one, 54 officers in year two and 51 officers in year 3.
The higher projections assume the current sworn officer staffing of 54 through 2014, then reduced to 51 officers the following year. It also assumes retirements of longtime, higher level officers, who may then be replaced by less expensive patrol officers.
Already in 2012, Princeton has saved $705,000, through earlier than expected staff departures, Sillars said. That money will help offset Princeton’s one-time transition costs of consolidation, which the consolidation commission estimated at $1.7 million (not including employee separation costs).
An updated estimate from the finance subcommittee estimate transition costs between $2.1-$2.2 million, including separation costs and salary harmonization costs for remaining employees. Offsetting transition costs will be a 20 percent reimbursement from the State, $500,000 from Princeton University.
Princeton will also incur up to $1.1 million in ‘coincidental ‘costs, primarily for renovations before Corner House moves into the basement of Borough Hall and for the police department’s 911 dispatch and radio upgrades.
Coincidental costs are those that a municipality would have incurred regardless of consolidation and therefore cannot be considered transition costs.