Not just in New Jersey, but all around the nation, local and county governments short on funds and struggling to weather the recession, are looking at sharing services with neighbors and consolidating.
Here in New Jersey, the capital of home rule and government fragmentation — 566 municipal governments and 600-plus school districts — there are plenty of opportunities for consolidations and regionalized services. Currently, officials from across Camden County are meeting regularly to plot how a countywide police force could be formed to save money for towns large and small.
In Trenton, legislators’ job is to knock down roadblocks, to make it easier for those towns and districts that want to share certain departments or combine everything, to move forward. Towns and school districts need help from the state in researching whether consolidation makes sense and help in making sure consolidation is a money-saver, which it should be in most cases since overhead is being reduced.
To that end, we applaud state Sens. James Beach, D-Camden, and Robert Gordon, D-Bergen, who have put forward legislation to more easily enable residents and elected officials to get funding from the state for formal consolidation studies.