Step 4: Obtain State Approval for Study Commission
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Once all of the participating municipalities have signed off on the proposal, you will send a single package to the Local finance Board that contains the joint application. The Board meets monthly to review such applications. The DCA will inform you what date your application will be considered.If you have followed the process described in Steps 1-3, the Local Finance Board meeting should be relatively straightforward. If the Board approves the application, then the municipal Consolidation Study Commission must be formally established within fourteen days. If the Local finance Board asks for modifi cations to the application, you will be able to amend your proposal and re-submit at a later date.
Under state law, municipalities cannot participate in more than one municipal Consolidation Study Commission at a time. If multiple applications are pending before the Local finance Board simultaneously, the Board has the power to join these applications and create a Study Commission that incorporates some or all of the proposed options. If your community wishes to join an existing application already fi led with the DCA, contact CTC-NJ for more information.
If all goes well, the Local finance Board will approve your application. If it does not, then under state law you cannot submit an application involving the same combination of towns for fi ve years. (You can, however, apply to create a Study Commission involving a different set of towns.) To minimize the risk of rejection, we strongly recommend that you confer with CTC-NJ and the DCA before submitting the application to the Board.
Funding the Commission
A Study Commission can be expensive. In theory, the DCA can help pay for the Commission, although some costs may be borne by the municipalities. The largest expense of a Study Commission involves hiring a consultant to perform a “feasibility study” of the proposed consolidation. To reduce costs, you might consider asking a nearby university, research facility, non-profi t organization, or philanthropic foundation to provide funding or conduct some of the research. In addition, the Commission may also receive in-kind support from towns and outside groups, such as staff assistance or offi ce space, that should be factored into the budget.
RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FOR STEP 4
Courage to Connect NJ has prepared several “template” documents that members can use when organizing a consolidation campaign. Documents are available for download; contact us for access. There are currently no relevant documents for Step 4.
CTC-NJ Members: Download documents here.