On January 10, three articles appeared in The Star-Ledger about towns using fuloughs and shared services to survive the fiscal crisis facing New Jersey’s municipalities.
Furloughs begin for 120 employees as Rockaway Twp. sees $330K savings Shared services is 2010 theme for Somerville Mine Hill has new council, old problems These actions only preserve the status quo. We now have an opportunity to finally create a sustainable structure in this state. Attempts to consolidate municipalities have failed because we have not educated the people and have never proposed connecting more than two towns. Why not connect 5-10 municipalities for significant savings? Most communities in NJ have fewer than 3,000 households supporting their entire administrative structure. One administration could easily support 15,000 households and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. This bold idea suggests that each community retains its name and identity but shares a municipal government. A ballot initiative with 5-10 towns connecting gives individual towns the ability to opt out of the savings but the issue still moves forward for the towns with the courage to move in this direction. Our organization is dedicated to a grassroots effort through educating the public with videos and town meetings. We can be proactive about our future. Have the courage to connect.