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"When are we going to acknowledge as mature, reasonable adults that we have too long tolerated a municipal framework that represents the opposite of everything this century has learned about effective management, efficient control and economy of scale."

Alan J. Karcher,
Multiple Municipal Madness

Courage to Change

The problems associated with NJ’s municipalities replicating services can be compared to the concept of redundancy in the private sector.

Corporate elimination of redundancy, initiated in the 1980s, is now generally accepted as the preferred method for turning around declining organizations, cutting costs, and improving performance.

Courage to ConnectNJ, a non-profit organization seeking to reduce the replication of services in NJ, announced their opening of a Bergen County chapter during a forum held at Bergen Community College.

With a goal to energize, enlighten and engage citizens in the effort to eliminate redundancy throughout Bergen County, Courage to ConnectNJ enlisted a panel of experts and civic leaders to lead a discussion on the future of municipal governance in Bergen County. Gina Genovese, the executive director, moderated the forum and began with a summary of NJ’s ranking as the state with the highest tax burden; detailing how the replication of services offered by NJ’s 566 municipalities is a major factor.

The only recent municipal consolidation in New Jersey took place in 1952, so one of the organization’s goals is to encourage additional studies to examine if cost savings can be realized in today’s economic environment. In place of a working model, the forum offered Woodbridge, NJ as an example of a township that can embrace diverse neighborhoods and populations into one municipality.  (Woodbridge is identified, for census and practical purposes, as 10 unincorporated areas – townships that never fractured into incorporated municipalities.)

Two of the main speakers hailed from Woodbridge,  Mayor John McCormac and School Superintendent John Crowe. McCormac spoke to the savings realized by all the residents operating under one entity, and the ability to maintain distinct neighborhoods with respect to fire departments, libraries, VFWs, and other characteristics often associated with the face of a community. He emphasized that had the townships fractured, there would be a replication of 9 other governments with the associated services. This would have led to higher taxes, and the inability of Woodbridge to offer additional services and facilities that smaller towns do not have resources to provide.

Continue reading this article in the Wyckoff Journal or click here to download the full PDF


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