New Jersey puts up state money for towns and schools to find ways to share services

David Madden
September 25, 2019 - 3:37 pm
Gov. Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com

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LONG BRANCH, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is joining the push for school districts and local governments to share services as a way to keep property taxes down. To that end, the state is spending $10 million to help in that consolidation effort.

Attending a forum at Monmouth University, the governor announced the money would go in three separate funds controlled by the Department of Community Affairs. Together, the goal is to get towns to get past their parochial interests to share services in areas where that would work.

“We’ve always enjoyed the individuality of our communities and our residents,” Murphy said. “What we need to prove to them is that sharing services doesn’t erode the character of our communities but will strengthen our ability to serve them.”

Each county will have $150,000 available to award to towns that come up with ideas and another $50,000 each to hire someone to coordinate that. The rest is earmarked toward turning those ideas into reality.

“Our residents aren’t looking for a Democratic or Republican answer to New Jersey’s historically high property taxes,” the governor added, “and they’re not looking for us to come up with reasons why we can’t do something. They want us to work together on common sense solutions that can benefit them and their neighbors.”

Legislators, led by Senate President Steve Sweeney, have long pushed the concept of shared services. But those efforts have been hampered by municipalities reluctant to abandon their hold on controlling how services as basic as trash and snow removal are handled.

Related: Murphy proposes deal: More property tax relief in return for millionaires tax