To the Editor: New Jersey is among the States with the highest property taxes. What can be done to reduce them? As an example of cutting costs without loss of service, how about consolidation of some government services, sharing instead of duplication?
A serious, noteworthy proposal for a countywide municipal court system has been made by the Atlantic County Executive to do just that.
A committee composed of judges and others with court and legal experience is considering already how this would work and how much tax money would be saved by each municipality. And, as part of the County’s espousal of shared services, it is taking advantage of the State’s funding of such a program by appointing a coordinator of County shared services and as a liaison between State and local agencies.
New Jersey’s Home Rule tradition is deeply rooted in its governmental agencies (565 municipalities, 23 in Atlantic County). Both residents and office holders have been reluctant, to say the least, to give up local control and jobs, and to confront “special interests”.
Earlier sharing proposals, countywide systems of property assessments and dispatch services, fared badly. However, there seems to be more interest now, an awakening to the advantages of such agreements and a greater awareness of the capacity of ever-improving technology to better serve taxpayers financially and operationally.
Such successful sharing agreements are between/among willing, voluntary partners and supported by an informed public confident in the numbers being presented.
At the 2/17/21 meeting Brigantine’s City Council passed unanimously a Resolution, “to join in exploration of a feasibility study of the potential for successful shared services to be conducted by the county for a countywide shared municipal court system.
The manager is authorized to take all necessary action to allow for support of the City’s participation in assessment.”
This was the right thing to do. We ask City Council to keep taxpayers informed fully of developments.
Sincerely, Anne H. Phillips, Brigantine Taxpayers Association