County Included In Shared Services Pilot Program

Howell Township Municipal Building (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

MONMOUTH COUNTY – A new bill has been signed into law that will make entering into shared service agreements much easier, and adds Monmouth County to the list of participating counties.

Sponsored by Assembly members Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling, Vincent Mazzeo, John Armato, and Senators Vin Gopal and Troy Singleton, the bill adds Monmouth and Atlantic counties to the state pilot program: “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program.”

Established in 2013, the pilot program aims to “provide services in an efficient and cost-effective manner to local governments,” according to a release from Governor Phil Murphy’s office.

The “pilot counties” were designated as Camden, Morris, Ocean, Sussex, and Warren Counties. The new bill, A1100, makes Monmouth and Atlantic counties the sixth and seventh counties in the program.

“While many towns and cities across the state have taken steps to cut costs through shared services, the Legislature provided additional tools under a pilot program enacted several years ago that included five counties,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Making Monmouth and Atlantic counties part of this program will ease the process for towns and cities that want to share services where it makes sense and reduce taxpayer costs, making the counties more affordable for residents.”

The addition of Monmouth County to the program will allow various Monmouth County towns, including Howell, to benefit from it. According to Howell Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro, “The administration is always exploring new shared service opportunities.”

Nicastro stated his support for the new legislation, but added that no moves have been made just yet to act on it in Howell.

Howell has already entered into shared service agreements with other neighboring towns, including Colts Neck and Freehold, and is working on others.

According to Nicastro, “we entered into shared services with Colts Neck for mechanical services and exploring recycling shared service…[and] we currently have a shared services with Freehold Township sewer services and have some shared service agreements with the borough of Farmingdale.”

Howell is also in talks with Jackson Township to negotiate a shared service agreement with their Municipal Utilities Authority for a purchasing agent.

“Shared services and outsourcing in my belief are going to play an integral role for municipalities in controlling budgets and property taxes,” he added.