407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
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Bridging the Gap
Between the Municipality
and the School Board



Richard J. DiLascio
By Richard J. DiLascio
Mayor, Township of Lyndhurst

See Caption Below
(Left to Right), Brian C. Haggerty, Commissioner; Ronalg Grillo, Lyndhurst Board of Education; Ralph Rosenberg, DMR Architects; Joseph Abruscato, Commissioner; Robert B. Giangeruso, Commissioner; Paul A. Sarlo, Senator; Thomas A. Di Maggio, Commissioner; Joseph Cutruzzula, LBOE; Mayor Richard J. DiLascio; Stephen Vendola, LBOE; Joseph Abate, Jr., Superintendent of Lyndhurst Schools; Lloyd A. Rosenberg, DMR Architects; and Henry B. Ossi, DMR Architects break ground on the Lyndhurst Youth Community Center and Board of Education Offices.

In these times of rising taxes and budgets cuts, shared services can save taxpayer money while still providing the resources necessary to maintain a successful community. Shared services is not a completely new concept, but inter-municipality cooperation has long been hindered by New Jersey’s traditional “home rule” governmental approach, which has prevented both regional shared service projects, as well as intra-municipality shared service projects. Long relegated to the sharing of services such as landscaping and snow removal, municipalities such as Lyndhurst and their boards of education are beginning to realize the huge advantages of out-of-the-box thinking.

We’ve expanded shared services to include the sharing of facilities and land. By sharing facilities, Lyndhurst has been able to expanded facilities, while at the same time avoiding exorbitant expenses. The cost savings alone on a shared building make the prospect of constructing two separate facilities wasteful.

Shared service facility projects can be any semi-compatible services provided to the residents of the community. Examples include community centers, day care facilities, libraries, senior housing, office space and athletic facilities and fields. A large portion of a municipal budget is allocated to the school budget, so by the very nature of fiscal cooperation, shared service facilities are inherently beneficial. However, in the past such an intra-municipal approach to facilities has failed because of a lack of communication and a solid, working relationship between the board of education, departments and the municipality itself.

Traditionally, school districts face a number of challenges in creating or expanding facilities including community approval, lengthy construction time and cost of bonding a project. Through a shared services approach, school business administrators can shift debt from the school budget to a municipal budget. In turn, this type of cooperation provides municipalities with greater access to grants, including the “Safe Street to School” grants provided by the Department of Transportation, “Green Acres” grants and community development grants. This additional funding, which otherwise would not be available to a board of education, can be used to offset costs. In addition, school boards eliminate the need for a referendum, minimize financing fees, expedite the financing and approvals processes and gain access to additional building sites not otherwise available.

Most recently in Lyndhurst, the township’s leadership teamed up with DMR Architects in a shared services initiative that will result in a building that will house both the municipal-sponsored Lyndhurst Youth Community Center and the Board of Education’s offices. We both benefited—creating a compromise that did not require any losses on either side.

Our Board of Education is receiving a centrally located administrative office directly on the campus of Lyndhurst High School and the township is developing a new youth center on land it did not have to purchase. The Township of Lyndhurst used Bergen County Improvement Authority money to fund the project—a source of funding unavailable to the school district alone. This resulted in a streamlined financing and approval process and shorter turnaround time. Finally, it provided our taxpayers over $100,000 in yearly savings in rent for the Board of Education. In addition, the township’s share of the project costs were reduced $850,000 due to a partnership with a developer. Given the success of this initiative, we are exploring even more shared services opportunities in Lyndhurst, including a proposed community pool and proposed new Pre-K and day care facility.

Opportunities like these exist wherever forward-thinking individuals come to the table to seek out a mutually beneficial solution. With the huge benefits that can be realized in shared services, more municipalities should adopt this approach. It just made sense for Lyndhurst and can make sense for additional municipalities as well as for tax-paying residents throughout New Jersey. NJLM - Bridging the Gap

407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
Change Font Size
Larger
| Smaller
Bridging the Gap
Between the Municipality
and the School Board



Richard J. DiLascio
By Richard J. DiLascio
Mayor, Township of Lyndhurst

See Caption Below
(Left to Right), Brian C. Haggerty, Commissioner; Ronalg Grillo, Lyndhurst Board of Education; Ralph Rosenberg, DMR Architects; Joseph Abruscato, Commissioner; Robert B. Giangeruso, Commissioner; Paul A. Sarlo, Senator; Thomas A. Di Maggio, Commissioner; Joseph Cutruzzula, LBOE; Mayor Richard J. DiLascio; Stephen Vendola, LBOE; Joseph Abate, Jr., Superintendent of Lyndhurst Schools; Lloyd A. Rosenberg, DMR Architects; and Henry B. Ossi, DMR Architects break ground on the Lyndhurst Youth Community Center and Board of Education Offices.

In these times of rising taxes and budgets cuts, shared services can save taxpayer money while still providing the resources necessary to maintain a successful community. Shared services is not a completely new concept, but inter-municipality cooperation has long been hindered by New Jersey’s traditional “home rule” governmental approach, which has prevented both regional shared service projects, as well as intra-municipality shared service projects. Long relegated to the sharing of services such as landscaping and snow removal, municipalities such as Lyndhurst and their boards of education are beginning to realize the huge advantages of out-of-the-box thinking.

We’ve expanded shared services to include the sharing of facilities and land. By sharing facilities, Lyndhurst has been able to expanded facilities, while at the same time avoiding exorbitant expenses. The cost savings alone on a shared building make the prospect of constructing two separate facilities wasteful.

Shared service facility projects can be any semi-compatible services provided to the residents of the community. Examples include community centers, day care facilities, libraries, senior housing, office space and athletic facilities and fields. A large portion of a municipal budget is allocated to the school budget, so by the very nature of fiscal cooperation, shared service facilities are inherently beneficial. However, in the past such an intra-municipal approach to facilities has failed because of a lack of communication and a solid, working relationship between the board of education, departments and the municipality itself.

Traditionally, school districts face a number of challenges in creating or expanding facilities including community approval, lengthy construction time and cost of bonding a project. Through a shared services approach, school business administrators can shift debt from the school budget to a municipal budget. In turn, this type of cooperation provides municipalities with greater access to grants, including the “Safe Street to School” grants provided by the Department of Transportation, “Green Acres” grants and community development grants. This additional funding, which otherwise would not be available to a board of education, can be used to offset costs. In addition, school boards eliminate the need for a referendum, minimize financing fees, expedite the financing and approvals processes and gain access to additional building sites not otherwise available.

Most recently in Lyndhurst, the township’s leadership teamed up with DMR Architects in a shared services initiative that will result in a building that will house both the municipal-sponsored Lyndhurst Youth Community Center and the Board of Education’s offices. We both benefited—creating a compromise that did not require any losses on either side.

Our Board of Education is receiving a centrally located administrative office directly on the campus of Lyndhurst High School and the township is developing a new youth center on land it did not have to purchase. The Township of Lyndhurst used Bergen County Improvement Authority money to fund the project—a source of funding unavailable to the school district alone. This resulted in a streamlined financing and approval process and shorter turnaround time. Finally, it provided our taxpayers over $100,000 in yearly savings in rent for the Board of Education. In addition, the township’s share of the project costs were reduced $850,000 due to a partnership with a developer. Given the success of this initiative, we are exploring even more shared services opportunities in Lyndhurst, including a proposed community pool and proposed new Pre-K and day care facility.

Opportunities like these exist wherever forward-thinking individuals come to the table to seek out a mutually beneficial solution. With the huge benefits that can be realized in shared services, more municipalities should adopt this approach. It just made sense for Lyndhurst and can make sense for additional municipalities as well as for tax-paying residents throughout New Jersey.

 

 

Article published in November 2006, New Jersey Municipalities

 

 

 

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