PRESS ADVISORY 2012-02
Monday, February 27, 2012
LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES TESTIFIES ON SHARED SERVICES PROPOSAL
Earlier today, the League of Municipalities presented testimony to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on S-2. This bill would amend the statutes that created the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC), and grant LUARCC greater powers and duties regarding consolidation and shared services proposals. Beyond this, the bill would also remove many of the impediments to service sharings and consolidations, caused by terminal pay requirements, employee tenure provisions and Civil Service statutes and regulations.
First, we want to thank Senate President Sweeney and his staff for continuing to involve the League in the process. His leadership in promoting shared service is part of that commitment. By removing or reducing many of the roadblocks that increase the costs of shared services – things like terminal leave pay, civil service mandates, employee tenure requirements – many of the provisions in Senator Sweeney’s bill could reduce the costs and hurdles to shared services and consolidations, produce municipal savings and promote relief for our taxpayers. These provisions of S-2 give municipalities greater flexibility to implement shared services.
While we appreciate many of those provisions, we must oppose the bill, as currently drafted. Our opposition is directed solely at the taxpayer penalty provision in Section 9.f. of bill. Under that provision, the voters would be threatened with the diminishment of future CMPTRA funding, if they do not vote in favor of a LUARCC shared services recommendation.
Voters should hold elected officials accountable; not the other way around. We must oppose any proposal which would, on the one hand, allow the voters to express their will; but, on the other hand, inform those voters that they will be punished, if their will does not comport with that of a majority of the appointed members of the LUARCC. As taxpaying citizens of the State of New Jersey, our taxpayers must be allowed the unencumbered right to determine the future government of their communities. And they must be assured equitable access to the benefits secured by their own tax dollars.
We will continue to urge State Legislators to remove that provision. Funding for CMPTRA was promised to our property taxpayers, when those taxpayers were asked to relinquish the rights to locally assessed and collected property tax relief moneys from sources like the Bank Stock Tax, the Business Personal Property Tax, the Tax on Class II Railroad Property and other sources of revenue dedicated to local purposes.
For further information contact: William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director at (609)695-3481, extension 122 or 609-915-9072.
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