Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney teamed with a group of mayors from across the state to jumpstart an aggressive campaign to promote shared services as the means to deliver real and sustainable property tax relief.
Sweeney was joined at a State House press conference by mayors David M. DelVecchio of Lambertville, Colleen Mahr of Fanwood, Timothy McDonough of Hope Township, Gary Passanante of Somerdale and Brian Wahler of Piscataway.
Sweeney praised the mayors as examples of municipal leaders willing to put taxpayers first by looking at ways to share services with local communities. But he noted the difficulties many mayors have had in bringing leaders from neighboring municipalities to the table.
Sweeney said the shared services push would do away with the state’s previous attempts at promoting shared services by simply providing pots of grant money for towns to access on their own. He also noted the mixed results of the state’s Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization and Consolidation (LUARC) Commission, which was created in 2007 to consider and recommend shared services and consolidations, but has yet to offer any concrete steps.
Sweeney also criticized the state Department of Education for saying it won’t take any action on implementing the school district consolidation plans submitted by executive county superintendents earlier this year, claiming the cost of feasibility studies is too high.