Red Bank signs on for county services

Boro can share services, opt into commodity resale


RED BANK — Monmouth County is reaching out to municipalities to promote shared services and commodity resale, spurred by the economic downturn.

The Red Bank Borough Council unanimously passed two resolutions supporting the municipal assistance/shared service and commodity resale agreements with the county at the Jan. 12 council meeting.

John W. Tobia, director of public works and engineering for Monmouth County, presented the program to the council.

In an interview after the meeting, Tobia said that in addition to presenting to local councils, the county is scheduling a joint meeting for all municipalities to attend.

“Under the new budget constraints being faced by municipal and government agencies, it makes a lot of sense to share resources to get cost saving and economy of scale,” he said. “By Monmouth County taking the lead, we can facilitate that.”

In addition to cost savings, Tobia said municipalities also have the ability of a quicker response from the county in the event of an emergent situation.

Started about a year and a half ago, the program has expanded since it first started, and he said it would continue to evolve.

The initiative is fully supported by the Board of Chosen Freeholders as a way of assisting municipalities during these economic hard times.

Tobia said the three parts of the program are the county cooperative purchasing program, the county commodity resale, and the municipal assistance/shared services program.

He said salt storage is among the services included in the program. The storage can be a large expense for municipalities, he said, adding that 14 municipalities want to avail themselves of the salt storage at the county facility.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said Red Bank spends in excess of six figures for the salt-related costs alone.

Tobia said other offerings from the county include, but are not limited to, traffic signs, traffic safety studies and emergency road closure signs.

“[It] costs municipalities no funds to sign up for the program. Depending on the service or commodity they decide to participate in, some items are at a cost, others are just an assistance,” he said.

Tobia said that during snowstorms, the county runs an emergency operation center snow room.

“[It will] allow municipalities to call into that room to get more precise weather information [and when] to bring their crews in or when to salt, [and that’s] free of charge to the municipalities,” he said.

Tobia said most municipalities have viewed these offerings as a positive step. He said this is a way for the county to be another resource for the municipality.

“We’re just another source for a commodity or service,” he said.

Tobia also said the county is not allowed to profit from services to municipalities and instead only charges the exact cost for services or commodities.