Jackson hears details of shared services initiative


Jonathan Hornik Jonathan Hornik JACKSON — Joining with other municipalities to share services may be one key to keeping property taxes stable or possibly reducing them in the near future.

The topic of shared services was discussed at a recent meeting of the Jackson Township Council when Jonathan Hornik, the mayor of Marlboro, Monmouth County, addressed municipal officials and members of the public.

Hornik leads the Central Jersey Council of Governments (CJCOG), a coalition of Monmouth County municipal officials who are exploring ways to rein in costs.

Hornik was joined in his presentation by Marlboro’s shared services consultant and grant writer, Brian Valentino, who said municipalities could save up to 20 percent of their garbage collection costs if a regional means of dealing with that issue could be found. Another issue that has been discussed by the CJCOG is the ways to manage animal control.

Township Council President Mike Kafton said Jackson officials might want to consider joining the CJCOG. He said Jackson would retain its identity while linking up with other communities to more efficiently purchase goods and services.

During his comments, Hornik said that when he took office as Marlboro’s mayor in January 2008, everybody talked about shared service as something that was important and had to be achieved to get taxes under control.

But, he said, that would be difficult to achieve since there are 53 municipalities in Monmouth County and he does not have time to make more than 50 calls on a weekly basis to find out what the needs are of each town.

“It became very apparent to

me that we had to form an organization that we could [ask] other towns to come and meet with us in order to discuss shared service opportunities,” he said.

Hornik noted that there has been a tremendous drop in revenues coming into municipalities during the past few years.

“Tax collections are down,” he said. “Our vested income is down and our state aid is down tremendously. The only way to fix this problem is to consolidate costs.”

Hornik said shared services is what he calls the long-term goal in achieving tax stabilization.

He said 22 Monmouth County municipalities are members of the CJCOG. It costs a town $400 to join the organization.

“All we ask is that you show up and actively participate at the meetings we have,” he said.

Hornik said the initiative has already produced an agreement between Marlboro and Manalapan to share the use of the Marlboro Swim Club. The two communities are also sharing cell tower space and public works equipment.

A study is under way to determine if a regional garbage collection service could benefit the CJCOG members. There is also consideration of shared animal control services, he said.

Health care is another area in which it may be possible to realize some savings. With the cost of health insurance on the rise, there are nine or 10 municipalities that would like to get their own health plan, Hornik said.

“It’s all about pooling resources,” he said.