HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP: CGR municipal services evaluation looking good

Township is doing a very good job overall

By John Tredrea, Special Writer
   An independent evaluation of Hopewell Township’s delivery of municipal services says the township is doing a very good job overall, but could make some improvements by tweaking how things are done in Municipal Court, public works, employee benefits and other areas.
   That’s the conclusion of the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), a century-old nonprofit that was retained by the township to probe for possible new efficiencies in how the township takes care of its business.
   CGR representatives summarized their findings in a presentation at Monday night’s Township Committee meeting.
   Overall, CGR said, the township is right on the money in terms of getting things done in a cost-efficient way.
   CGR was founded in 1915, primarily with funds provided by George Eastman, a founder of the Eastman-Kodak photography firm.
   The CGR report is on the township’s website. The report states that CGR, after an in-depth investigation, has found the township to be “a well-run, efficient operation, providing responsive services with sensitivity to public resources.”
   The CGR did make a few recommendations on how to make the township’s delivery of municipal services more efficient. Among those suggestions are:
   — Reducing the staffing in the Municipal Court could save up to $70,000 annually and possibly free up staff for other areas of municipal services; and running Municipal Court on a daytime-only schedule could save $4,000 by reducing overtime pay.
   — Weekly or monthly work plans could result in more effective staff development and communication in the township’s Public Works department. The township might also make more efficient use of janitorial services provided by Public Works.
   — The township should “work toward reining in its retirement benefit promises in future collective bargaining agreements,” CGR advises.
   After the CGR presentation Monday night, Mayor Vanessa Sandom said the investigation of possible efficiencies should include the Township Committee itself.