$30 Million Saved in Regionalized & Shared Services 'We are doing something that Every Governing Body Should Be Doing'
(Mantua, NJ) - "Every dollar that is saved through a shared or regionalized service is money that government does not have to ask for from its taxpayers," stated Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney today at a roundtable event touting the county reaching the $30 million savings mark in shared and regionalized services.
"We are creating partnerships to deliver essential services to citizens in a way that no one else is doing. These savings are real and we need to keep retooling government in creative ways that encourage cost cutting," stated Director Sweeney.
"The bottom line is that government can save money by being innovative without impacting the quality of the services citizens use on a day to day basis. Gloucester County proves that point again and again and $30 million times," Sweeney said.
An analysis of Gloucester County's work in shared and regionalized services shows that County to Municipal savings is upward of $24,373,000, County to County savings is over $4 million and intra-county savings is over $1.8 million.
The $24,373,859 saved by the numerous shared services implemented between the County and its 24 municipalities save an average 18 cents off the local purpose tax. These are services that include 911 police/fire/EMS dispatching, tax assessing, stormwater management, EMS, trash disposal savings, animal control, deer carcass removal and health department inspections.
For example, in Franklin Township, without the county regionalized, shared services, the Local Purpose Tax would have increased by an estimated 19.75 cents.
"The direct result of the county's sharing services with municipalities saves an average of 18 cents off the local purpose tax," stated Freeholder Director Sweeney."This works because our local municipalities have bought in to the process and they understand it's a win for the taxpayers and their community."
Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe said, "The shared services agreements between the Borough of Glassboro and Gloucester County are integral to reducing the size of government and controlling taxes. Shared services have resulted in streamlined functions that do not sacrifice efficiency, while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars. The $2.3 million saved in Glassboro has allowed us to reduce our tax rate by more than 34 cents, and we look forward to forging even farther reaching and more creative agreements in the years to come."
Freeholder Deputy Director Damminger said that Gloucester County has also made strides in sharing services with other counties including Medical Examiner services, a shared Mental Health Administrator, Shared Public Health Officer, Juvenile Detention services, Female Inmate services and more that are saving over $4 million.
"Salem, Cumberland and Camden Counties all border Gloucester County. When we can reach across an imaginary boundary and save our taxpayers dollars we work to get it done," said Damminger."When it makes sense to partner with other counties to share staff, facilities, and equipment than we study it to make sure it works for Gloucester County."
One successful county to county effort is the regionalized juvenile detention services. Gloucester County is teamed up with near-by counties to provide detention services to juveniles. This regionalized service agreement promotes public safety while identifying the best care and conditions for the youth that enter juvenile court system, creating a cost savings of $1.8 million through sharing facilities and juvenile detention staff.
Gloucester County recently regionalized female inmate services with Camden, Salem and Cumberland Counties. Gloucester County sends incarcerated females to the facilities located in these partnering counties saving an additional $1.5 million
"We are in a position now where we are going to be generating revenue by performing services as well as saving money from sharing services," stated Damminger."In 2011 Gloucester County is going to be dispatching 911 for Buena in Atlantic County, something we have never done before but are totally capable of.. We will generate over $125,000 annually that will help save Gloucester County taxpayers money," said the Deputy Director.
The Freeholders also noted that over $1.8 million has been saved by Intra-county agency initiatives for shared services opportunities.
For the past 18 months the county has been focused on identifying areas to share within its own government and agencies that include the Library System, the Utilities Authority, the Improvement Authority, GCIT / Special Services School, and the County College.
"We know that shared administration works because we have been saving taxpayers over $1.3 million annual through a shared GCIT/Special Services School district since 2001," stated Freeholder Director."We have taken that model a step further and are saving an additional $1.8 million in shared administrative and operational costs between these agencies," said Sweeney.
Sweeney said, "We are doing what the taxpayers expect us to do, work together to find a better way to deliver services because our taxpayers are maxed out."