WOODBRIDGE – Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford, called on the Assembly to pass a shared services bill just like the Senate did.
Sweeney is the chief sponsor of S2, which calls on towns to share services or face corresponding state aid cuts.
Appearing with other legislative leaders at a New Jersey Business and Industry Association conference, Sweeney said he’s gotten flak from several Jersey Shore mayors, since he and conservative Sen. Mike Doherty (R-) support waiving beach fees, at least temporarily during the massive post-Sandy rebuilding. The mayors complained that eliminating the fees would make them lose a huge revenue source.
But Sweeney pointed out what former Assembly Minority Leader Leonard Lance said about fees: it’s another word for taxes.
Sweeney called on Jersey Shore towns to share departmental services and functions. He pointed out that several towns with Wildwood in their name each have their own police department.
“We’re nowhere close to being efficient,” he said.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) of East Orange, said her chamber is planning to take up the bill, but admitted the members have concerns with regards to civil service issues.
But Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick said it may not always be feasible for towns to share services, especially if a municipality is already well run.
“You look at it on a case-by-case basis,” he said.