Tag: consolidation

Ciattarelli comments on N.J. public workers having many jobs

Courier News -

Edward Kerwin’s name is familiar to those who follow municipal affairs. He’s the guy with eight public jobs (he used to have nine), pulling down a combined salary of more than $360,000 last year working as a part-time tax assessor in eight different towns in Somerset and Morris counties.

It’s all legal. And many municipal administrators — as well as some of these multiple job-holders — argue taxpayers are getting a deal because municipalities save money on health benefits and full-time salary costs by hiring another town’s official on a part-time basis.

In Hunterdon County, for example, several municipalities share a tax assessor (David M. Gill: $155,184; seven towns); a Municipal Court clerk and administrator (Cindy C. Hooven: $110,492; six towns); a municipal prosecutor (Robert A. Ballard: $106,378; five towns); a building subcode official (Kevin L. Fleming: $107,139; five towns); a tax collector (Diane Laudenbach: $173,759; five towns); and a judge (Joseph S. Novak: $108,509; five towns).

But some state lawmakers believe there are better ways.

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th District, says municipalities could save a lot more by consolidating services in a joint meeting or allowing county government to provide services. He’s introduced legislation to ease state regulations that make this difficult.

Jack Ciattarelli

“Rather than have three or four people dominating all the part-time jobs in Somerset County, we could have two or three full-timers that service all of our municipalities. That would be a huge cost saver,” he said.

“Ed Kerwin has enough time to be part-time in eight different towns for $360,000. One full-time person could be the tax assessor for those eight towns for $100,000 a year. He’s getting $360,000 a year not because he’s that good, but because he has eight part-time jobs,” he said.

Throughout the state, 540 public employees boosted their salaries last year with multiple government jobs that topped $100,000 — which will lead to sky-high retirement payments for years to come.

Highly paid multiple job holders took home $74 million in taxpayer money in 2014, down by just $3 million from 2013.

Despite a 2010 reform that only allows public workers to base their pension on their highest salary, current multiple-job holders are grandfathered in. The cost to the pension system if they retired tomorrow: $31 million a year. Times that by 15 years of retirement life, and the pension bubble balloons to nearly half a billion dollars, not counting cost of living increases.

Under the state’s pension system, projected to be billions in debt in the coming years, a public worker’s pension is generally calculated by using the average of highest three years of pay (just one year for veterans). So a pension booster who cobbles together a handful of high-paying jobs at the end of his or her career, will reap more of a reward than an employee with just one job for 30 years.

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Ciattarelli Bill Encouraging Municipal Consolidations Wins Committee Approval

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Legislation (A-1739) sponsored by Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli that provides towns with flexibility as they examine the potential for consolidation was released by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee today. This bill reforms the 2007 “Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act,” which is designed to encourage municipal mergers in an effort to control property taxes, but has led to only one consolidation in seven years.

Jack Ciattarelli

“New Jersey’s property taxes are the highest in the country and consolidation is an opportunity for towns to do something about that,” said Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex. “This bill gives towns latitude to overcome obstacles and seriously examine what is best for taxpayers. Flexibility and fairness are necessary in order to get past the conceptual stage of a merger.”

Courage to Connect NJ, a non-partisan organization that looks for answers to New Jersey’s property tax crisis, played an important role in developing the legislation. Its mission is to help develop short and long-term strategies for local consolidation.

“Consolidations shouldn’t be forced, but we can nurture the idea by removing barriers that prevent discussion,” continued Ciattarelli. “New Jersey’s property tax issue has been talked about for years. This bill helps get us past the ‘talking’ phase.”

The Senate unanimously approved the identical bill (S-316) in October 2014.

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Simon, freeholders and educators urge district consolidation

Hunterdon County Democrat -

A South Hunterdon board member and freeholders each spoke of the benefits of regionalization to the Joint Committee on Public Schools on Nov. 12.

Donna Simon

Introducing the hearing, Assemblywoman Donna Simon cited issues with curriculum changes and shared services as reasons for regionalization. The Republican representing Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Mercer counties has called for legislation introducing a task force looking into school regionalization.

“Each one are being taught curriculum at a local level, therefore there’s no academic seaming once they get to high school,” she said.

Simon said shared services, although commendable, are isolated and leave schools facing financial pressures.

From an administrative standpoint, the new district operates at $170,000 less than had the four schools remained separate districts.

Speaking to the commission, Freeholder Rob Walton said part of the challenge in school consolidation is figuring out who saves money and who doesn’t save money.

The freeholders had previously voted to encourage the merging of county schools into fewer districts by offering matching funds to pay for studies of such consolidations.

 

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Oroho-Space-McHose “Common Sense Shared Services Pilot Program Act” Signed into Law

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Assembly Members Parker Space and Alison Littell McHose, all R-Sussex, Warren and Morris, that creates a pilot shared services program in Camden, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren counties, was signed into law by Gov. Christie today.

“This measure gives municipalities another means to share services, which will in turn reduce costs and the burden on taxpayers,” said Oroho. “Local spending can be significantly reduced when towns have the ability to share services.”

The law, S-533, also provides that the affected positions are not subject to tenure in office and the designated incumbents may be removed from office in order to carry out a shared service agreement or a joint contract.

Parker Space

“Shared services is no longer just a concept in New Jersey,” said Space. “This pilot program will serve as a catalyst for other counties to follow and allow them to also reduce unnecessary and costly redundancies in government. Towns have consolidated and school districts are streamlining their structures. We are finally at the point where bureaucracy will not impede the efficiencies towns can implement that will help taxpayers.”

The new law also authorizes municipalities to enter into shared service agreements or joint contracts for joint meetings for paid fire protection purposes and allows for the preservation of the seniority, pension rights and tenure of every full-time firefighter involved.

Alison Littell McHose

“People are looking for solutions to a problem that is consistently ranked as their number one concern – property taxes,” said McHose. “The cost of government increases each year, with homeowners and businesses left to pick up the tab. This pilot program finally puts a concept into action. We will finally have empirical evidence that indicates this solution works and provides the savings taxpayers deserve.”

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Ciattarelli proposes new ways to ease merging municipal services

From: Courier NewsA Central Jersey lawmaker is proposing legislation that would it easier for municipalities to merge their services.

The bills introduced by Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th District, is among more than a dozen proposals in Trenton designed to either encourage or force school districts, towns and counties to share services as cost-saving measures.

Ciattarelli’s bills don’t require consolidation but would support regionalizing local health departments and tax assessment offices by cutting through job-protecting civil service rules and regulations.

Ciattarelli’s second bill, A4016, allows municipalities to voluntarily enter into a shared-service agreement for a municipal tax assessment and also allows a joint meeting or a county to assume tax-assessment duties instead.

This is Ciattarelli’s latest effort to urge ambitious shared-services.

Jack M. Ciattarelli

The former Somerset County freeholder was instrumental in developing a plan to merge the local police departments in the county. Despite projected savings of $44 million over 10 years, most municipalities balked at signing on.

“Home rule defined is each municipality deciding for itself if and when to regionalize its services,” Ciattarelli said. “However, regionalization won’t happen without reforming the current systems, such as civil service, and viable options are presented that provide tangible savings.”

 

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Ciattarelli to be Keynote Speaker at Consolidation Seminar

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th Dist., is to be a featured speaker at the third-annual municipal consolidation seminar, sponsored by Courage to Connect New Jersey, the non-profit, non-partisan statewide organization that highlights how merging towns into town clusters improves efficiency and savings.

The event, scheduled for June 5, will take place at Princeton University, at the heart of two communities that successfully consolidated on Jan. 1. The event is from 8 a.m. to noon at Princeton University’s Robertson Hall, Prospect Avenue at Washington Road.

Ciattarelli, Hillsborough resident, will be participating in a bi-partisan panel discussion titled “Elected Officials Discuss their Experiences with Consolidation.” The assemblyman will join State Sen. Robert Gordon, Hunterdon County Freeholder Rob Walton and Loch Arbour Mayor Paul Fernicola.

Jack Ciattarelli

“Sharing my thoughts about the benefits of consolidating government is something I look forward to with great anticipation,” Ciattarelli said. “There is no doubt that consolidating government translates into greater efficiencies and savings for taxpayers. I am pleased that Courage to Connect New Jersey remains focused on this important issue, and hosts this annual event to keep consolidation a key discussion point at the local level and in Trenton.”

From: Patch

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Ciattarelli part of bipartisan panel during consolidation seminar

The event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, will take place at Princeton University, at the heart of two communities that successfully consolidated on Jan. 1. The event is from 8 a.m. to noon at Princeton University’s Robertson Hall, Prospect Ave. at Washington Road.

Jack Ciattarelli

Walton will be participating in a bi-partisan panel discussion titled “Elected Officials Discuss their Experiences with Consolidation.” The freeholder will join state Sen. Robert Gordon, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Loch Arbour Mayor Paul Fernicola.

From: Hunterdon County Democrat

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CIATTARELLI/SIMON BIPARTISAN BILL WOULD STREAMLINE FINANCING OF TAXPAYER COSTS FOR MERGING MUNICIPALITIES

Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli / 908-450-7064
Assemblywoman Donna Simon / 908-968-3304

LEGISLATION WOULD MAKE IT EASIER FOR TOWNS TO CONSOLIDATE TO SAVE TAXPAYERS MONEY

             As merger costs specific to the Princeton consolidation begin to accrue, Assembly Republicans Jack M. Ciattarelli and Donna Simon said their bipartisan legislation is critically important to towns that need to finance one-time costs.

“The Princeton merger is a model for municipalities on how to lower property taxes through consolidation in New Jersey,” Ciattarelli, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex, said. “As expected, there are certain one-time upfront expenses necessary to achieving the long-term savings that consolidation offers. This bipartisan legislation streamlines the financing of those expenses, making the consolidation easier for local elected officials and less expensive for taxpayers. A bipartisan companion bill has already unanimously passed the Senate. On behalf of all municipalities contemplating merging now or in the future, and especially for Princeton, the time is now for the Assembly to act on this bipartisan legislation.”

Ciattarelli and Simon, who represent the merging Princeton Borough and Township, sponsor A-471, which would streamline the local finance board process for municipalities using special emergency financing to spread out the one-time expenses associated with the consolidation over five years.

Various one-time, up-front Princeton merger costs were recently detailed in story in The Times of Trenton.

“The path to long-term savings isn’t always a straight line and this will allow towns to step toward a future with smaller government at less expense for taxpayers,” Simon said. “When residents in two communities such as the Princeton Borough and Township vote to merge in order to keep more of their own money, our laws should help them overcome obstacles and encourage less government.”

A bipartisan companion bill, sponsored by Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Robert Gordon unanimously passed the Senate in May.

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Simon proposing law to let Hunterdon have part-time tax administrator

Donna Simon

Assemblywoman Donna Simon has joined the fight over whether Hunterdon County must have a full-time tax administrator.

The county Board of Taxation and the Freeholders have been at odds since last fall, following the death of Athan “Tom” Efstathiou, while attending a professional conference. He was county tax administrator since 1994.

Freeholder Director Rob Walton says Efstathiou, whose salary was $92,392, was paid too much, and that the county only needs a part-time tax administrator.

Simon, a Republican from Readington Township whose district includes parts of Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex counties, asks “Why pay three times in salary for half of the work load?”

From Hunterdon County Democrat

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Ciattarelli on police consolidation efforts in Somerset & Camden

The driving force in Somerset County is pressure to improve efficiency and reduce costs; Camden County officials say their chief concern is to put more officers on Camden streets. Somerset County has worked on its proposal for years, tried to keep police unions on board by rejecting layoffs, and produced a plan laying out the financial implications in detail. Camden County’s proposal is about a year old, and few details are clear except that numerous Camden officers would face layoffs.

Jack Ciattarelli

“In Somerset, we have the luxury of time, which has afforded us the opportunity to do a very detailed study that has been comprehensive,” said State Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli (R., Somerset), who chaired a finance subcommittee for the task force. “When you’ve had layoffs of the magnitude you had in Camden, it forces you to look at alternatives more urgently.”

From: Philadelphia Inquirer

 

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