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.
“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.