Jun-16-06 DCA Awards First Ever COUNT Grant to Cape May County
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – At the 2006 New Jersey Association of Counties Annual Conference yesterday, Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin announced Cape May County as the first recipient of DCA’s new COUNT initiative. Cape May received $80,000 to encourage and promote shared services throughout the county.
“Around New Jersey, our public servants are demonstrating that sharing services can work,” said Governor Corzine. “We all need to find ways to save money without losing our quality of life, and I am proud of the steps that Cape May is taking to drive down costs and increase government efficiency.”
“As Mayor of Cherry Hill, I learned the benefits of sharing services and reducing municipal costs,” Commissioner Levin said. “Now, as DCA Commissioner, I am pleased the state can offer these incentives to our county and local governments. I commend Cape May for taking the lead on this new initiative to reduce costs and create beneficial local and regional collaborations.
”With its funding, Cape May will establish a new shared services coordinator position. The coordinator will identify and analyze opportunities to establish new shared services between the county, municipalities, school boards and other public agencies.
“I am extremely pleased that Cape May County is in the forefront of leading the movement to decrease local spending by consolidating services,” said Senator Nicholas Asselta. “I hope that the sharing of services will soon be a statewide trend, and I am proud that my district is leading this effort.”“
As a former Mayor and Freeholder, I am acutely aware of the importance of sharing and consolidating services,” said Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, who just won Legislator of the Year from the Association of Counties for encouraging shared services throughout his district. “Due to limited resources, the wave of the future will be sharing and consolidating, which will enable us to save money without harming the integrity of government and the services they provide.”“
Our constituents expect us to do more with less,” said Assemblyman Nelson Albano added. “If we don't reach that goal there will be an ever upward spiral of property taxes. I applaud Commissioner Levin and Cape May County for this undertaking.”“
Cape May County has always recognized the economic benefits and effectiveness of sharing services,” said Cape May County Freeholder Len Desiderio. “This grant will help us to be more active and creative in our efforts. We applaud this program and are grateful for the opportunity to continue to demonstrate the significance of this approach in providing tax relief and better services.”
COUNT is a component of DCA’s successful SHaring Available Resources Efficiently (SHARE) Program, which is funded through the New Jersey Regional Efficiency Development Incentive Program. SHARE grant assistance is available to help counties and municipalities that want to consolidate services for residents.
COUNT grants are tailored to a county’s needs and opportunities, and are available to counties who are ready to serve as a model for the expansion of sharing services. The program is designed to help county governments and countywide organizations identify the most promising services to share between towns, between towns and the County, and between towns and school districts. Successful programs include police and fire protection services, transportation and public works programs, animal control services, emergency dispatching and technology services, stormwater compliance efforts and shared municipal facilities.
Applications for COUNT and other SHARE grants are accepted on a rolling basis, and grant funding is flexible depending on proposed activities and work plans. Applicants receive preliminary notice of funding decisions within 10 business days of receipt of a completed application package. Visit DCA’s website at www.nj.gov/dca/lgs/interloc/intrmenu.shtml for more information.