Brigantine could save over $100,000 by joining an Atlantic County-wide, municipal court system. So, what’s the hold up?
What’s keeping Mayor Sera and Brigantine City Council from reducing taxpayer liability by embracing shared services?
A group of 8 Atlantic County municipalities have already signed up so far, including the 3 biggest; Galloway, Egg Harbor and Hamilton Townships. Even Ventnor joined in.
Atlantic County expects to have the county-wide municipal court system up and running by early 2022.
As more municipalities join, the greater savings for each.
Preliminary studies of the proposal reveal that all Atlantic County municipalities, including Brigantine, operate their municipal courts at a loss.
The following are excerpts from a post by the Brigantine Taxpayers Association.
Shouldn’t providing a public service effectively at the least cost be a priority for municipal governments? Shouldn’t opportunities for public discussion in person on an important issue with the involved parties be welcomed and used? We think so.
New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the nation.
How can we lower taxes, while still providing significant benefits to taxpayers? Better services at a lower cost.
Why not consolidate certain government services? Get rid of costly and unnecessary duplication. A countywide municipal court system has been proposed by Atlantic County. It has generated lots of interest and a willingness to participate.
New Jersey has a Home Rule tradition. NJ has 565 municipalities with a reluctance to give up local control with accompanying local jobs. Past efforts to consolidate have failed; county dispatch service, countywide property assessments. Today, there is greater awareness of the common-sense benefits of consolidation.
Those who work in New Jersey’s judicial system, like judges, have long advocated consolidation.
The New Jersey Legislature already passed a bill to make stuff like this possible.
Initially, Brigantine City Council wanted to research such a system. But now, Brigantine Mayor Vince Sera and Council have cold feet. Not even Councilman Rick Delucry is stepping up to support this cost saving plan.
A Sera appointed committee claims there are still too many unanswered questions, thus the hold-up.
To date, Brigantine has yet to accept Atlantic County’s offer to discuss the issue in public. So why not advertise the meeting? Invite the public to come and participate.
Brigantine City Council was asked to do just that. Mayor Vince Sera ignored the recommendation. He refused to make such a commitment.
County Executive Dennis Levinson says: ‘It appears many towns are more interested in maintaining status quo than attaining significant savings.’ Partisanship isn’t an issue. Both parties are supporting this program.
Transparency. By refusing to take such an obvious step inviting the County to present its case in person to the Council and the public and answer all questions, Brigantine misses an opportunity to be transparent and present a convincing position in opposition to this program.
Anne H. Phillips, Brigantine Taxpayers Association. 8/11/2021