Shared Services Grant of Nearly $2.5M Aims to Reduce Taxpayer Cost, Enhance Services
The Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) last week announced the award of 20 Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) grants to local governmental entities across New Jersey.
These LEAP grants, totaling $2.478 million, will help local governments pursue shared services initiatives to reduce taxpayer costs and enhance services.
The grant awards will support the County Coordinator Fellowship program underway in several New Jersey counties while encouraging the design and implementation of a variety of shared services activities, including public safety, emergency dispatch, sanitation, public works, transportation, and school feasibility studies.
“The award of LEAP grants this year shows the continued commitment Governor Murphy and I have made to advancing shared services among local governments in New Jersey,” said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “Shared services can and do work. We look forward to seeing the progress local governments make with these grants and we hope more communities take advantage of these grants in future funding rounds.”
The LEAP program comprises three grant opportunities:
- Challenge Grants, promote innovation and collaboration on more expansive projects that produce shared services of notable significance.
- Implementation Grants, which assist in covering costs associated with the implementation of shared services and school feasibility studies.
- County Coordinator Fellowship Grants, which support the hiring of a full-time County Shared Service Coordinator to identify and advance potential shared services within a county.
“Helping local governments succeed is at the heart of the Division of Local Government Services' mission. Without a doubt, this grant program advances our mission by giving local governments financial assistance in both studying and implementing shared services opportunities that reduce property taxes and solidify the services on which people rely,” said DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez. “LEAP is a worthwhile endeavor that our Division is proud to administer year in and year out.”
The following local government entities will be awarded 2022 LEAP grants:
- Atlantic County, County Coordinator Fellowship - $50,000
- Burlington County, County Coordinator Fellowship - $50,000
- Cumberland County, County Coordinator Fellowship - $50,000
- Hudson County, County Coordinator Fellowship, - $50,000
- Somerset County, County Coordinator Fellowship - $50,000
- Union County, County Coordinator Fellowship - $50,000
- Haddonfield Borough, Challenge - $75,000
- Absecon City, Implementation - $201,364
- Atlantic County, Implementation - $64,078
- Belmar Borough, Implementation - $243,750
- Bernardsville Borough, Implementation - $46,804
- Hudson County, Implementation - $250,000
- Longport Borough, Implementation - $56,250
- Mount Olive Township, Implementation - $112,500
- Plumsted Township, Implementation - $250,000
- Robbinsville Township, Implementation - $250,000
- South Orange Village Township, Implementation - $250,000
- Sparta Township, Implementation - $229,000
- Ventnor City (1), Implementation - $37,500
- Ventnor City (2), Implementation - $112,500
Total Amount Awarded - $2,478,746
To support local governments’ interest in shared services, DLGS established the Local Assistance Bureau (LAB), which provides technical assistance for each step of the shared services process from identification through implementation.
The LAB team is comprised of municipal professionals who possess the expertise and accumulated knowledge, skill sets, and insights to bring an inventive and professional outlook to the field of municipal shared services.
Additionally, in 2018, Governor Murphy appointed Nicolas Platt and Jordan Glatt to serve as Shared Services Czars, who are ready and available to provide guidance and support to local governments considering entering into a shared service agreement.
“We are very pleased that local leaders are utilizing LEAP grants to examine ways to benefit their constituents, and we stand ready to assist them in this meaningful work,” said New Jersey Shared Services Czars and former Mayors Nicolas Platt and Jordan Glatt. “Partnering with the Division of Local Government Services, we’ve made considerable progress in helping communities see the value and benefits of shared service agreements. We appreciate having the LEAP program as a trusted tool we can use as we continue our work.”
The DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.