SHARED SERVICES / TECHNOLOGY
PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT / SUSTAINABLE REVENUES
Municipal Efficiencies is published
as a service to the State of New Jersey
by the National Center for Public Performance (NCPP) at the
School of Public Affairs and Administration / Rutgers University-Newark
111 Washington Street / Newark, NJ
and may be forwarded to public officials and citizens
Dean Marc Holzer / firstname.lastname@example.org / 973-353-5268
BA / MPA / EMPA – Newark & Trenton / PhD
Sharing Services and Other Forms of Collaboration:
Efforts in Police Services
Consolidation Rejected by Voters
Wantage Township overwhelmingly defeated the consolidation referendum question in November 2009 to merge with Sussex Borough, the first consolidation effort to fail since New Jersey passed the Local Option Municipal Consolidation Act (N.J.S.A. 40A:65-25 et seq) in 2007.
Even though the final report of the Sussex/Wantage Joint Consolidation Study Commission identified $585,000 of savings annually following the recommended merger, this equated to a meager $57 annual reduction in the tax bill for the average home in Wantage after the tax rate was combined and equalized with that of Sussex Borough.
Consolidation Study (pdf)
Police Services – The Biggest Nut
These projected savings did not include any savings from the consolidation of police departments, almost always the largest cost item for a New Jersey municipality, because both Sussex and Wantage receive full police coverage from the New Jersey State Police. If the towns had been providing their own police, the savings from consolidation should have been larger. Consolidation of police services has produced cost savings in many other states. One of five studies - Literature Review and Analysis Related to Costs and Benefits of Service Delivery Consolidation among Municipalities
(pdf) - completed by Rutgers SPAA for the New Jersey Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization, and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC) lists examples of savings throughout the United States from shared services, including police services (see pages 15–16).
Other states have led the way on most of the police consolidations. Many elected officials in New Jersey, a state with a strong labor tradition, binding arbitration, and the highest population density in the country, feel that police consolidation is not achievable, even if they think it would reduce taxes for their residents. Two things that will change that belief are starting to emerge.
The second thing to emerge is the fact that there is a growing number of police collaborations and studies to achieve police collaborations. Even we were surprised, when we followed our nose after conducting some initial telephone interviews in September with towns in New Jersey, which we knew had studied or implemented police department consolidation. We talked to anyone (consultants, municipalities, trade associations, DLGS – NJ Division of Local Government Services), who our initial interviews disclosed might be active in police consolidation. This “snowball sample” showed a lot more activity than the reservations about police consolidation in New Jersey would suggest.
These collaborations are more comprehensive than what some consider the “no-brainers” of centralized or regional dispatch, lab analysis, or investigative services. Some of these department consolidations have worked, some have had problems, and some have been stopped by residents willing to pay higher local taxes to assure coverage with which they are familiar.
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So Many Local Crimes, So Few Cybercops to Help
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Broadband May Help Cities Compete in Economic Recovery
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More on Technology
For the latest in technology developments, including special web-briefings please visit www.pti.org
In times of financial difficulty performance measurement tools can provide valuable information that can be used to head off a complete crisis. One such example exists in the state of Washington. The Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) implemented a dashboard system and Stevan Gorcester, Director of the TIB, credits that system with providing him with data that has allowed him to make adjustments and resource decisions ahead of time and avoid a larger crisis than they could have been facing.
Resources for Practitioners
Performance measurement is a systematic management tool rapidly increasing in its use and sophistication. It is a dynamic tool that can be utilized by local, state, and federal government across a diverse range of service areas. Performance measurement addresses indicators of productivity, effectiveness, service quality, and timeliness. Overall, the aim of performance measurement is to provide data that can be utilized to inform management decision-making from allocation of scarce resources to program delivery design.
Performance Measurement Dashboards
The Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network connects groups of citizens, government officials, public and nonprofit managers, researchers, faculty, and students who are dedicated to measuring, reporting, and improving public sector and nonprofit performance. The goal of the Public Performance Measurement and Reporting Network is to promote the use of valid, reliable data as a key element in improving the delivery of public services. The Network provides members with a comprehensive, online database of resources including articles, reports, performance measures, books, manuals, websites, and publishes a monthly newsletter, features a forum and a listserv where practitioners can interact with their colleagues around the country to find new information and solve problems, provides training opportunities, webinars on current topics, and more. Currently the Network has more than 3,000 members at the local, state, and federal level who are working in the field of performance measurement, reporting, and performance management. Membership is free and provides full access to thousands of resources. Join today.
The Government Financial Officers Association has some useful advice for public managers coping with fiscal stress. “Fiscal first aid” techniques are sorted according to the severity of the fiscal crisis. Examples of some low-risk solutions include conducting a lien sale and debt restructuring. Higher-risk solutions include wage freezes and the creation of special taxing districts. Each of these proposals has a link with additional information about the proposal, along with some of the costs and benefits associated with the approach.