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Time for a Serious Look at Shared Services


file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The New Jersey Business & Industry Association is supporting bill S-1 today, which promotes shared services and potential cost savings for local and county governments.

Continue reading Time for a Serious Look at Shared Services

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Bergen County Home Rule: Political Legacy or Luxury?


from the Bergen County Historical Society

New Bridge Landing NJ, Bergen County, New Jersey’s most populous county, is home to 70 municipalities and 79 school districts within 247 square miles. How did Bergen become America’s most “boroughized” county?

Continue reading Bergen County Home Rule: Political Legacy or Luxury?

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Mayors for “Main Street” Outline a list of Actions Needed to Help Reopen New Jersey


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Mayors for “Main Street” sent a letter to the Governor’s Office, Legislative Leaders, Legislative District Representatives and County Officials to outline a list of actions needed to help reopen and lift restrictions on businesses in their communities and help to alleviate the struggles that many residents are facing.

The letter lays out the following points that the Mayors believe appropriate and necessary steps:

Continue reading Mayors for “Main Street” Outline a list of Actions Needed to Help Reopen New Jersey

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Bergen County Pushes for More Shared Services

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco
file photo Boyd Loving
January 5,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Hackensack NJ, according to Bergen County officials for the past six months the county has been working to make it easier for our municipalities to borrow county owned equipment to meet local needs. These new shared service agreements allow the county to swiftly cut through the red-tape that was previously associated with these requests. These agreements are open to every Bergen County municipality and we encourage local leaders to pursue these opportunities if they have not already done so!
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Budget Basics: How New Jersey Spends Your Money



Richard F. Keevey | September 13, 2017

A series that details the fundamentals of New Jersey’s budget, as well as its current budget woes

Richard F. Keevey

This is the first in a multipart series outlining New Jersey’s fiscal fundamentals, written by Richard F. Keevey, the former budget director and comptroller for New Jersey and currently a senior policy fellow at the School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers University. The idea behind this series is to demystify some of the state’s financial challenges, and put them in context of the broader issues New Jersey faces. It’s also intended as a way to underscore the importance of state government in a year that will see a new governor and a new Legislature chosen by voters.

New Jersey has a strong central government. The governor has potent appointment and financial powers. New Jersey’s local governments like to tout their home-rule powers — and they’re correct in certain circumstances — but when it comes to municipal, county, and school finance the state’s powers and oversight are quite significant.

The office of the governor is viewed as the strongest in the country. Unlike many states, New Jersey’s governor (and lieutenant governor) are the only officers elected statewide, and all cabinet officers and principal state officials are appointed by the governor — unlike Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, for example, where several cabinet officials are elected.

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Municipal consolidation: Will it mean mergers or collisions?

shotgun wedding


Updated on September 3, 2017 at 8:02 AM Posted on September 3, 2017 at 6:30 AM

With an election coming up, we’re hearing a lot about consolidating towns and school districts as a means of solving our property-tax problem.

Before this goes any further, let me warn all involved about the nature of such transactions.

Consolidations are like weddings. There are two types: weddings of attraction, into which both partners enter willingly; and shotgun weddings, in which one party takes part only because of compulsion.

The latter describes one Monmouth County town that I covered in the waning days of the Corzine administration, Loch Arbour.

The elected officials of this charming little town by the sea entered into a mutually beneficial pact with nearby Ocean Township when they set up a shared-services agreement. They would send their kids to Ocean schools in return for a per-pupil payment of about $15,000 per year.

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N.J. school district merger sets good example

Ridgewood EA teachers protest

Updated on August 6, 2017 at 8:46 AMPosted on August 6, 2017 at 8:45 AM

By South Jersey Times Editorial Board

Please, someone, bottle whatever is in the drinking water in Elmer borough and Pittsgrove Township, and feed it regularly to residents and officials in at least 100 of New Jersey’s smaller towns.

Whatever is in the water of the two Salem County municipalities has given them immunity against a lack of common sense. As of Aug. 1, the Elmer school district is no more, having been integrated into Pittsgrove’s public school district.

This merger of not-quite-equals gives New Jersey one fewer school district, and it was accomplished without all the Sturm und Drang that usually accompanies even whispers about district combinations.

Pittsgrove and Elmer officials who drink the water have, thankfully, refused to drink the Kool-Aid that suggests New Jersey requires every school district and municipal government it now has. Vast quantities of this punch are usually served by teachers’ unions and municipal lobbying groups.

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Reader says Home rule has a price


Home rule has a price, especially when you have 500 plus municipalities. Cops per capita and classroom sizes are not outrageous or out of the ordinary. The administrative overlay is. How many chiefs of police compared to NYC which has a similar population to the garden state. School administration duplication is also over the top because of home rule. Unfortunately merging and regionalizing has been an ugly process here. Look at the games when Wallington and Carlstadt were discussing regionalizing with East Rutherford. It’s still about who is the king dog and who is willing to give up on some levers of power.

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Reader says it’s tough to end local rule

Village Council Meeting

file photo by Boyd Loving

511 municipalities. Home rule isn’t cheap. Delayering administration and management would yield tons. How many police chiefs in NJ vs. NYC, which have about the same population? How many superintendents? rationalize pay scales too. Unfortunately, it’s all aspirational…if you look at some of the school regionalizations that did not take place, a big reason was proportionate representation and cost allocation. It’s easy to sloganeer, it’s tough to end local rule.

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Reader says Municipal Consolidation Will Never Happen

Bomb Threat Closes Bergen Community College

file photo by Boyd Loving

Good luck – this hurts union jobs and so those thugs and their toadies in Trenton will say anything and everything to oppose municipal consolidation. Home rule allows for about 70% more police than we actually need, etc. But the unions lackeys will lie till their Pinocchio noses reach Pennsylvania telling us all how our safety is at risk without home rule. Look at Waldwick, Ho-Ho-Kus, Ridgewood, Glen rock and Midland Park: one police dept with one chief would suffice, but instead we have five chiefs and top heavy brass. Great for the unions, outright theft of taxpayers. It’s blue collar crime.

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New Jersey Needs to Consolidate, Candidates Say

ridgewood map


May 3, 2017 at 11:29 AM

FLEMINGTON, NJ –  The state’s property taxes are the highest in the nation, and they were also the target of the gubernatorial candidates who gathered here last week in a forum to discuss the issues facing Garden State voters.

The forum sponsored by Progressive Hunterdon Democrats featured three Democratic gubernatorial candidates and spokespersons for two others.

Debbie Wisniewski spoke on behalf of her husband Assemblyman John Wisniewski.

“There are nearly 1,400 different forms off government all with the authority to tax,” she said. “If we truly serious about property tax reform, then we need to get serious about … consolidation.”

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Reader talks NJ Pension Fix


…this has been a problem for almost 4 decades. I wish there was a magic solution. Sen Moynihan was trying to figure this out and commented how convoluted and arcane the process was. I would think holding our washington reps accountable and stop re-electing them unless they work to divert more money home would be a start. Our current congressman mentioned this in his campaign and is working to get some more money home…. the other part is home rule, which is our problem to fix. No one wants to regionalize so we have 500 plus municipalities of overlapping services. Yes the pension system needs to be fixed but people have to make our reps accountable, which except in rare instances like our district, is not happening today.

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Bill aims to merge NJ towns — even when they aren’t neighbors

ridgewood map

By Michael Symons March 27, 2017 9:58 PM

Ten years ago this month, a state law was enacted encouraging more municipal consolidations as a method for saving money and reducing property taxes.

In the decade since, there’s been just one merger – the combining of Princeton borough and township.

Now a less ambitious update to the effort is on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. It seeks to clarify some of the rules and tools though does include a few wrinkles – such as allowing towns to merge that are near each other but aren’t directly neighbors.

Sen. Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, said he doesn’t foresee a surge of municipal consolidations because of the bill – though he does think local voters will look at the prospects more willingly as costs keep rising.

“There’s no reason why two small towns next to each other or close to each other shouldn’t get together and try to save some money,” Gordon said.

Read More: Bill aims to merge NJ towns — even when they aren’t neighbors |

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Ridgewood Petitioners : respond to village council regarding timing of referendum question

abraham godwin ridgewood

April 1, 2016


Dear Village Council of Ridgewood-

From our attorneys regarding the referendum petition to repeal Ordinance #3521:

“We are confident that the bond counsel is wrong.  Bond ordinances are NOT controlled by the Faulkner Act or Walsh Act
or any other general act that gives NJ residents the right of referendum.  The right to repeal a bond is a right shared by ALL

New Jersey residents under the Local Home Rule Act, not just Faulkner Act towns.”

New Jersey Statutes Annotated. N.J.S.A. 40A:49-10 reads as follows:“Any proposition submitted to the voters of any municipality under the provisions of section 40:49-9 or of section 40:49-27 of this title shall be voted upon at the next general election held in

the municipality at least thirty days after the filing of the protest or protests herein provided for, unless the governing body thereof
shall call a special election therefor.”

If a special election is called, and $40-45,000.00 of municipal funds are used, that will be a choice that the Council alone makes, and for which
the Council alone will be held accountable.

Thank you.

Gail McCarthy & Lorraine Reynolds

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Breaking News Bergen County officials Are Seeking to Merge County Services With Cities Like Newark ,Paterson, Passaic and Jersey City

Van Nest Sq

December 3,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , the Ridgewoood blog has learned from what we’ve seen in other presentations that this means they want to make things ‘regional’ and that means you’ll pay for costs in other towns even though you don’t get a vote?  Bergen County officials are seeking to use your tax money to fund services in other jurisdictions .

The meeting was held at Bergen Community College on Wednesday December 2nd under the guise of “Uniting New Jersey: Cities and Suburbs Working Together”,hosted by Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco. The keynote speaker was Bergen Professor Phil Dolce, Ph.D., a noted suburban studies expert.

Bergen Professor Phil Dolce, Ph.D.,led a panel discussion featuring: Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino; Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera; Teaneck Mayor Lizette Parker; and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Phillips on strategies for bridging the divide between suburbs and cities.

This would answer a lot of questions as to why the made dash to urbanize down town Ridgewood .

this is the invite

Officials Will Discuss Suburb/City Relationship at Forum

Elected officials from some of North Jersey’s largest suburbs and cities, including keynote speakers Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, will gather at Bergen Community College to discuss how communities can enhance collaboration during a free and open-to-the-public conference Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The “Uniting New Jersey: Cities and Suburbs Working Together” program will begin at 5 p.m. with a light buffet in the Moses Family Meeting & Training Center at the College’s main campus, 400 Paramus Road. Along with the College, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and the North Jersey Public Policy Network will co-sponsor the event.

In addition to the keynote speakers, Bergen Professor Phil Dolce, Ph.D., a noted suburban studies expert, will lead a panel discussion featuring: Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino; Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera; Teaneck Mayor Lizette Parker; and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Phillips on strategies for bridging the divide between suburbs and cities.

For the first time since 1950, growth in urban counties has outpaced their suburban counterparts in the New York metropolitan area, according to a Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy study. Experts believe the shift could have consequences for suburban areas that depend on significant property tax revenue. Bergen County, a major suburb of New York City, remains the state’s most populated county with approximately 933,572 residents according to the federal government. The county’s population has risen each year in the last decade.

For more information on the conference, or to RSVP for the light buffet and/or conference, please