Monmouth County continues to grow in its leadership role in the field of shared services. We have been successful in streamlining operations and centralized administration in an effort to reduce the burden on Monmouth County taxpayers.

            To demonstrate our dedication to this effort, we created a central office of shared services to centralize and standardize programs, increase efficiencies in administration and improve business processes. These efforts have played a strong role in eliminating redundancy and waste throughout the public sector allowing for the most beneficial and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

            We have successfully built new partnerships with 53 municipalities and several counties throughout the state resulting in one of the most far reaching and highly developed shared services programs in the nation culminating in over 300 shared services agreements, millions in estimated savings to taxpayers and over $10.1 Million in new recurring revenue streams thus far. We now are expanding our shared services partnerships with many school boards as well. Monmouth County citizens can see three areas of savings and increased efficiencies; at the municipal, county and now at the school board level.

            The Office of Shared services in Monmouth County, of which I serve as Freeholder liaison, continues to grow in a tradition of strong leadership and national recognition.

            A groundbreaking new Monmouth County shared service which serves to streamline operations and reduce costs in the field of online property tax services, has been recently recognized by one of the most prestigious institutions in the public sector; the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation. They are pioneering our work to increase the efficiency of the property tax administration process. As further evidence of the effectiveness and growing importance of shared services nationally, I am pleased to report we have also been contacted by Cumberland County, ME and a southern Province in Canada seeking to use our shared services program as a model as they now explore the creation of advanced shared services initiatives of their own.

             Additionally, we continue to see massive growth in our state of the art MOD4 shared service. As one of the fastest growing areas of shared services, with almost 100% participation, we have 47 of 53 municipalities streamlining their assessment operations and saving on administration, time and paperwork costs. This shared service saves approximately 50-65% on the municipalities annual costs.

            We are now exploring a pilot program to offer this shared service to other counties throughout New Jersey. This is an opportunity for other counties to duplicate and create their own system while they increase convenience, streamline their processes and save approximately $400,000 to $600,000 of taxpayer money. Asbury Park has saved over 65% through this shared service. We also have had tremendous success with our online digital records management program.

            Of course, I can not discuss shared services in Monmouth County without mentioning our continued leadership in public safety communications shared services. We continue development of a state of the art communications facility that will serve as a state and regional model.

            Just as an example, Asbury Park has stated they will save over $500,000 in the first year and over $300,000 in subsequent years. Freehold Township stated they will save over $430,000 per year by switching to the county dispatch shared services program. The smaller municipalities like Spring Lake and Sea Girt have stated they have saved between $100,000 to over $200,000 per year.

            We are extremely proud of our leadership and the recognition of our successful shared services initiatives in Monmouth County, and have no intention of resting on our laurels. In fact we are presently developing many new shared services initiatives that we intend to offer to our municipal and county partners going forward to help further reduce the tax burden on New Jersey citizens.

            Specifically, we have launched new technology initiatives to directly meet a timely demand after super storm sandy wherein Monmouth County now offers digital data back up services for municipalities. We also help them save on computer and software purchases through accessing existing county contracts. Other new initiatives in development include potentially offering our municipal and county partner’s safety training courses, a continuously updated GIS system and also a state of the art digital countywide emergency alert system.

            While we understand and are fully aware that not every shared service will be a good fit across the board, we remain confident that as stewards of the public’s tax dollars we must and will continue to grow Monmouth County’s shared services programs which have proven to be a model of excellence throughout the state.

 

  • Tom Arnone is Freeholder Director, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders