FREEHOLD, NJ - Is your town or school actively participating in shared services? It’s the best way to save taxpayer money and continue to provide important services.

To help further the shared services movement, Monmouth County is hosting a Shared Services Summit geared toward helping local government officials learn about the many ways in which they can work together to save money and still deliver important services. 

The summit is being held Oct. 5 at the Monmouth County Fire Academy, 1027 Route 33 East, Freehold. Registration is free, but space is limited. Register online at Click on the Shared Services icon and look for the registration link. Registration and networking will begin with refreshments at  8:30 a.m.

Towns, authorities, commissions, public schools and local emergency services departments are already sharing services to reduce costs and deliver services to residents. The county provides many key services and has recorded significant savings to local partners.

Earlier this year, the county surveyed municipal partners to find new ways to expand shared services. This comprehensive survey has helped us streamline our approach while directing our outreach, education and implementation methods to best serve the needs of our communities. 

Attendees will hear about successes, obtain a new Shared Services booklet that explains the county’s shared services program and meet face-to-face with county department heads actively involved in shared services who can help them get started.

They will also hear from Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who will provide an update on pending legislation and the importance of sharing services in the era of the 2 percent cap, and from Thomas Neff, director of the state Division of Local Government Services.

The 2 percent cap and rising institutional costs such as health care and pensions will make each budget cycle a challenge, but by working together we can tackle these difficult issues head on, help reduce the heavy tax burden on residents and preserve the high quality of life we all have come to enjoy in Monmouth County.

Hurricane Irene came through several weeks ago, but the effects of her wrath are still being felt.

Shortly after the storm was over, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had boots on the ground and opened a number of sites where people could go to file claims for their losses. Many people have taken advantage of that assistance.

To help businesses affected by the storm, Monmouth County held a free outreach seminar this week at the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) offices in Eatontown. The seminar targeted  business owners to show them how to apply for emergency preparedness training grants and workforce incentives. The information was very well received.

The seminar was hosted by the Monmouth County Office of Shared Services, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Monmouth County WIB.

After 10 years in the making, plans to build a new Monmouth County 9-1-1 Communications Center is getting under way. Last week, a groundbreaking was held to mark the event.

The new 45,000-square-foot center is being constructed behind the Police Academy off Kozloski Road in Freehold Township.

The present facility has been in operation since 1987 and can no longer accommodate the number of calls. It answers calls for 45 towns, Naval Weapons Station Earle and Fort Monmouth property, and dispatches for 10 police departments, 50 fire companies and 23 first aid squads. For the year 2010, the communications center received 643,070 calls. 

The new state-of-the-art building will cost $16 million and is part of  Monmouth County’s capital improvement plan. It will have the capacity to provide shared communications services to all 53 municipalities throughout Monmouth County at a cost savings to towns.

This shared service will increase public safety and efficiency since it will provide direct dispatch of resources and response time reduction. In addition, towns will cut costs by not having to pay for their own police dispatchers or purchase radio equipment.

Unlike the single radio frequency system used during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the new center will include an interoperability network system, which will allow all county and local responders to communicate with one another during large-scale emergencies. The center will also be home to the county’s Office of Emergency Management.

The center is expected to be in full operation by spring of 2013.

Finally, a job fair last week at Brookdale Community College drew 1,200 jobseekers and 100 companies. The event is a partnership with the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Monmouth County Workforce Investment Board, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Monmouth-Ocean Development Council, Jersey Shore Association of Human Resources, LADACIN Network, and Brookdale Community College.

Attendees were offered a free seminar entitled “Seven Secrets for Successful Job Search” by the Jersey Shore Association for Human Resources, and a free review of their resumes.

* Thomas A. Arnone is a Monmouth County freeholder.