Regional meeting updates municipal partners about Superstorm Sandy recovery tools
FREEHOLD, NJ – Fifty representatives from Monmouth County municipalities attended yesterday’s Shared Services Regional Roundtable, a meeting to promote shared services as a way for municipalities, school boards and other governmental entities to save taxpayer money.
“Shared services is a critical tool in our Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts as well as our work to reduce the tax burden in our county and in our towns,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the
This Coastal Monmouth Region Roundtable introduced a new shared service opportunity available through the county’s Information Technology Department. A municipality can now make arrangements to automatically and regularly back up their vital digital records on the county’s secured and certified computer server. This service ensures a municipality of data access and retention in the event of severe weather emergency or a mass power outage.
“Many of our coastal municipalities lost data, internet and email access up to a month or so after Superstorm Sandy,” Arnone said. “This shared service seeks to minimize one more risk for our towns.”
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden gave a presentation about risk mitigation and best practices in emergency preparedness. The Sheriff and the county’s Office of Emergency Management continue to work with municipal emergency management coordinators to identify, standardize and improve key infrastructure throughout the county to strengthen municipal preparedness in preparation for future storms.
Nancy Malool, Director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services, explained to attendees some new ways to streamline their public procurement operations as a way to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and advance their recovery efforts while working through emergency regulations.
Attendees were provided a "share sheet" to help identify their immediate shared services needs.
“We want our municipalities to let us know what the county can do to support their needs – if there is a service that we can share with the state or a town, we want to know about it,” Arnone said. “The information will be reviewed and followed-up by the county’s Office of Shared Services.”
Monmouth County’s Shared Services have a proven track record of reducing costs and relieving budgetary stress while delivering and, often, expanding routine government services. For example, Monmouth and Middlesex counties share medical examiners and a juvenile detention facility.
“Sharing services produces immediate savings and, at the same time, helps preserve the value of our public services that contribute to the excellent quality of life we have all come to enjoy,” Arnone said.
The most successful shared service the county offers is its 9-1-1 Communications Center. The county is constructing a new 9-1-1 facility that will be able to provide dispatch services for all 53 towns when it opens later this year.
The center is being built behind the existing 9-1-1 facility on Kozloski Road in Freehold, which 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. The present facility can no longer accommodate the number of calls.
“We have a large volume of calls coming into the center,” Golden said. “This shared service will increase efficiency since it will provide direct dispatch of resources and response time reduction. Also, towns can cut costs by not having to pay for police dispatchers or purchase radio equipment.”
In addition to 9-1-1 dispatch, opportunities to share services include Planning Board assistance, Public Works commodity resale, Public Works municipal project assistance, cooperative purchasing, truck wash facilities, and the Records Information Management (RIM) Program, which allows local government entities to scan records into the county master database. Details can be found at the county’s Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com.
For more information, contact the county's Office of Shared Services by calling 732-577-8709. To learn more about the county’s shared services program, log onto www.visitmonmouth.com.