Thursday, August 03, 2006

Getting NJ Property Taxes Undercontrol

New Jersey property taxes are the highest in the nation. New Jersey also has more mucipialities per square mile than any other state with 21 counties and 566 municipal governments.

Many think one way to control propety taxes is to share services. Consolidation and economies of scale would be reflected in real savings.

Pahaquarry Township merged into Hardwick Township in Warren County in 1997, and the state has nearly 700 shared-services programs involving local governments.

In Somerset County, 17 municipalities, 10 school districts and the county government saved $13.6 million last year through shared services. Manville, Bound Brook, Raritan Borough, South Bound Brook and Bridgewater for instance, share a daytime weekday ambulance service.

Politics, bureaucracy and a desire by residents to have their own schools and communities are reasons that consolidation isn't more widespread.

Elected officials are wary of proposing forced consolidation, and residents have often been hesitant to support it.

What do you think?
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