BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ — A resolution on Tuesday's Bernards Township Committee meeting agenda would delays the township's municipal court operations to shared court system in Bedminster until about Aug. 1. The meeting, scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, will be open to the public, as well as being televised and viewable online.
Following a Township Committee vote on June 1, Bernards Township officially joined a Bedminster-based shared municipal court system that will be shared with three other Somerset Hills towns, already including Bedminster, Bernardsville and Peapack-Gladstone. At that time, the expectation was that the township's court cases could possibly move to the new location sometime around July 1.
The Bernards Township Committee vote was unanimous, with the goal of saving taxpayer funds. The shared services agreement should save Bernards Township an estimated $80,000 to $120,000 annually, Township Administrator Pat Monaco said in June.
The wheels were set in motion for the agreement more than a year ago, in March 2019, after Bernards Township appointed Judge Katherine Howes as the township's municipal court judge. Howes also is municipal judge in the shared court system that was already served by the three other towns. Negotiations temporarily faltered, but were recently resumed.
The shared municipal court, as outlined, will still operate as four separate courts, with Bedminster as the host municipality, according to the agreement.