Sharing Services, Sharing Costs, Saving Money
Residents often ask me what the Township is doing to reduce taxes and save money. One area where Randolph Township has really been a leader is in shared service agreements.
Cooperative agreements between local governments to share the cost of certain services or equipment can stretch tax dollars and benefit residents. These shared service agreements can help municipalities reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and eliminate redundancies. Randolph Township has several such agreements in place that benefit Randolph taxpayers.
Working with other local municipalities
For example, in 2014, Randolph Township determined that we no longer required the services of a construction official/building inspector on a full-time basis. Therefore, we entered into a shared service agreement with Roxbury through which their construction official would also provide services to Randolph, with associated costs allocated to each municipality. This arrangement saves both municipalities in terms of salary and benefits.
In addition, Randolph has entered into agreements to shares health services staff with Roxbury, Rockaway Borough and Mine Hill. The shared service agreements outline the public health services provided, the number of hours and annual cost for each municipality.
Randolph also has a shared services agreement with Mendham Township that allowed the Township to renovate the former Seeing Eye facility in Mendham Township on Ironia Road into a new animal shelter. Randolph also provides Animal Control Services to Dover, Rockaway Borough and the Mendhams through shared service agreements that outline the sharing of the time and cost of an animal control officer and other related services.
Working with the Randolph Board of Education
Randolph Township and the Randolph Board of Education also work closely to maximize efficiencies and save taxpayers money. For example, the public works vehicle maintenance garage facility located on Sussex Turnpike was constructed several years ago through an interlocal agreement between the Township and the Board of Education. Rather than build and maintain 2 separate facilities, the space is shared by the two groups and houses the Board of Education’s fleet of school buses and maintenance vehicles and the Township’s fleet of emergency, police and maintenance vehicles. The Township’s public works staff and the Board’s transportation staff also share office space at the facility.
The Township and the Board of Education collaborate in many other ways that benefit the community. One of the most visible, is the routine sharing of athletic fields and other athletic facilities as needed.
Municipalities have a need for specialized equipment in order to maintain roadways. Shared acquisition of this costly equipment that allows each municipality to have scheduled access to and use of the equipment can reduce costs to individual municipalities. While Randolph participates in many informal agreements for sharing equipment with neighboring communities, we have also entered into formal agreements. To reduce the overall cost of the equipment to the Township and reduce redundancies among local governments, we have jointly purchased equipment, such as an asphalt paver with Denville and Roxbury and a crack sealer with Jefferson. The formal agreements outline the schedule of use and the sharing of costs.
County and State Collaboration
For several years, Randolph has outsourced Emergency 911 and Dispatching services through a shared services agreement with the Morris County regional dispatch center. This communications center, located in Parsippany, now serves 26 Morris County municipalities as the primary agency to answer all 9-1-1 calls and to dispatch local police, fire and emergency medical personnel. This agreement offers cost savings and efficiencies for Randolph.
Randolph also participates in a joint fund for employee health insurance called the North Jersey Municipal Health Benefit Fund and in a joint property-casualty insurance program called the Morris County Joint Insurance Fund. These shared services programs allow us to have comprehensive insurance coverage in the most cost-effective manner.
Randolph is also the lead agency in a purchasing cooperative that presently includes over 210 public agencies in New Jersey. The joint purchasing shared services have saved the Township millions of dollars since its inception in 1974.
Randolph has benefited greatly from municipal shared services over the past several decades. The creative partnerships we have fostered have allowed us to maintain service levels while balancing the impact on taxes. Today the challenge remains the same and because of this the Township continues to explore new and alternative approaches to sharing services for the future.