SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – At the second regular meeting of the Consolidation Commission the bylaws were established and committees were set up.
On the meeting agenda was the topic of a fiscal agent. Both the Scotch Plains and Fanwood municipalities had been contacted to see if they would act as a fiscal agent. According to Don Parisi, the chair of the Commission, “I haven’t heard anything from either municipality, however I did hear from Scotch Plains that the item will be taken up at the next scheduled meeting, which is this coming Tuesday night.”
Scotch Plains Commissioner Sarah Dreikorn proposed a draft of a timeline for the Commission process. The outline took into account the entire process, including researching and obtaining study funding, a period for the study to take place, and making the study results available. The proposed timeline culminates in the commission vote in June of 2015. Ms. Dreikorn mentioned that “between now and June (2014) we need to write an RFP, circulate the RFP, figure out how much money we need, and somehow find the money. And then, as well, negotiate the contract. That’s not a lot of time.”
Next on the agenda was a discussion about the RFP. The commission obtained a copy of an RFP from Princeton, which merged two communities in 2011. “Clearly step number one is to get the RFP drafted,” Parisi said.
A committee of five members of the commission was formed to review the Princeton RFP, use it as a template, and draft an RFP for Fanwood/Scotch Plains.
The concept of shared services was the next topic. “What is happening with the police consolidation?” asked Pat Hoynes, the Courage to Reconnect Alternate Commissioner. There was discussion about where the townships were regarding shared services. When asked for a timeline as to when the townships might have some information that can be released to the public, Fanwood Councilman Jack Molenaar felt that it would be before the end of the year. Because the two towns are doing shared service studies, the commission would deal with consolidation, only.
Joe Nagy said that “consolidation in itself is a means but tax savings is the goal. There should be no reduction in services.”
Some of the factors that should be looked at are “the non-hard numbers, the intangibles, and how its going to affect the community” said Dan McCarey of Fanwood.
The next meeting of the Fanwood/Scotch Plains Consolidation Commission will be on Aug. 14. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Scotch Hills Country Club, in the Tucker Room.