Shore towns consider consolidation

From the Asbury Park Press:

Towns want grant for merger study

Eight towns giving consideration to forming a South Monmouth Regional Police Department out of their individual forces plan to ask for a state grant so they can appoint a professional consultant to guide them through the process.

Representatives from the southern coastal Monmouth County towns of Belmar, Lake Como, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Spring Lake Heights and Wall, attended a recent closed-door meeting at the Belmar Fishing Club in which the matter was discussed, according to Belmar Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle.

Pringle said the towns agreed there was great value in studying the issue and learning more about the cost savings, but conceded that the towns may ultimately decide just to share services and not go ahead with full regionalization.

“There are also opportunities for saving taxpayer money even if all the towns don’t proceed with the regionalization model,” Pringle said. “There are a number of ways, short of full regionalization . . . sharing telecommunications and record-keeping for one thing.”

Two of the towns — Spring Lake and Brielle — did not send representatives to the meeting, although Pringle emphasized that it was a problem over scheduling rather than a lack of interest.

“Actually, what I felt myself, from the people who were there, was that they generally had an open mind,” Pringle said.

At a recent Lake Como Borough Council meeting, the new mayor, Michael B. Ryan, endorsed the regionalization effort.

The eight municipalities will now apply for a state Sharing Available Resources Efficiently, or SHARE, grant from the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services. The grant would be used to appoint Carroll Buracker & Associates Inc., a Virginia-based firm founded in 1985 that specializes in the efficiency and management studies of law enforcement agencies and other emergency services. The company has been retained for public safety consultant services by more than 160 local and state governments, as well as the federal government, according to its Web site.

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