The township’s shared services and co-op programs are reviewed by Mayor Louis Manzo
One of the first concepts we are taught as children is sharing. Easier said than done between groups of 3-year-olds at times, right? But, we outgrow that childish behavior through our teen years and emerge as adults always seeking to share our knowledge and assets with those willing to do the same, correct? Ahhh, no, not always the case. When it comes to business, it only gets more complicated to share wealth and responsibilities, which is why partnerships or joint ventures are a challenge.
Those human realities are the backdrop to the municipal government world that quite frankly cannot survive without embracing the “sharing” mentality. Shared services, on every level, are a key component of our fiscal plan in Harrison Township and we are proud to be an example to other municipalities about how effective shared services work.
We currently participate in 14-shared services or co-op programs, eight of which have been implemented in the last several years. In fact, we will add our 15th shared service in the next month or so when we enter into an agreement with our fire district to hire a fulltime head mechanic for the township. The fire district will share in that cost since they will exclusively use our mechanic for maintenance of their vehicles also.
Until now, they would use private contractors for that need, which is costlier. This partnership is also a potential revenue source as other fire districts have expressed interest in paying to use this service, making it a triple benefit:
1. Less outlay of township money to pay for an employee.
2. Lower cost to the fire district to service their vehicles.
3. Additional township revenue for providing service to outside fire districts.
It’s a home run for taxpayers.
The other most substantial agreements already in place include our Trash & Recyclable Collection service provided by Logan Township and our participation in the county EMS program and the county tax assessment program. Our two most “out of the box” agreements are with Kingsway High School for our IT services and the Harrison Fire District for part-time laborers in our Public Works Department, eliminating our need to hire additional full-time employees.
Some of the shared service or co-op agreements that exist in most towns are a matter of convenience, like participating in the county rock salt program or using the same part-time electrical or plumbing inspectors. The fiscal impact is minimal. But, the agreements I mention here have a substantial impact on Harrison’s bottom line and, therefore, your local tax payment. How substantial? We save more than $250,000 a year because of these agreements.
We will continue to seek opportunities to lessen the burden on taxpayers through these relationships because our results prove the old adage: The more we share, the more we have.