Harrison Township Committee tables resolution for tax services

Shared-services agreement faces minor hurdles before passage.

At its most recent public meeting, the Harrison Township Committee decided to table a resolution that would have allowed the municipality to enter into a shared-services agreement with an adjacent township for tax collection services.

Due to regulations regarding personnel and the pension system for employees who have been re-hired by the township, the governing body on Feb. 16 opted to wait until a future meeting to fully address the legislation. Plans were to enter into a pact with Lower Alloways Creek Township in Salem County. 

”This is something that we’d been working on for several months now,” explained Dennis Chambers, deputy township administrator. “We have Shelley (Michelle Allen), who has been our tax collector for many many years. She resigned a couple years ago when she had some health issues.

“We went through a process for a period of time when we were trying to hire another collector,” he added. “And we were not successful.” 

Chambers added that potential candidates to fill the position on a full-time basis were not up to snuff, and Shelley later agreed to come back and work for Harrison on a part-time basis, two days a week, after she made a full recovery. The township later hired a deputy tax collector (Kathy Donatis), who was in the process of taking the tax collector’s test and had not yet passed.. 

Thus, the township began investigating shared service. 

“(Allen) is also a tax collector for LAC. But her resigning from our town created some issues with her pension,” said Mayor Lou Manzo. “She could not come back to us full time and enter back into the pension system.” 

Chambers revealed the township does not yet have an agreement ironed out with Lower Alloways, but would finalize one shortly. 

“Basically we’d be paying Lower Alloways Creek a fee to utilize their on-staff tax collector. And so, she’ll be working here more than she’ll work anywhere else,” Manzo stated.

The issue is expected to be addressed at the committee’s next public meeting  on March 1.

In other news

  • Council member Julie DeLaurentis told her fellow township administrators that there is a desire to hold Harrison Township Day, traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday in May. Manzo said “crunch time” for a decision on whether or not to hold the event would be the last week of March
  • DeLaurentis also mentioned that the township’s Easter Egg Hunt will go ahead on March 27. It will be socially distant.
  • John Williams, committee liaison to Harrison Township School District, said the district plans on a hard start for full day, in person instruction the week after Easter.
  • Jen Andiorio, resident and liaison to the newly-formed IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Advisory) board, said a survey would be released, through multiple platforms in the next 30 days, for residents to share their experiences regarding the ideals expressed in the board’s moniker.