TRENTON — The Murphy administration and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Local Government Services announced July 7 the awarding of 20 Local Efficiency Achievement Program grants to local governmental entities across New Jersey. These grants, totaling $2.478 million, will help local governments pursue shared services initiatives to reduce taxpayer costs and enhance services. Union County received a $50,000 County Coordinator Fellowship Grant, which supports the hiring of a full-time county shared service coordinator to identify and advance potential shared services within the county.
“The award of LEAP grants this year shows the continued commitment Gov. Murphy and I have made to advancing shared services among local governments in New Jersey,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “Shared services can and do work. We look forward to seeing the progress local governments make with these grants, and we hope more communities take advantage of these grants in future funding rounds.”
“Helping local governments succeed is at the heart of the Division of Local Government Services’ mission. Without a doubt, this grant program advances our mission by giving local governments financial assistance in both studying and implementing shared services opportunities that reduce property taxes and solidify the services on which people rely,” DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez said. “LEAP is a worthwhile endeavor that our division is proud to administer year in and year out.”
To support local governments’ interest in shared services, DLGS established the Local Assistance Bureau, which provides technical assistance for each step of the shared services process from identification through implementation. The LAB team is composed of municipal professionals who possess expertise and accumulated knowledge, skill sets, and insights to bring an inventive and professional outlook to the field of municipal shared services. Additionally, in 2018, Murphy appointed Nicolas Platt and Jordan Glatt to serve as shared services czars.
“We are very pleased that local leaders are utilizing LEAP grants to examine ways to benefit their constituents, and we stand ready to assist them in this meaningful work,” Platt and Glatt said in a joint statement. “Partnering with the Division of Local Government Services, we’ve made considerable progress in helping communities see the value and benefits of shared service agreements. We appreciate having the LEAP program as a trusted tool we can use as we continue our work.”