New Jersey has new laws designed to increase awareness about the efforts municipalities are making to share services and in the process save tax dollars in a state with one of the highest property tax costs.

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, R-Morris, sponsored one measure signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy that permits a town to include a statement on tax bills listing the number and type of shared services entered into by the municipality.

The statement can include the dollar value of the savings to the town from each shared service and the total amount of savings resulting from the shared service.

He said this will give local leaders “an incentive to share more services, but it also gives residents an opportunity to look at what their town is doing and perhaps come up with other services that could be shared.”

“Anything we can do to encourage municipalities to save money and pass it on to the taxpayer is a good thing, and we will continue to plug away," he said.

Another measure signed into law re-titles any public body providing essential government functions through a joint contract as a Regional Service Agency.

State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-Somerset, said the idea is to make it easier for members of the public to understand what their local leaders are doing.

“It’s about transparency, educational optics so that people realize that towns can share services and ultimately save the tax payers money,” he said. “It’s to get the information out there to municipalities, to let them know there is a benefit in sharing services.”

Bateman said this kind of transparency will hopefully promote shared services.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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