County Police Consolidation Hitting Wall?
Report says plan approval is unlikely, as support seems to be hard to come by.
With a month left for the 21 municipalities in Somerset County to weigh in with their thoughts on a proposed police merger, it appears as though the support may not be there in the end to make it happen.
Officials in two of the towns reportedly have already said the plan to fold 19 departments into one isn't for them. Both Bedminster and Peapack-Gladstone have decided to turn away from the proposal.
A feasibility study released in April showed that a consolidated police department would save county taxpayers $44 million over the next 10 years. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R- 16th District) said that number may be a "conservative" figure. Ciattarelli sparked the consolidation study during his term as freeholder. The savings could range up to $100 million over the next decade, he said.
The pair of municipalities mentioned above aren't the only detractors from the proposed consolidation.
Watchung residents made a point to speak out against the merger last month, saying the $94 per year savings to residents by 2023 calculated by Watchung CFO Bill Hance wasn't enough to make it worth it. The Green Brook PBA also recently came out publicly against the merger, and Bernards Township Committeeman John Carpenter said his own initial impression is that his township would gain little from the arrangement.
However, there is at least one municipality reportedly on board. Bound Brook Mayor Carey Pilatois has said there is support for the plan, hoping to see it climb the decision-making ladder.
So what do you think? Do you believe the ends will not justify the means when it comes to consolidation? Or do you think the plan is one the county should implement? Vote in our poll below.