Learn about our vision for Gloucester County
Message from Senate President and former Freeholder Director, Stephen M. Sweeney
Gloucester County looks for ways to share services whenever possible in order to provide first rate service and ease the growing constraints of local budgets. In Gloucester County every single program that can be shared with another government or regionalized is studied. In May 2007, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) awarded a three-year grant to the County of Gloucester to assist us in identifying, studying, developing and implementing new shared and regional programs.
Gloucester County is one of New Jersey’s 21 counties and within its boundaries it has 24 municipalities, 26 school districts and several fire districts. When there are redundancies across governing bodies, services cost more money than they should. Gloucester County seeks to promote cooperation between local governing units through the sharing of mutually agreeable services that would be beneficial to all. If sharing amongst governments can deliver services more efficiently and cost effectively while maintaining or improving quality, the county works to move us forward seeking creative ways to deliver services and maximize every dollar that is spent.
Hopefully you find the information on this webpage helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The mission of the Gloucester County Shared Services program is to proactively promote increased efficiency in the delivery of services while reducing the costs of local government through regionalization and consolidation efforts.
Current Shared Services
In September 2007, Gloucester County was the first in New Jersey to launch a regionalized county-based EMS program. To date, 13 of the 24 municipalities have joined the county service. Gloucester County EMS has saved the participating municipalities $2.6 million in avoided costs and markedly improved services through quicker response times, a crucial factor in this life saving responsibility. The coordination and implementation of this regional system has been made possible with the support of a three-year NJ Department of Community Affairs grant. Furthermore, an implementation grant from NJ DCA has also been awarded to the start-up capital costs associated with this program.
Also in the realm of public safety, the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Response went on the air December 29, 1980 as New Jersey's second centralized county communications center. Gloucester County has been providing dispatching services for fire departments and EMS since the 1980’s. Gloucester County’s Police Communications Center began operations on January 5, 2000 dispatching for 8 municipalities and the county Sheriff’s Department. Today Gloucester County provides police dispatching for all 24 municipalities along with the Prosecutor’s Office, SWAT & ERT Teams.
County Education Services
Since 2001 Gloucester County Special Services School District (GCSSSD) and Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT) have been sharing an administration, equipment, facilities and other staff, saving taxpayers $1 million annually. In 2008, they will also share a school board. The combined administrations of these school districts operate the county’s full-time technical school, an alternative school, the Bankbridge Special Services Schools for special needs students grades K – 12, and our new Bankbridge Development Center, a school designed specially for children with Autism.
In 2008, Educational and Disability Services were merged in order to provide a more seamless approach to regional planning, shared services and campus planning for our educational institutions and disability services now and into the future. The merger encompasses all educational services within the county as well as the county’s offices of Disability Services, Therapeutic Recreation Program, and Early Intervention. Realigning these services is the next step in creating seamless coordination between many entities who service many similar, and sometimes the same populations. This is especially important in creating a continuity of services for disabled residents and families from birth to adult.
In 2004, when NJDEP issued requirements for stormwater management to all municipalities, Gloucester County created a regionalized program where the county and its 24 municipalities worked together to eliminate the duplicative efforts of separate stormwater plans, equipment, materials and buildings.
Gloucester County, through the support of grant from the New Jersey Archives and Records Management, has set a long term goal of promoting and establishing municipal shared services per Gloucester County’s approved records management strategic plan. Since 2005, the county has put forth a concerted effort towards its own records management, and over the course of the last two to three years, expanded its efforts to the municipalities.
The municipal portion of this project is composed of two components, both of which are continuations of previously funded PARIS projects. The first component is the Prosecutor and Municipal Police Department Infoshare Imaging Integration Phase II. This component will allow the county to continue the integration of all municipal police departments into its imaging system, via the uploading of all police reports and associated documentary evidence into prosecutor files. Currently, three municipalities are integrated. Phase II will integrate the other twenty one municipalities.
The second component consists of continuing the county’s municipal needs assessment. This shared service component is entitled, “Records Purging Reorganization & Inventory Expansion,” and seventeen of the county’s twenty four municipalities are in need of this service which provides a detailed inventory of all records, the organization of records by series, the re-boxing and accurate labeling of boxes, and the destruction of records per the state’s retention schedule. The county believes that it is vital to established partnerships with its municipalities regarding records management, and this inventory expansion is the appropriate next step in meeting this philosophy.
The Gloucester County Animal Shelter (GCAS) became operational in July 1990 with the completion of the Animal Shelter building in Clayton. This department provides animal shelter services as well as animal control duties for the 24 municipalities of the County.
In the fall of 2006, the State of New Jersey stopped providing deer carcass removal to county and local roads. Since that time, Gloucester County has provided this service for its own roads as well as those belonging to all 24 municipalities of the County.
The Gloucester County Arson and Explosion Investigation Unit is primarily responsible for assisting in the investigation of all arson fires, suspicious fires, explosions and the manufacturing of explosives in conjunction with the Gloucester County Fire Marshal's Office. The purpose of the Arson and Explosion Unit is to work with the 24 local municipalities, county, state and federal law enforcement and fire agencies in order to successfully investigate and prosecute cases.
Run out of the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) is an elite special operations tactical unit that provides services to all 24 municipalities and the County. Members of the SWAT team are trained and equipped to perform high-risk operations, including serving high-risk arrest warrants, hostage rescue, armed intervention, counter-terrorism, and engaging heavily-armed criminals.
Each year since 2005, the County has offered to municipalities the opportunity to join in the Fire Inspection Services program utilizing the Gloucester County Fire Marshal as the Enforcing Agency for the New Jersey Fire Code.
In addition to the above described services, for many years, the citizens of Gloucester County have enjoyed regionalized health services and a library system. Furthermore, Gloucester County has also joined with other counties on shared services such as the merger of the Gloucester/Camden/Salem Medical Examiners.
Gloucester County continues to look for cost-saving measures. Gloucester County currently has three major initiatives in the works for shared services: countywide tax assessment, solid waste collection study, and feasibility of regionalizing juvenile detention services. All three of these initiatives are being worked by staff that is supported in part by the NJ DCA SHARE/COUNT grant.
Currently, the county is exploring implementing a county-wide Tax Assessors office, seeking to eliminate the need for costly revaluations to be done town by town and to create a fair assessment system where every town would be at 100% of true assessed value 100% of the time.
Gloucester County is also researching solid waste collection through the review of municipal practices and costs.
In addition, Gloucester County is looking into regionalizing juvenile detention services with a neighboring county.