TRENTON, N.J.-Mercer County has received a $300,000 grant through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' SHARE Program to establish a new Office of Shared Services, County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced.
The County used the recently awarded COUNT grant under the SHARE Program (Sharing Available Resources Efficiently) to hire a full-time shared services coordinator, who is responsible for identifying areas for shared services and coordinating initiatives between county departments, municipalities, school districts, and other local agencies.
"We are pleased that the state chose to award Mercer County this important grant," said Hughes. "My Administration held the first County Shared Services Conference in April as a way to kick-start how we can begin cost-effective and efficient sharing of resources. With this grant, we are moving another step forward in our mission to create a better coordinated government."
The overall goal of the Office of Shared Services is to establish substantial and long-term shared service agreements throughout Mercer County to help reduce the cost of local government to the taxpayer and improve the availability and efficiency of government services.
The office will work to identify areas where county and local government can work collaboratively to combine resources for more efficient and effective service delivery while at the same time helping to lower capital and operating costs for participating government entities, resulting in tax relief for local taxpayers.
This past January, the County surveyed municipalities on services they currently share and see potential for sharing, which helped identify significant areas for sharing services. Hughes said the County is currently conducting an inventory of equipment among municipal departments of transportation, which was one of the most immediate needs resulting from the survey.
The Office of Shared Services is also preparing for two feasibility studies through the COUNT grant, the first on a countywide Records Management and Storage Plan and the second on countywide Communications Network System Plan.
Other areas currently being assessed for shared services opportunities include a Disaster Recovery Plan, animal control, and emergency management.