Posted on May 27, 2010
Every day, headlines scream about shared services, high taxes and redundancies in service delivery. While our current economic woes have taught us many lessons, perhaps the most significant is that – given our increasingly limited resources – the current model of providing services to residents of Bergen County is just not sustainable over the long haul. We love our home rule, but we don’t want to pay for it.
Bergen LEADS, the County’s premier civic leadership program sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, has examined the consequences of home rule since the Class of 2010 – of which I am a proud member- began its series of seminars last September. Every major theme we studied – from education to healthcare to government to public safety – was in some way affected by the fact that we have 70 municipalities with all the accompanying layers of government – and government employees – at both the municipal and County levels. In recent years, taxes and costs have spiraled out of control, and now taxpayers are demanding that something be done.
What, exactly, might that be? Well, the Bergen LEADS Class of 2010 is attempting to answer that question; members of the class will present their findings and recommendations at the Public Forum on the Future of Local Government on June 22, from 3-5 pm, at Bergen Community College. Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean will moderate.
As a member of the Bergen LEADS Class of 2010, I would like to invite all concerned citizens to attend this Public Forum, which we hope will be just the beginning of an ongoing conversation about how we can actually change the status quo, provide needed services and reverse the trend of Bergen County being too expensive for an average family to afford.