The following information was provided by the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee.
Scotch Plains Democratic Mayoral Candidate Kevin Glover and Council Candidate Colleen Gialanella issued the following statement:
“In October 2009, nearly 3 years ago, a $50,000 taxpayer funded study was completed on the cost benefits of sharing /combining Scotch Plains and Fanwood’s operations, department by department i.e. Police Department, The Department of Public Works, Fire Departments etc. The study concluded that savings in the millions of dollars could be realized over time, specifically, thru forming shared Police and Department of Public Works departments.
While we do believe that the overwhelming majority of Scotch Plains residents would support a full merger with Fanwood, based on our attendance at all three of the Courage to Reconnect meetings, it appears highly unlikely that the proud residents of Fanwood would support such a merger. Had Mayor DePaola taken the time to attend these sessions, she too would be aware that an tremendous number of Fanwood residents turned out at each of the meetings to voice their objections to a merger of the two municipalities. As such, funding yet another study would amount to useless costs to the taxpayers of Scotch Plains, whom we all can agree, are already overburdened with massive property taxes.
To be clear, we have always supported the merger of the police and public works department, even when such ideas were not supported by the majority of the Scotch Plains governing body. We felt then, as we continue to feel, that working to find ways to drive taxes down, be it through greater purchasing power or the sharing of additional resources is the best and most immediate way to assist the residents of both communities NOW.
Today we are calling on the current majority of the governing body in Scotch Plains to begin a real discussion with our neighbors in Fanwood that will allow for the expansion of our mutually beneficial shared service agreements. Yes, we’ve made some progress on merging our police departments. Now, let’s work on a combined Public Works Department, a shared municipal court, and forming a joint purchasing department so we can provide real savings for taxpayers in both communities. Instead of waiting months or years to determine who will pay for yet another round of taxpayer-funded studies, we should be taking decisive actions and use common sense to move our two communities forward.”