FREEHOLD — The borough school district may hire a private company to run custodial and paraprofessional services as a way to fill a $1 million deficit it could be facing, school officials said.
Ramsey – School board trustees on Tuesday, Jan. 25, unanimously approved a motion to begin investigating outsourcing options for the district’s custodial and management services….Nunziata said if the district decides to privatize custodial services, it could save about $1 million over the next two years. School officials said they reached out to the same outsourcing consultant the Ridgewood school district used in privatizing its custodial services and said the firm came highly recommended.
Almost half of all school buses and vans in the state are ordered off the road at their semiannual inspections for a violation deemed too serious to allow them to transport children, an analysis by The Press of Atlantic City of bus inspection records shows. Another third get 30-day violations for items that would not put children at risk. The inspection failure rates for some southern New Jersey school bus providers, including Integrity Transportation in Egg Harbor Township and First Student in Galloway Township, are among the worst in the state. At least 90 percent of both companies’ buses were put out of service during inspections last year….
– Click here to see the number of 2010 bus inspections and the percentage of failed buses placed out of service
– Click here for a searchable online database of 2010 school bus inspection results
A large number of New Jersey mayors say they plan to seek sharing services with other towns or their school districts or county governments in an attempt to meet the new state law that requires them to keep annual property tax hikes at no more than 2 percent. … Over 200 mayors made their views known in the annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ legislative priority survey. The results were made public Thursday….
…When asked what actions they will likely take to meet the 2 percent cap the mayors ranked them as seeking shared services, increasing fees, reducing services, seeking concessions from public employees, delaying capital improvements, increasing employee health care contributions, making lay-offs, reducing full-time staff, ordering furloughs, seeking employee salary givebacks, selling public property, examining government consolidation, and initiating accelerated tax sales.
The mayors ranked the obstacles to entering shared services with a neighboring town as savings not immediately realized, state laws or regulations, cost implementations, cost related to feasibility studies, demographics, and local politics.
2011 Legislative Agenda
Source: New Jersey State League of Municipalities
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The township is considering switching to a private trash collection company and took bids for the service last week, Public Works Director Al Simerson said Monday. Currently trash is picked up by the Egg Harbor Township Public Works Department….Simerson said he had discussions with other local municipalities that have made the switch to private trash collection, such as Ocean City and Hamilton Township, to see if savings would be possible. However, he cautioned that while those municipalities were able to save money, he is unsure if savings can be achieved in Egg Harbor Township….Simerson said the township asked for bids on two services; the automated collection of regular waste and the bulk collection of brush, wood, tires and metal. The three companies that responded with bids decided to bid only on the automated trash collection, leaving the bulk collection in the hands of the township.
New Jersey Transit Corp., operator of the third-largest U.S. public bus and rail system, selected seven teams, including ones led by KKR & Co., Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Capital, to bid for rights to lease the agency’s parking lots….Parking facilities include those in Princeton Junction, Hamilton and a 3,718-space garage at the Metropark rail station in Woodbridge. The teams will bid in March on how much they would pay New Jersey Transit for the right to operate and retain revenue from 81 parking lots and structures for 30 to 50 years….Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are also considering parking leases to raise money for budgets starved by a decline in general-fund revenue that was the largest since 1986 in the year that ended in June, according to the National League of Cities.
New Jersey’s stupid parking-privatization plan
Source: Felix Salmon, Reuters, December 15, 2010
After listening to dozens of comments, all opposed to outsourcing custodial services, the Montville Board of Education voted unanimously to eliminate 37 jobs and hire Cleveland-based GCA Services Group….The savings represent big numbers for the district which was badly damaged in the spring when it lost $3.2 million in state funding and almost another million cut by the Township Committee after the budget was defeated.
However, the parents who spoke on the subject didn’t see money as the issue. One reason was the spread of a packet prepared by the office of New Jersey Education Association field representative Vickie Walsh throughout the district. It chronicled seven news articles in which GCA employees were involved in illegal activities including stolen property, assault with a deadly weapon, rape and indecent exposure. Parents were passionate in their opposition to the outsourcing balancing with concerns about safety with the highest of praise for the current staff of custodians. Jason Jones, who has children attending Woodmont, said that a 10-minute Google search revealed that GCA employees had been identified as felons, rapists and molesters.
In Kinnelon a decision to outsource custodial services was avoided and an agreement reached that will keep the custodial staff onboard at least through June 30, 2011…Tevis said that GCA will be encouraged to hire as many of the downsized custodians as possible but according to Walsh at the $7 an hour salary GCA offers, most won’t be able to afford to sign on.
….. . Critics say the DEP appeared ready to let a private sector company decide when developers can build near wetlands or other lands protected by state law–something that has never been tried in any state. DEP officials say those fears are overblown, and have vowed not to bring any contractors on board before the end of June. The flap over the RFP has given Christie’s critics fodder for attacking his entire privatization agenda. It’s also raised questions about the process by which privatization happens. New Jersey is a state where unions have historically been powerful enough to thwart privatization. Now, Christie’s task force has put 40 programs up for consideration, and Democratic lawmakers have been surprised to learn that the executive branch can privatize many of them without legislative approval.
Source: By Janice Fine, Jeff Keefe and Julia Sass Rubin, Star Ledger (NJ), November 04, 2010, 6:24 AM
The Christie administration has placed privatizing significant portions of the New Jersey Turnpike workforce high on its to-do list, arguing that a private firm is likely to pay toll collectors two thirds of what they are earning now. To pave the way, the administration is waging a public relations campaign to impugn the integrity of toll collectors, maintenance workers and other Turnpike employees.
Based on our research and a review of privatization studies in other locations, we believe the administration’s Turnpike privatization objectives are “penny-wise but pound-foolish” in at least three ways.
Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), (NJ) September 28, 2010
New Jersey is now looking for private companies to review applications and draft permits for all of its land use programs, according to a request for proposal posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The five-year contract would radically extend Governor Chris Christie’s privatization agenda into regulatory decisions traditionally seen as inherently governmental.