7 Camco Towns Agree on Shared Services, But Not Shared Police
Municipal officials turn out in Haddonfield to launch a shared-services agreement.
Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley said Tuesday a recent construction emergency in his town fueled an effort to find a solution by cooperating with neighboring towns for shared municipal services.
"We had an old bank building and about 10, 200-pound marble slabs fell off the front of the building," Maley said Tuesday at a news conference in Haddonfield to announce a shared-services agreement between Collingswood, Audubon, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Mount Ephraim and Oaklyn.
"There were more that were hanging on the building. We couldn't get the owner to respond as quickly as I needed him to respond and I needed my construction code official to issue directives and orders and he was down in the Outer Banks (on vacation in North Carolina). This was one in which I needed his enforcement authority. This will plug that gap for us."
The building Maley was referring to is owned by Haddonfield Dr. Nicholas Depace. He had planned to use the building to house his world-renowned sports memorabilia collection, which includes a rare 1910 Honus Wagner baseball card.
The participating towns agreed to share a construction code official in the event of emergencies like the one Maley described. Officials also exchanged master lists of all municipal vehicles and public works equipment to share equipment and plan infrastructure projects without having to purchase expensive new vehicles. Each town will introduce a resolution to authorize an interlocal service agreement between them.
All of the municipal officials gathered for the announcement Tuesday declined to comment on the recently announced Camden County police force, another shared-services initiative launched by county freeholders to police the city of Camden. Maley spoke for the group.
"That's not what we're here for at all. We're not going to get into it," Maley said. "That's a completely different direction. The only county police force involved is a metro division for Camden. No other town, that I know of, has expressed an interest in being involved in it."
These towns already have several unofficial shared service agreements with each other that allow them to partner for tasks, rather than purchasing items or hiring new staff at additional cost. Municipal courts, fire service and trash collection are all examples of costs shared between some of these communities.
"There's great potential in seeing if road projects overlap or splitting the cost of an employee that several towns may only need part-time," Haddonfield Mayor Tish Colombi said in a statement. "This is just the first initiative. We will continue to look at ways that we can work together to see how we can run things more efficiently."