Section: Insurable interest in goods; manner of identification of goods
1. The Legislature finds and declares:
a. The State of New Jersey currently has 566 municipalities, 616 school districts, and 186 fire districts, each with its own layers of local bureaucracy that contribute to the high property tax burden suffered by New Jersey residents.
b. Consolidating local units, structurally and administratively streamlining county and municipal government, and transferring services to the most appropriate level of government for delivery would help to alleviate the property tax crisis by reducing the administrative costs of local government and making the delivery of local services more efficient due to economies of scale.
c. Due to legal obstacles, conflicting interests, and local concerns about sacrificing community identity, current laws permitting consolidation of municipalities and sharing of services between local units are seldom used.
d. Tough political decisions are often most expeditiously made through the use of bipartisan commissions, as demonstrated by the success of the federal base realignment and closure (BRAC) procedure.
e. Municipalities and other taxing districts are creatures of the Legislature; however, due to the pervasive notion of "home rule" and the political conflicts inherent in mandatory consolidation, it is necessary and proper to establish a bipartisan commission to fairly examine the allocation of responsibilities among local units in order to determine: (1) which level of government is best suited to deliver a given local government service, and (2) when consolidation will reduce the property tax burden for pairs or groups of local units, and to make those recommendations to the Legislature for approval by the affected voters in order to make a serious effort to reduce the number of municipalities and other local units in the State.
f. Consolidation and mandates for increased efficiency in the delivery of services are complementary processes, as the former reduces the administrative costs of local government on an external level and the latter does so on an internal level.
g. Local governments must be trained to use performance measures for decision making, strategic planning, performance improvement, accountability, and communication, and rewarded for increased efficiencies that result from their use.
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