David B. Crabiel

MIDDLESEX COUNTY LEADS THE WAY



H. James Polos

The goal of providing more cost effective and smarter government, on the county level, has been triggered by Middlesex County government in a meeting in mid-September of elected and appointed officials from Middlesex, Mercer, Union, Somerset and Monmouth Counties in New Brunswick.

Middlesex County Freeholder Director, David B. Crabiel hosted the late afternoon session with the hope of starting to establish a cooperative consortium among the five counties that would allow for open lines of communication through which programs and services could be operated more efficiently through collective cooperation.

The gathering was considered a success by all who attended and has opened the door to further meetings at which time various programs will be targeted to determine how services can be expanded and improved through coordination of the multi-county approach.

Crabiel, chairman of Middlesex County's Finance and Administration Committee, has been during his tenure in office, a highly active proponent of increased county services without elevating tax costs to Middlesex County residents. Therefore, he immediately sensed the potential value of this multi-county government conference when approached with the idea by fellow Freeholder H. James Polos.

" Government needs to be smarter these days in providing expanded or more efficiently operated services to the taxpayers and developing a partnership with the other counties of the Central Jersey Region with similar or identical needs, might be the way to go," said Polos, adding, "now that we know they are all interested in this pursuit we are going to start working together."

Middlesex County and its municipal governments have already experienced success on a shared cost program created by Polos called Common Cents which allows for the purchase of bulk materials and some services through a preferred purchase price, often considerably less than established state contracts.

Director Crabiel said he views the potential of establishing county cooperative programs as a "win-win situation, in that the taxpayer will benefit through its creation as will the counties themselves by expanding their governmental resources and the sharing of ideas or new approaches."

Polos explained that his experiences in municipal government showed him the importance of utilizing resources to the ultimate, sometimes with the assistance of a neighboring government that shares identical needs.

After the meeting, Crabiel observed, "we are on the brink of providing newer and greater opportunities for our citizens through government operations."

Uppermost in the agenda will be purchasing, highway maintenance, law enforcement correctional operations and senior citizen programs.