Eleven municipalities—10 from Burlington County, and one, Collingswood, from Camden County—joined Cinnaminson earlier this week for a shared services meeting to get cost-savings measure talks going.
Initiated by Cinnaminson Mayor Kathy Fitzpatrick, the meeting was something she'd had in mind for quite some time.
“It became pretty evident … our personnel was already cut to a minimum level,” Fitzpatrick said Thursday. “We needed to look to find more creative ways to find efficiencies.”
She said she asked for this meeting because shared services are “truly the way of the future.”
Ten other towns throughout Burlington County, including Moorestown, met Tuesday to get the ball rolling and listen to two speakers.
Collingswood was the only out-of-county town that participated in the meeting.
“The bulk of the discussion revolved around … ways we can work together,” Fitzpatrick said.
Although Fitzpatrick said no specific services were mentioned, the first meeting to discuss was the biggest part of it all.
“We’re looking at baby steps to see what the needs are, on a broader scope,” Fitzpatrick said. “Together, we have a voice and we can express what our needs are.”
Already, Cinnaminson has multiple agreements both locally and regionally, with the school board, sewer authority and even with the county. But with new shared services the township explores, Committeeman Anthony Minniti said each agreement must be looked at closely.
“Just because they are a shared service doesn’t mean they are the most cost-effective,” Minniti said.
Palmyra did a study involving looking into a tri-borough police force, joining them, Riverton and Cinnaminson. Results showed it would have been unsuccessful.
“The level of service would have decreased and costs would have increased,” Minniti said.
With that being scrapped, there are ways to keep the level of service and save money; Cinnaminson is exploring that farther.
“My goal is to keep the lines of communication open between municipalities,” Fitzpatrick said.
A second meeting will be held, the mayor said, and Cinnaminson may host again.
Of the meeting, Collingswood Mayor James Maley explained why the borough was the only Camden County town to attend.
"It was really for Burlington County, but we attended to see what ideas there were," Maley said. "There wasn't much. There are no magic wands."