The State of New Jersey announced on July 7, that South Orange — as the lead applicant in a shared grant with Maplewood — is receiving a $250,000 Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) grant that will help defray the costs for forming the new South Essex Fire Department, a merger of the former Maplewood and South Orange fire departments that began operations on July 1.
From the State of New Jersey:
TRENTON – The Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) today announced the award of 20 Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) grants to local governmental entities across New Jersey. These grants, totaling $2.478 million, will help local governments pursue shared services initiatives to reduce taxpayer costs and enhance services. The grant awards will support the County Coordinator Fellowship program underway in several New Jersey counties while encouraging the design and implementation of a variety of shared services activities, including public safety, emergency dispatch, sanitation, public works, transportation, and school feasibility studies.
“The award of LEAP grants this year shows the continued commitment Governor Murphy and I have made to advancing shared services among local governments in New Jersey,” said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “Shared services can and do work. We look forward to seeing the progress local governments make with these grants and we hope more communities take advantage of these grants in future funding rounds.”
The LEAP program comprises of three grant opportunities:
- Challenge Grants, which promote innovation and collaboration on more expansive projects that produce shared services of notable significance;
- Implementation Grants, which assist in covering costs associated with the implementation of shared services and school feasibility studies; and
- County Coordinator Fellowship Grants, which support the hiring of a full-time County Shared Service Coordinator to identify and advance potential shared services within a county.
“Helping local governments succeed is at the heart of the Division of Local Government Services’ mission. Without a doubt, this grant program advances our mission by giving local governments financial assistance in both studying and implementing shared services opportunities that reduce property taxes and solidify the services on which people rely,” said DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez. “LEAP is a worthwhile endeavor that our Division is proud to administer year in and year out.”