South Orange Village President Sheena Collum had the rare opportunity to break a tie on June 11 when she cast a vote to create the position of “interim tax collector” through the end of 2019 to serve as tax collector of Maplewood (Ordinance 2018-14).
“The Township of Maplewood has a temporary vacancy that they are intending to fill by a new CFO who is receiving their certification,” said Collum. “For the interim, they are asking for a shared services agreement which we are calling a contract for services.”
“We wanted a definitive term that we would be able to do this at least through 2019 to ensure that changes undertaken for one of our employees would be worthwhile,” explained Collum, “rather than having it run on a temporary basis for a short period of time which would not be favorable to the township [of South Orange] from a resources or financial standpoint.”
Collum reported that the Finance Committee reviewed the move but “did not opine on it as they did not think it was a finance issue.” Collum said that there was not a feeling of whether the contract for “roughly $100,000” was financially beneficial or not to the Township of South Orange Village. Rather she said, the agreement was “more about a partnership, a spirit of cooperation with a sister community.” Noting that Maplewood was helping South Orange with issues related to its municipal pool, Collum called the agreement a “sign of good faith.”
According to Collum, South Orange Trustees had already passed the resolution authorizing the contract. “This is the second part — creating the formal position,” said Collum.
The agreement raises the prospect that South Orange could continue to provide this service to Maplewood indefinitely — continuing a trend of shared services between the two towns, which are currently working to merge fire departments and already share a municipal court as well as some other services. Twice Collum noted that Maplewood “may or may not” have its own tax collector in future.
“At the point where Maplewood may or may not have their own in house tax collector, we can eliminate this position,” said Collum.
Trustees Howard Levison, Mark Rosner and Deborah Davis Ford voted against the ordinance; Trustees Walter Clarke, Steve Schnall and Karen Hilton voted for the ordinance. Collum broke the tie with an “enthusiastic yes.”