It’s happening all over the Garden State, local officials are increasingly looking at public-private partnerships as a way to save money while providing necessary services.

Bill Dressel, the Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says “This is happening up and down the state. We are seeing mayors and governing body officials looking at the traditional ways they provide municipal services – and thinking outside the box if you will – to see if there’s a different way, is there a more cost efficient way to provide that service.”

He says, “We’re seeing this with just about every traditional service that has been done under the municipal umbrella, if you will…For contracting out a traditional municipal service like garbage collection…they’re looking at all different options, and sometimes that means looking to the private sector.”

Dressel points out the idea is to provide a service “that everyone still wants and needs- and reduce the costs – which means a reduction, potentially, in property taxes…But it has to be looked at very carefully …with due diligence – it has to be closely evaluated, because you’re not just looking at reductions in cost, you also have to look at whether your citizens and your taxpayers are going to benefit from that service…You are responsible to your taxpayers and to your citizens, so it’s not only that you’re going to be able to provide it at a cheaper cost -you have to ensure that the quality of service and level of service is going to be equal or better than what was provided traditionally.”

He adds, “It’s not an easy decision. You just can’t think in terms of bigger is better- you can’t think in terms of – well- the private sector can provide that service cheaper and more efficient. No, you’ve got to be able to evaluate and be able to show your taxpayer and the citizen in your community that in fact that decision that you are making is in their best interests.”