TRENTON – Legislation asking voters in the November 2011 election to make it easier for municipalities to share municipal court services was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The resolution (ACR-81) would amend the state Constitution to change how regional or shared municipal court judges are appointed in New Jersey.
“This is a great opportunity to remove a significant barrier to municipal service sharing and help create property tax relief by streamlining local government and cutting costs,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).
Judges in a single-municipality municipal court are appointed by the mayor and council of that municipality, but the state Constitution requires judges of joint or regional courts to be appointed by the governor.
“As a practical matter, many towns choose not to share judges because the appointment process if far more cumbersome and time consuming. That’s why we have so few shared courts, even though they can help save money,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester).
Voters rejected the plan during the 2008 general election, but Wisniewski said he hopes more understanding of the law will lead to different results in 2011.
The bill was released 6-0 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
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