Assembly OKs Measures To Make It Easier To Share Municipal Court Services

TRENTON – The Assembly on Monday approved separate measures that would make it easier for municipalities to cut property taxes by sharing municipal court services.

A resolution (ACR-88) would ask New Jersey voters in the next general election to authorize amending the state Constitution to change how regional or shared municipal court judges are appointed in New Jersey to save taxpayers money.

A bill (A-1566) would enable the constitutional amendment to take effect, if and when approved by the voters.

“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. Under the proposed measures, the selection and appointment of joint municipal court judges would be set forth in the agreement creating the joint municipal court, while central municipal court judges would be appointed by the county executive or county government body.

Voters rejected the plan during the 2008 general election, but the sponsors hope better understanding of the law will lead to different results this time around.

Both measures were approved 77-0 by the Assembly on Monday and now await further consideration by the Senate.

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