Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 36
 
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
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Consultants Briefed as Administrators Host Consolidation Q&A

Dilshanie Perera

Representatives from five firms that may be prospective consultants for the joint municipal consolidation and shared services study came to the informational session last Thursday. The meeting was hosted by Borough and Township Administrators with the purpose of answering questions regarding the request for proposals (RFP), which is due on September 17.

Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi explained that the candidates were briefed on the “meeting structure, length of time, editing of the report, and the schedule” pertaining to the study, and that they spoke about deliverables.

“We indicated to them that we wanted biweekly updates in memo form, regarding where we are in the process … with complete updates on a monthly basis,” Mr. Bruschi added. The monthly presentations would occur during the open public meetings of the consolidation and shared services study commission.

Township Administrator Jim Pascale noted that the RFP was sent out to “25 firms on a list provided to us by the State.”

Commission members have looked at similar studies done by other New Jersey municipalities that have considered consolidation or that have consolidated. Currently, the group has received $38,000 from the state in the form of a shared grant to use toward hiring a consultant. Other avenues of funding are being explored, but it is likely that the municipalities will be asked to contribute the remainder of the funds needed.

Both administrators said it was too soon to tell how expensive the study will be, and that they would wait for bid prices to come in. Mr. Bruschi noted that in looking at the budget for the study that Chester Borough and Township did as well as those of other towns, he feels that it is likely that the shortfall is something that can be “handle[d] within the confines of the municipal budgets” of the two Princetons.

For now, “we’re just in a holding pattern until everything gets submitted,” Mr. Bruschi admitted. After the deadline, the commission will have 10 days to review the information and select candidates for interviews, which will begin at 4 p.m. on September 27 and will likely be open to the public.

The regular meeting of the Consolidation Commission will precede the interviews on Wednesday, September 22 at 7 p.m. at the Township Municipal Complex.

“This is the easy part,” Mr. Bruschi said. The next stage will be “the real time commitment.”

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