Sussex Freeholders message is Spend, Spend, Spend

Sussex County Freeholders are feeling pressure, but won't acknowledge the public's needs.  At the Board's latest meeting, Freeholder Graham preached a message of spend, spend, spend (1:19:30).  This was met by comments from members of the public -- in particular Byram activist Harvey Roseff (who speaks at 2:38:00).  The public's mood is clear:  Cut spending and lower taxes.

Some of the Freeholders behave as if no savings can be found.  But as members of the public -- average property tax payers -- have pointed out again and again, there are huge savings that are easily found.  Potential savings from the operations of the 911 center is something that the Freeholders have refused to address and that the Herald should discuss.  The issue has surfaced many times.  The Sussex County Community College (SCCC) is another area for potential savings, but the Freeholders appear shy about addressing it and the Herald hasn't covered it.

Freeholder Graham is still defending a rudderless, redundant 911 center packed with what Roseff and others (like NJ Watchdog's Mark Lagerkvist) have identified as "double-dippers".  The 911 center gives towns like Lazzaro's  Fredon pretty much a free ride.  No police department has joined the County 911, which was supposed to be implemented to save the taxpayer money through a county-wide consolidation. Instead we have more centers now!  While it may have started out as a good idea, the implementation appears to have gone off the rails. All this center has now are some small town fire departments that provide cover for what has become a costly, poorly implemented boondoggle.

As Roseff recently noted:  "Double dippers rob jobs from our youth and lead to more foreclosures.  And orphaned facilities like this one end up costing huge amounts in on-going technology upgrades that deliver little benefit as their cost is not distributed properly.  If this center was closed, all the calls would be answered, just as they were before.  Huge savings would result from its closure and an inefficient, uneconomical kingdom would be dismantled."

According to Roseff's research, towns in this 911 center used to pay $30,000 to $40,000 yearly to the other 911 centers.  The County stole them away for around $10,000.  It's costing about $1,500,000 to run the center,  yet the participating towns in the County 911 only contribute approximately $100,000.  And as the contracts come up for renewal, they are not increased to even the proper economic competitive cost they were paying before!  The rest of the county taxpayers have to foot the bill for this, just as they do for solar.

It's a simple answer the call, dispatch a service system.  No real high technology service here, it's been successfully done for decades. Roseff and others suggest that by closing the county 911 service or merging it, there will be huge savings.

Watchdog invites other opinions on this and will be glad to publish them.