Regarding the Feb. 17 story, "Wildwoods may save by sharing services":

Refusing to charge beach fees and instead looking toward shared services to save taxpayer dollars is the right thing for Wildwood to be doing. I commend the city for putting taxpayers first and for giving a break to middle-class families looking to enjoy the beach. More towns up and down the Jersey shore must examine shared services as a way of both reducing their taxpayers' burden and making their beaches free.

Shared services and free beaches are two issues I have been advocating for in Trenton. Many of the towns that charge beach fees simply do not have to. They choose to impose fees as a way to tack on more revenue for their budgets. I believe New Jersey's great beaches belong to the people. That is why I sponsored legislation that would forbid any town that receives government Sandy aid from charging beach fees. The people are already paying through their tax dollars to restore the beach. They shouldn't have to pay again through a beach fee, which is just another term for tax.

There are dozens of small beach communities up and down the shore. They have their own town governments, police forces, fire departments, municipal services. It does not have to be this way. During these difficult economic times, government must do everything it can to reduce costs and shrink bureaucracy. Shared services are one way we can accomplish this goal.

I have introduced shared-services legislation that would result in taxpayer savings through the elimination of government redundancies. It would do so by creating concrete fiscal consequences for local government entities that refuse to enter into sharing agreements that would save money. For too long, home rule has dominated our way of thinking and prevented real savings. The times we live in simply don't allow for that kind of thinking anymore.

I hope other towns will look to the example Wildwood is trying to set. Their taxpayers can't afford for them not to.


Senate President

D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland