Courts In Pascack Valley Could Merge
Officials in numerous area towns are researching the potential savings of sharing their courts in one location.
Westwood, Washington Township and Hillsdale officials met recently to discuss the possibility of sharing municipal courts to save money.
Some of the shared costs would likely include court personnel like the judge, clerk and bailiff, according to Washington Township councilman Steve Cascio. Only one of the towns would host the court, which would be upgraded with a metal detector and secured seats. Cascio said the plan is still in preliminary stages and the full costs need to be determined before they can move ahead.
While the details still need to be worked out, Cascio said the goal is to get the best service possible for the best price.
"We're just trying to cut cost and give taxpayers the best bang for their buck," Cascio said.
Hillsdale officials are also considering entering a shared service agreement with River Vale or with Woodcliff Lake, Montvale and Park Ridge to share courts with them. Those three towns already share a court in Montvale. Hillsdale Councilman Douglas Frank said the borough had undergone a study to see what would be involved in setting up a shared court a few months ago.
"We're looking at every possibility," Frank said.
As talks continue between Westwood, Washington Township and Hillsdale, Cascio said they might pursue funding from the prosecutor's office or county. Previously, the towns had considered a grant form the prosecutor's office to look at shared emergency dispatching, though that ended up falling through.
The towns are still considering a variety of options for shared dispatching services. Westwood officials have proposed temporarily hosting Washington Township's dispatching, and the two towns have also been looking into creating an independent dispatch center with Old Tappan and River Vale.
Bergen County also offers a dispatch service. The Washington Township Council voted in favor of pursuing an agreement with the county in May, though Mayor Janet Sobkowicz said she would not sign a deal with the county.
Hillsdale officials announced Tuesday they would likely keep doing their own emergency dispatching with civilians.