Thursday, March 7, 2013

Serving the Public

Imagine how the township would look if it was designed to serve the public?

In town hall, instead of an “Information Desk”, there would be a customer service desk manned by two people who could handle nearly every need. Want to file an OPRA request, pay your taxes or sewer bill, submit a variance request, or get a building permit, you could do it all at one place.

Have questions, not only could an Information Desk answer most questions, they already have printed guides. Want to challenge your property assessment but don’t know how? Common hurdles in getting building permits and sample submissions.

Imagine a town hall designed with a focus of serving the people. On the website would be links to proposed ordinances and regulations. A link to Monmouth County’s online tax appeal. Guidelines to hiring contractors and when variances or permits are required.

Sadly, you will have to imagine because it’s probably not in your future.

The township doesn’t post its budgets or much other useful information online and, if you want to do anything in town hall, you will likely need to go to multiple desks more than once.

As for the school district, spending is once again on a tear. In the three years I’ll have been gone, school spending will have gone up$9 million, increasing over 5% a year. At that rate, the district will crack the $100 million level in 8 years.

Then there are all the broken promises from Anchor Glass to senior housing to Aberdeen Forge to the transit village to the swim club. No doubt all the unwanted residential development is on schedule.

And when will the school district begin teaching computer programming?

So much potential. So much lost opportunity. This is how a town is punished for giving so much and asking for so little. 
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