Party chairmen from both sides of the aisle backed consolidating local courts in Atlantic County Monday morning, urging local elected officials to regionalize to cut down on costs.
“We don’t agree on much, but on this issue of consolidating our municipal court system, we agree that it is needed and needed now,” Atlantic County GOP Chair Keith Davis and Democratic Chair Michael Suleiman said in a joint statement. “This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s about good government and saving money so municipalities can deliver on property tax relief and invest more in roads and infrastructure.”
State lawmakers last month approved a bill, sponsored by regionalization advocate Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), that created a pilot program to regionalize some local courts after a State Supreme Court working group found low case loads at more than 100 local courts.
A small number had no cases at all, though the state pilot program won’t go into effect until June of 2022.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, a Republican, has backed his own regionalization plan that has already seen pickup from some Atlantic County municipalities.
“We applaud municipalities like Galloway and Egg Harbor Township which have already voted in favor of consolidation and urge more towns to come together in a bipartisan manner to join the county’s consolidated court system,” the chairmen said. “When we get this done, we will demonstrate that Atlantic County is the place where Republicans and Democrats can work together to regionalize government for the betterment of all taxpayers.”