• The Hammonton Gazette

Letters to the Editor: County's Court Consolidation Plan



To the Editor:


Your column labeled the county’s court consolidation plan a “power grab” but omitted significant facts:


1. Atlantic County has no intention of consolidating municipal police departments.


2. Police officers will not be inconvenienced in having to travel to testify since all but the most severe cases (DWI or criminal remands) will be handled virtually. Virtual hearings will continue indefinitely in municipal courts per the directive from the Administrative Office of the Courts.


3. Any “wear and tear” on the municipal building with the use of kiosks will be far less than the building’s current usage by Hammonton and three other municipalities.


4. The proposed plan has been designed to provide considerable municipal participation and oversight, as a cost-saving, shared services partnership.


5. Hammonton taxpayers could save as much as 41.30 percent or more than $145,000 a year with only 17 of the 23 towns participating, according to figures provided by Hammonton.


I understand some towns do not want to relinquish control. Being able to appoint their judge and prosecutor is a sticking point. Ultimately, a town must weigh home rule versus taxpayer savings.


James Ferguson

Atlantic County Counsel

Atlantic City