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  • Writer's pictureJim Bertino

Perspective/5th District

Jim Bertino Commissioner 5th District Atlantic County

In this time where costs for everything we use every day continue to rise, from fuel to heat our homes or for our autos, we all face the challenge to stretch our finances and live our lives in the most efficient way possible.

Today there are many opportunities to save money if you consider using the approach of buying as a group, the products many of us use on a daily basis. Buying products in a group like Sam’s Club, BJ’s and many others are what many consumers are choosing to do to take advantage of that principal. You pay a membership fee to join and as a large group you can realize saving money on products you would need to purchase on your own. Many of the restaurants we all frequent have their own large buying group, the Delaware Valley Purchasing Group for one because it gives the total group the ability to save money.

So, it only stands to reason that the State of N.J., the county of Atlantic and even our local municipalities and school districts should come together and form groups to take advantage of purchasing products and services they need, that can save taxpayers their hard-earned dollars.

Here in Atlantic County, we have been providing all that want that opportunity to take advantage of this concept to purchase in bulk as a group, a chance to do so. For many years Atlantic County Government has been the lead agency for the Atlantic County Cooperative.

The cooperative is a group of governmental agencies, school districts and authorities in Atlantic County that come together to purchase certain items and services all can use.

Presently, there 18 municipalities, 24 school districts and three authorities as members.

Purchasing though the cooperative is on a voluntary basis and not all members participate in all purchases as a group, Locally, the Hammonton Board of Education is a member.

Some items the cooperative bids on are natural gas, milk and dairy products, bread and bakery products fuel and heating oil, gasoline and yellow sand, rock salt for our roads and some janitorial and lumber suppliers.

To make this idea and process even easier to implement for all interested parties in Atlantic County that want to utilize this type of service, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levenson had the vision and forethought to appoint a former mayor as Director of Shared Services.

Former Ventnor mayor Tim Kreischer brings his 16 years of local governmental service to this position. Mr. Kreischer utilized his knowledge of local government to negotiate many local agreements and knows what will work and not work especially in managing the State of N.J. Program known as LEAP Grants.

To encourage this type of agreements are successful the State of N.J. is offering Grants to municipalities that can show that by working as a group that taxpayers can save money working together. This program is the Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) these grants are available for many local projects and initiatives that show a benefit to both involved in the agreement. Mr. Kreischer has already helped the municipalities and school districts that have the vision to work with others accomplish their objectives.

Just as many citizens are using the group buying power that exists if you choose to use it to save your money, Atlantic County for years has always used the tools available to assist any group that look both inside and outside of your town borders and view common concerns all communities need to address. Atlantic County can be that conduit to your success if you only ask for help. After all, it’s your money and working to be as efficient as we all can should be an elected officials’ primary concern.

Jim Bertino


5th District

Atlantic County


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