Win-Win shared services agreement for both counties
Officials from the Counties of Bergen and Passaic have reached terms to a new agreement where the Bergen County Jail, will soon assume the care and custody of all Passaic County inmates.
The deal builds upon a temporary measure adopted by both administrations this past November that allowed Passaic to transfer 200 inmates to the Bergen County Jail to alleviate additional strains brought on by COVID-19.
The deal is mutually beneficial for both Counties and reflects a growing trend towards regionalization in corrections due to new public policies including bail reform. Passaic County will avoid spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on a new jail facility. By consolidating corrections operations with Bergen County, Passaic gets access to a modern facility, while allowing Bergen County to better utilize the jail, which has operated at less than half capacity as of recently. This deal is good for the taxpayers of both counties by bringing additional revenue to Bergen and significant savings to Passaic over the 10-year term of the agreement.
The County of Bergen anticipates receiving $18.9 million at minimum in the first year and expects to gross at least $195,457,500 over the course of the agreement. Passaic County is expected to save funds on liability and capital expenditures and reallocate law enforcement resources to better serve all its communities. It is the fourth shared services agreement between Bergen and Passaic Counties.
Under the new terms, the County of Bergen will receive a $104 per day for each inmate housed at the Bergen County Jail for the first two years. The rate is set to increase over the course of the 10-year contract, running through the end of 2031. Passaic County is authorized to transfer a maximum of 700 inmates to the Bergen County Jail and guarantees a minimum payment supporting the housing of 500 inmates at all times, even if the actual number of inmates dips below that agreed amount.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco explains how the shared service agreement reflects his overall governing philosophy, “As County Executive, throughout my time in office, the aggressive pursuit of innovative opportunities to share services, reduce duplication, and save money has been a chief priority. This new fiscally prudent agreement once again accomplishes that goal, further expanding our strong partnership with Passaic County and benefiting taxpayers in both regions.”
Passaic County Commissioner Theodore “TJ” Best added, “This shared services agreement makes sense for our taxpayers, corrections employees, inmates and the communities served by Sheriff Berdnik.” This is another example of my colleagues’ commitment to long-term planning and creating efficiencies within county government.”
“The shared service agreement will greatly enhance the continual operations of the Passaic County Jail while ultimately saving money for the County taxpayer. This agreement will not only add efficiencies but will ultimately enable the Sheriff’s office to put more police resources on to the streets of our County,” said Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik.
“I welcome this new agreement with the County of Passaic, which will soon allow us to maximize the footprint of the Bergen County Jail,” said Sheriff Anthony Cureton. “Benefiting both the taxpayers of Bergen and Passaic Counties, this shared service agreement provides adequate housing and court access in proximity to Passaic County, while maintaining care and custody in Bergen County’s accredited corrections facility.”
Bergen County Commissioner Chair Steve Tanelli echoed the sentiment “This agreement is a win-win for Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties. It shows that when we work together taxpayers will recognize real savings, and a more efficient and effective government. This administration will continue to work to look for shared service opportunities”.
The agreement was approved by the Passaic County Commissioner Board on Tuesday, December 14 and is scheduled to appear before the Bergen County Commissioner Board for ratification on December 15.
Separately, the County of Bergen will also enter into an additional shared services agreement with the County of Hudson to assume responsibility of the female inmate population for Bergen and Passaic County. This will allow the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office to utilize the Bergen County Jail to its maximum potential.