On behalf of the Board of Freeholders, Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone announced that Monmouth County has been awarded $125,000 through the New Jersey Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) Challenge Grant to expand its Community Rating System (CRS) assistance program.
“The LEAP Challenge Grant will be applied to develop the first regional shared service in New Jersey between a county and its CRS towns and/or CRS-aspiring communities with new management software,” Arnone said,
“I would like to thank the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for their thorough evaluation of the county’s shared services and the grant awarded, which will be used to implement the Monmouth County CRS Management Software pilot program,” he said.
The county’s proposal was to provide communities of every size and capacity with the technical assistance needed to reduce time, cost and effort in managing CRS programs, which serve to improve flood mitigation and readiness, according to a press release.
Although the county has made great strides in helping towns advance CRS programs, participation is voluntary and the program continues to be an administrative and financial burden for many communities, according to the press release.
Participation in the CRS program requires towns to appoint a dedicated custodian of record, known as the CRS coordinator, who will organize all CRS activities among municipal departments, according to the press release.
This management software provides participating communities with the ability to upload, store, maintain and easily access all important CRS documentation and resources in one location.
By removing some of the financial, technical and administrative obstacles, these selected coordinators will have more time to improve and expand municipal programs, according to the press release.
In 2013, the county launched the CRS assistance program to help “level” the playing field by providing towns with previously unattainable CRS technical assistance.
This county-wide shared service continues to be provided by the Monmouth County Division of Planning and Office of Emergency Management at no cost to any community wishing to participate in or advance within the CRS program, according to the press release.
The cost estimate for in-kind resources is based on continued county staff involvement in overseeing the implementation and long-term sustainability of the program. Procurement and/or development of the software platform will be coordinated through the county’s Office of Shared Services, according to the press release.
The county’s CRS user group coordinators, housed in the Division of Planning, will provide program assistance to municipal partners and serve as the liaisons between participating towns and the software provider. This is similar to what is done in-house with the county’s Geographic Information Systems program, according to the press release.