TRENTON - Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa says civil service rules for hiring are one of the biggest impediments for New Jersey towns looking to share services to save money.

Nearly 200 towns subscribe to the civil service system for hiring employees, which was created in 1908 to prevent political patronage hiring and firing. But the rules can make it difficult to downsize.

Grifa says the rules also create a barrier to sharing services when one town has civil service rules and another does not.

Come January, towns will be forced to comply with a new tax cap that prevents them from raising property taxes by more than 2 percent. Lawmakers are considering bills to reform the civil service system.