The state Department of Community Affairs has formally declined an effort to study whether Merchantville and Cherry Hill can consolidate municipal services.
In a letter sent to officials of both towns — as well as the grass-roots group seeking the merger — the state said proper procedures were not followed in seeking the study.
The consolidation plan was initiated by a Merchantville group, Merchantville Connecting for the Future, after continued hikes in property taxes and reductions in municipal services.
The DCA said Monday the application Merchantville and Cherry Hill sent does not meet state application requirements.
A group of Merchantville residents sent a petition to the DCA, while Cherry Hill submitted a resolution to undertake a consolidation study. But the law requires the same method of application from each community — either resolutions from each municipality or a petition circulated by a representative committee of voters from both towns, Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the DCA, said in September, when the applications were submitted.
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