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"The pressure for consolidation begins when residents begin to recognize a problem with the current municipal structure, either because of rising taxes, lowering quality of services, or growing environmental problems."

Home Rule

Courage to Connect featured on CBS New York

NEW JERSEY (WCBS 880) – A grassroots movement calling for municipal consolidations, is growing in New Jersey.

With a two percent tax cap in place, budgets are tight all across the Garden State. Positions are being cut in schools, police departments and public works.

State senator Robert Gordon says consolidation of some of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities is inevitable.

“I think New Jersey is headed for a financial meltdown,” said Gordon. “You can only cut so far. At some point, you really have to look at how you’re organized.”

Historically, towns have been reluctant to surrender home-rule, but a new law makes it easier for individual citizens to initiate the consolidation process.

Leading the consolidation charge is a grassroots effort. Gina Genovese founded Courage to Connect New Jersey, a non-profit, non-partisan group that helps citizens get the consolidation process started.

“Frankly, there might be some towns that the mayor and council don’t want to give up power. So you have to have an opportunity for the citizens to be able to do it in connection with other towns where their mayors and councils get it,” said Genovese.

She says consolidation is on the table in the Cherry Hill area and in Fairwood and Scotch Plains.

Check out the original report from CBS New York

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